Taking up the cross to follow Jesus (Mark 8:27 – 38)
a duck decoy and duck whistle, or a picture of these items from a sportsman’s catalog
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ." Mark 8:27-29 (NIV)
Children – have you ever seen ducklings following their parents? Why do they follow them? (listen to the answers and help the children know that ducklings are safe when they follow their parents – just like with human beings.) But sometimes ducklings are distracted by duck decoys or duck whistles. Help the children understand that hunters use these items to draw the ducks away from their flock. Just as ducks can be drawn away and are no longer safe, we can follow wrong paths and get ourselves into trouble, and go far away from Jesus and His teachings.
Explain to the children that although some people may tell you that many ways lead to heaven and to Jesus, that Jesus taught us in the Bible that there is only one way to follow him. Although it isn’t always the easy way or the fun way, it is the right way. If we choose to follow Jesus, the rewards are always going to be worth it.
Have the children answer the questions, “What can you do to follow Jesus better? Can you do this? Will you do it?”
Dear Jesus, help us to follow you more closely. Give us the courage to do the right thing, even when it isn’t easy. Amen.