Adventure River is the Children’s Ministry of Springdale Community Church in Louisville, KY. We exist to encourage children in love, equip Christ-followers for ministry and engage in God's mission for the world.
Jesus was meeting with His followers when an expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Him a question. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus pointed Him to the Scriptures, which say, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (See Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18.)
Then the lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Rather than give a list of whom the man should love, Jesus responded with a parable about a man in need. The priest and Levite—men dedicated to serving God—neglected to help the man in need. By showing mercy, the Samaritan (whom Jews considered a social outcast) proved to be a neighbor to the man in need. Jesus told the lawyer, “Go and do the same.”
Jesus’ story about the good Samaritan surprised the people who heard it. Like the good Samaritan, God saw that we needed to be rescued. He sent His Son to save us from sin. Jesus died on the cross for our sin and rose again so we can have eternal life. God calls us to show His love for the world by helping people in need.
Jesus did not directly answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” The lawyer asked the wrong question; he was seeking to justify himself, to meet the minimum requirements of the Old Testament law with the hope of gaining eternal life. Rather, Jesus taught that the lawyer should love without limits and demonstrate love with action.
In this parable, we see the beauty of the gospel. Point out to your kids that like the good Samaritan, God saw that we needed to be rescued. We were dead in our sin and unable to help ourselves. God showed His love when He sent His Son, Jesus, to save us from sin.
Jesus came to us and provided salvation, forgiveness, and everything we need. As we look to Him, He continues to take care of us. Emphasize that, as a result, God calls us to show His love for the world by loving others as He has loved us.
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
Babies and Toddlers
Jesus told stories about God.
Jesus told a story about showing love.
The Samaritan showed love to the hurt man.
We love others because Jesus loves us.
Why did Jesus tell stories? Jesus told stories to teach people about God.
Jesus tells us to love others as He has loved us.
Why did Jesus tell parables? Jesus told parables to teach people about God and His kingdom.
The fifth chapter of Daniel ends with the death of King Belshazzar when the Persians took over Babylon and Darius was put on the throne. Babylon was on the decline—no longer the powerful, prosperous empire it once was. By this time Daniel was an old man, probably in his early 80s. He served the new king as one of the three leading supervisors in the kingdom.
Daniel was very good at his job. So good, in fact, that King Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. The other supervisors and governors were jealous of Daniel. They watched for him to do something wrong so they could complain to the king. Read Daniel 6:4. Daniel was “trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him.”
Through the malevolent persuasion of the king’s leaders, King Darius passed a law that no one could pray to anyone but him, the king, for 30 days. Daniel continued to pray boldly to God. Even the king’s threat of death did not stop Daniel from praying. The jealous officials turned him in, and Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den.
Daniel was in the lions’ den all night long. When morning came, the king rushed to find out what happened to Daniel and discovered that Daniel was alive and unharmed! God’s protection of Daniel served to show all the people that the God of Daniel “is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end” (Dan. 6:26).
God showed His power to rescue Daniel from the lions, but Daniel was just a small part of a much bigger story. God ultimately rescued us from a much bigger problem—sin and death—through His Son, Jesus.
Help your kids understand that God also calls us to trust and obey Him no matter what. God sent His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from something much more dangerous than lions. Jesus rescues us from sin and death. Pray that through your faith, and that of your kids, “may the name of God be praised forever and ever” (Dan. 2:20).
FAMILY STARTING POINTS
Babies and Toddlers
God helps us obey Him.
Daniel would not pray to anyone but God.
God kept Daniel safe from the lions.
Jesus was hurt to keep us safe.
How can we obey God? We trust God to help us obey Him.
God rescued Daniel.
How can we obey God? We trust God to give us strength to obey Him.
Daniel was faithful to God, and God rescued him.
UNIT KEY PASSAGE
Daniel 2:20-21 (Preschool: Daniel 2:20)
“God Brought His People Home” (Ezra 1:1–2:2; 2:64–3:13)