Jesus’ Kingdom of Heaven parables teach us that we can create the Kingdom of Heaven in our own lives by doing acts of kindness.
- Mustard seed taped on a slip of paper
- Yeast in a cup
- Picture of a full grown mustard plant
- Supplies for making yeast erupt as elephant’s toothpaste: safety glasses, glass bottle or plastic bottle, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and funnel
- Gospel puzzles printed and laminated with at least one set per 4 kids
Pass around a mustard seed taped on a slip of paper and also yeast in a cup.
Ask these prompts:
- What are each of these items?
- How do they relate to Jesus?……[Jesus used them in his stories]
- What are the type of special stories Jesus told called?……[parables]
- What is a parable?…… [a special story with a message]
Scripture: Kingdom of God Parables in Matthew 13: 31-32
Introduce basic Bible concepts through a dialogue like this one:
- Where in the Bible are Jesus’ stories located?…… [New Testament]
- What are the first 4 books of the New Testament called?…… [Gospels which means “Good News”]
- What is the Good News of the Gospel?…… [Jesus is the our Savior, the Messiah; died for our sins]
- Who were the Gospel writers?…… [Matthew, Mark, Luke, John]
- When did they write the gospels?……[30-60 years after Jesus’ death]
Together read from your Bibles Matthew 13:31-33
Parable of the Mustard Seed:
He proposed another parable to them. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. 32 [a]It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.’”Matthew 13:31-32
Parable of the Yeast:
He spoke to them another parable. “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast[a] that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”Matthew 13: 33
Discuss the Meaning of the Scripture Parables
Explain how both the mustard seed and the yeast are small things.
- Jesus used them as symbols because even though they are small they can do great things.
- His parable tells us we can do big things, too, even though we are just one person on this earth.
- We can make change by doing small acts of kindness.
Show a picture of a full-grown mustard plant
A mustard seed is small but it grows into a very tall plant
Demo how yeast can erupt
Explain how yeast is an inactive fungus. It can do powerful thing even though it is small. Besides making bread rise it also can help make elephant toothpaste for fun. Today, we will feed it hydrogen peroxide and dish soap to make elephant toothpaste.
Note: Use the video below to learn how to do the demo of making yeast erupt with your class. Watch from 2:30 to 4:30 to see the demo of yeast making “elephant toothpaste”. (The beginning of the video contains background information on yeast.)
Discuss together what the Kingdom of Heaven means:
Explain that both parables mention the “Kingdom of Heaven”. Jesus tells us that a small mustard seed and yeast have the power to build the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
What does this mean? Possible answers:
- a place here on earth that is just like heaven
- a way to live in which we all are happy, peaceful and get-along
How can we make the Kingdom of Heaven today? Possible answers:
- Being kind, generous, compassionate
- Helping our parents, teachers, neighbors and siblings
Activity: Name the Gospel Writer Riddles
Pass out blank post-it notes and have the kid’s number 1-4 on the post-it note. Then have them write their answers to these questions next to each number.
- Which gospel writer is the name of a Star Wars character?…..[Luke]
- Which writer has the most letters in his name?….[Matthew]
- Which gospel writer is the same name as a nickname for the bathroom?……[John]
- In archery, you try to hit the ___________________?…..[Mark]
Activity: Complete the 4 word Gospel Puzzles
Use these 4 word puzzles to important phrases from the lesson. The template and the instructions to make can be found on this post.
- Divide the kids into groups of three or four.
- Give each group a set of the 3 puzzles.
(Note: each puzzle is printed on a different color paper)
- The team which completes all 3 puzzles first wins.
Game: Play telephone with the phrase “Jesus is the Messiah”
Play the classic game of “Telephone” with the words “Jesus is the Messiah”.
- Ask kids to sit in a circle.
- Explain how the game works and that they can only use Operator once.
- Pick the quietest kid to start the message by whispering it in their ear and having them say it in the ear of the person sitting on their left.
- After it completely goes around the circle, the last person says it outloud to see if it was transferred correctly (usually not!)
Say this prayer together and then finish with the “Our Father.”
Email to Families
At 3rd grade faith formation this week, we will be discussing the Parable of the Mustard Seed and the Parable of the Yeast. We hope to make sure the 3rd graders learn the words Parable, Kingdom of Heaven, Gospel, Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
Questions for the car ride home
What is your favorite parable from the Bible?
Jesus calls us to create the Kingdom of Heaven by doing acts of kindness. How are we doing that in our family?