Scripture: Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-48 and John 2:12-25
- Students will learn Jesus cleansed the Temple twice while he was one earth – the first time early in his ministry (John) and the second time three years later right before the Cross (Matthew, Mark and Luke).
- Students will learn Jesus does not want religious leaders to use their positions to make money off of worshippers by stealing from them or putting a heavy financial burden on them.
- Students will learn our first priority should always be to worship God, not to make money.
- Students will learn how to work with money and buy/sell items in a marketplace.
Guiding Question: Why does God want us to have Him as our first priority? How were worshippers tricked?
Materials: Toy/paper sheep, goats, birds, baked goods, pillows, blankets, etc., fake money
Procedure: Review the story of Jesus Cleanses the Temple. Remind students that the reason Jesus was upset was because the religious leaders were trying to make money off other people and taking advantage of them. That does not display a heart and mind of someone who puts God first. God wants us to put Him first so that we can work with others the right way and worship Him in all we do.
Introduce the marketplace simulation. Put some students in charge of being sellers of items you have brought (animals, food, pillows, etc) and some students in charge of being buyers. Have sellers keep changing the amount of money that items are worth and take some money from buyers as they are shopping. Have students keep a record of what they bought and how the prices changed. Have students explain how they felt that the prices kept changing and tie back into how the religious leaders were taking advantage of the worshippers.
Additional Questions: How can we give back to God what we have to help us put him first?
Supplemental Activity: Give each students a different budget to work with with each student having the same amount of expenses to pay for and also having to leave room to give money to church. Explain how God can work with whatever we have to offer Him and put it to good use.