Gather around the table or cozy up on the couch and read this week’s part of The Big God Story.
All you’ll need is a Bible – you can use a physical copy, biblegateway.com, or the YouVersion app on your phone. Choose a translation that’s easy for kids to understand – the NIV is good, but the New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) is probably even better.
After you read, use the discussion questions as a guide to have a conversation.
To end your time together, pray a blessing over your child. (You can use the one below or make up your own!)
The Big God Story:
What is the good news—the best news ever? Invite your child to respond. Right—it’s the news of Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising again so people can be in relationship with God! This changed the world forever.
After Jesus rose, he stayed on earth for about 40 days and appeared to his disciples. They touched his scarred hands and feet. Jesus ate with the disciples and “spoke about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). Before Jesus went up into heaven, he gave his disciples one last instruction: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Who is the Holy Spirit? Invite your child to respond. Great thoughts. The Holy Spirit is God. It’s the Holy Spirit who the Father sends to live inside everyone who trusts and obeys Jesus. The Holy Spirit gives us wisdom, comfort, and power to love and serve God. The Holy Spirit even talks to the Father on our behalf! In the Old Testament, God’s Spirit came upon kings and prophets in a special way to help them serve God better. But watch what happens in today’s part of The Big God Story!
Open your Bible to Acts 1:4 and read as your child follows along. The Bible says, “On one occasion, while [Jesus] was eating with [the disciples], he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John [the Baptist] baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 1:4-5). A few months earlier, Jesus had told the disciples, “It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the [Holy Spirit] will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Jesus is both God and human, and because he’s human, he can only be in one place at a time. But the Holy Spirit can be everywhere. He can be with everyone, everywhere, at the same time!
Finally, the day came for Jesus to go up to heaven. Jesus told his disciples (invite your child to follow along starting at Acts 1:8), “‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight'” (Acts 1:8–9).
The disciples stayed in Jerusalem, just as Jesus had told them, praising God and waiting for the Holy Spirit. Several days later, as the disciples celebrated the festival of Pentecost, God’s Spirit changed everything! They heard a sound like a rushing wind. They saw what looked like tongues of fire rest on one another’s heads. And they spoke languages they didn’t even know! Other people asked, “What does this mean?”
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, got up and preached to the crowds and told them the good news about Jesus’ death and resurrection. Peter even explained Bible verses from the past to prove that Jesus had fulfilled what God had been promising throughout The Big God Story. The Bible says about three thousand people believed in Jesus that day! Afterward, the people worshipped God together, and the disciples performed many miracles so that more and more people heard the good news, believed in Jesus, and joined the community of believers praising God. The Holy Spirit changed everything!
For thousands of years, the people of God had waited for the time when God would pour out his Spirit on all people. They would know God and know how to obey God. This time had finally come! Since that day, all people who put their faith in Jesus receive the Holy Spirit to live inside them. God’s Spirit leads them, teaches them, and pours love into their hearts.
Jesus’ death on the cross made the way for you and me to be in relationship with God and receive the Holy Spirit to live inside us. Sin had once destroyed our relationship with God, but Jesus’ death healed this relationship so completely that not only can we be in God’s presence, but also God’s Spirit actually comes and dwells inside us! When God’s Spirit came, he changed everything…and he changes everything about the way you and I live today!
Because God lives inside us, we’re never alone. When we need comfort because we’re scared, God is there. When we need guidance about how to deal with a confusing situation, God is there. When we need love, God is there. We can know that God is always with us, and we can talk to him anytime.
– Who is the Holy Spirit?
– Why did Jesus say it was better for him to leave and for the Holy Spirit to come instead?
– What are some things the Holy Spirit does in our lives?
Look your child in the eyes, say their name, and then speak this blessing to them: May you know that God loves you, that he’s always with you, and may you become all that he’s created you to be. May you love God with your whole heart for your whole life.