In Matthew 4:1-11, the Bible speaks of the temptation of Jesus. While the concept of temptation may be too advanced for some children, I think it is an incredibly important concept for children who are a little older to understand. Even beginning at a young age, children will be tempted by their friends or by things they see on television to behave in ways that are unacceptable. Hopefully if children realize that temptations exist in this world, they will be better prepared to fight against the temptations that they are faced with in their lives.
I would begin this lesson with a word study about what the word “temptation” truly means. I have discovered through teaching Bible school classes that kids recognize Biblical words, and may say they know what they mean, but they do not really understand the concepts. It is important that children truly know what a temptation is before beginning the story of the temptation of Jesus.
The temptation of Jesus is a powerful story. Jesus overcomes several temptations, and not only does He overcome these temptations, He overcomes them while He is physically weak. Satan tempted Jesus after Jesus had been fasting in the desert for 40 days. Satan tempted Jesus with great temptations, yet Jesus overcame the tests. Remind children that Jesus is the ultimate example of how we should live our lives, and how we should handle every situation we are faced with, including temptations. This would be a good time to share the verse found in 1st Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Depending on the age of your children, I also think that this story presents a good time to introduce the idea that the Word of God the spiritual food of Christians. This concept is found in Matthew 4:4, “But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” I teach children from the ages of 6-10 in my Bible class, and the older children can understand this concept. In fact, the children find the concept very intriguing.
Read the previous Bible Stories: John the Baptist.
All Scripture references are taken from the ESV.