The Parable of the Two Sons
children act out the parable.
- Play a
"yes/no" game with the children.
the parable's meaning.
- An adult
or older child to read the lesson.
adult or older child to narrate the parable as it is acted.
to lead the "yes/no" game.
to lead the children through the teaching.
- Bible and
Mick Inkpen & Nick Butterworth, Stories Jesus Told, or another children's version of the
- Props for
the drama: hats to identify the father and sons; a toy or game for each
son to be busy playing; a pair of boots; two small baskets; some
readers before or at the beginning of the service, according to your
- As people
arrive for the service, select three children to take the parts of the
father and two sons in the drama. It doesn't matter whether the
children are boys or girls - just adapt the narrative to suit.
- Play a
game like "Simon Says" or "Do This, Do That", which brings out the point
that we need to do as well as to hear. An
alternative game for this teaching activity is "Yes, No": the leader asks
one of the children "Will you do X?", where X is "put your hands on your
head" or any other suitable action; the child has to reply "yes" or "no"
- and the catch of the game is that then all of the children have
to do the action if the child says "no" and not do it if
the child says "yes".
- Talk about how funny it seemed to obey
after saying "no" and disobey after saying "yes". This will lead into a
discussion about how this is exactly what the sons in today's story
- One son very politely said "yes" when his
father asked him to help. I'm sure that we've all sometimes said "yes"
because it can be hard to say "no". But if we then let down the person
who is relying on us then it would have better to say "no" in the first
place. Jesus said that this is what the Scribes and the Pharisees were
like: hypocrites who said "yes" to God's commandments in public, but who
did not actually bother to change their behaviour.
- The other son rudely said "no" when his
father asked him to help. It's important not to give the impression that
Jesus praised this son for saying "no"! Rather, He praised him because
although both sons had behaved badly, this one repented and changed his
behaviour. All of us say "no" to God from time to time, and we all know
people who see no reason at all either to fear God or to pretend to -
people who reject Christianity altogether - but Jesus says that what
matters is that we can repent and change our lives to obey His