The Birth of John the Baptist

Age 5+: Read Luke 1:5-25, 57-80
Under 5: Read about the birth of John the Baptist from a children's story bible or the short summary below.
Zechariah, a priest, was praying to God in a special room in the temple all by himself. Suddenly, an angel appeared right in front of Zechariah and he was afraid. "Don't be afraid," the angel said, whose name was Gabriel. The angel told Zechariah that his wife, Elizabeth, would have a baby. He told him the baby would be a boy and he must name him John. This baby would grow up and prepare the way for the Lord. He would teach parents how to love their children. He would also teach people who don't obey to be wise and do what is right. Because Zechariah didn't believe the angel, he could not talk until after the baby was born.

After the baby was born, Zechariah named the baby John. Right away, he could speak again and he gave praise to God. When John grew up, he did indeed become a prophet of God. He told the people how they could be saved and that their sins could be forgiven.

Discussion
Preschool questions:
What was the angel's name who spoke to Zechariah? Gabriel.
What was Zechariah supposed to name the baby? John.

Elementary questions:
Why didn't Zechariah believe the angel? He thought he and his wife were too old to have a baby.
Is anything impossible for God? No, with God all things are possible.
What was the consequence of Zechariah's unbelief? He was not able to speak until after the baby was born.
What did Zechariah say once he was able to speak? He gave praise to God and prophesied.

Preteen application:
How would John the Baptist prepare the people for Jesus? By teaching parents how to love their children, and teaching the disobedient to be wise and do what is right.
What did it mean for John to be filled with the Holy Spirit? God's presence came upon him, even while he was in his mother's womb.

Memory Verse: Malachi 3:1 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.” (NIV)

Journal (age 8+) Copy memory verse, describe what you do to prepare others to meet Jesus (tell them about God's love, set a good example, offer forgiveness, etc.), and write down any prayer requests.

Journal (age 3+) Draw and color a picture of the angel, Gabriel. Copy memory verse if able.

Optional Activity: Pretend Jesus is coming to your house to visit. What kind of things will you do to prepare for Jesus? Remember what is important to God: prayer, repentance, love; and what is not so important: toys, food, sleeping arrangements.

Prayer: Praise and thank God, ask for forgiveness, submit any prayer requests.