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Unexpected Teacher

Children's sermon
Matthew introduces John the Baptist, the person who God has sent to prepare the people for Jesus. John’s teaching is the first sign that the Messiah is coming, everyone should be listening closely. John’s fashion choices make it hard for some people, though. His dirty camel hair toga and general unkempt appearance is not what we expect a great teacher to look like. This is a warning to us all that God’s voice may not always come from the people from whom we expect.

To make this children’s sermon come to life you can choose to greet the children with a silly hat, or even wear street clothes. Jeans and a t-shirt are probably enough of a shocker for your Sunday morning crowd to understand how even they have been conditioned to listen for God from a pastor in a robe, and not so much from a casual prophet on the streets.

In your message say something like:

Who can tell that I look a little different today? (allow time for hands to raise) Right? Normally I have on a nice dress/suit and I usually put a robe over that and a colorful scarf called a stole. Those things make me look like a pastor. Those things help you to know I might be someone important to listen to. Because our church is use to pastors looking a certain way we might not expect someone in jeans and a t-shirt to start preaching. Our eyes can get in the way of our ears listening.

That might sound odd. Eyes see but ears listen right? That is true but if you see someone and they do not look like a good teacher to you your ears might never tune in to listen to them. But what a person looks like has nothing to do with how smart they are.

In our story today lots of people were having the problem of their eyes telling their ears not to listen. Just like our church in Jesus’s time the priests wore fancy clothes, usually robes that cost lots of money. Priests who taught about God took regular baths and ate good, rich food. So when John the Baptist came around to tell people Jesus was coming, not a lot of people would listen to him.

John wore dirty, scratchy clothes and had a weird diet. Most people in the villages he went to thought he was there because he was a beggar and needed food or shelter. John was actually there to teach them about Jesus! The people who saw past John’s appearance and whose eyes didn’t block their ears heard what John the Baptist said. They listened and were ready for Jesus when he came to town. We can learn a lot from those people. Sometimes when God wants to tell us something the person God picks to tell us isn’t in a robe, they might be in dirty, unfashionable clothes.

God can use all kinds of people to teach us. We need to make sure our ears are always open and that our eyes do not affect who we choose to learn from. Let’s pray for help keeping our ears open

Pray: Hello God, thank you for teaching us. Help us listen to all your teachers not just the ones who look like teachers. Amen.
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