Resources for Christian Education

Free Workshop Rotation Model Lessons - Season 3

Children’s Sermon

Mark 7:24-37

Jesus Shows Us God’s Combination

September 9, 2018

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

Lectionary Year B

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ASK   (a.k.a The On-Ramp)

  • Good morning!
  • I have a question for you. [Hold up the lock] Do you know what this is?
  • That's right, it's a lock. A combination lock, actually.
  • To be able to open it, you have to know the right numbers and the right order of those numbers to be able to open it.
  • So if I were to give you this lock as an early Christmas present without the combination (as you can tell, I give really good gifts) do you think it would be very useful to you?  (hopefully they say “no” – if they don’t say “no” help them realize that they won’t know how to unlock the lock)
  • That’s right, it wouldn’t be a very good gift because you wouldn’t be able to unlock it.
  • How might you be able to unlock it?  (give us the numbers / combination of numbers!)
  • Oh right – I would have to give you the combination.
  • Do you think it would be more helpful if I just told the combination to you or would it be better if I told it to you and then showed you how to use it with the lock? (Hopefully they say, “Tell and show us”)

TELL    (a.k.a. The Freeway)

  • Keep this idea of a combination lock in mind as we talk about today’s scripture story.
  • In the story, we hear about a man who couldn’t hear or talk very well.
  • You could even say that the man was kind of locked-up inside.
  • Then, Jesus heals him.
  • How Jesus heals the man is interesting. It’s like Jesus is helping the man unlock his ears and mouth.
  • Here’s what Jesus does: He takes the man away from the crowd, puts fingers in his ears, spits – to the side I imagine – and then touches the man’s tongue and finally says the word, “Ephphatha” which means, "Be opened."  
  • That’s quite a combination of events! In fact, it’s a lot like Jesus is opening a combination lock with all the actions he does with the man.
  • But there’s something Jesus does before this combination of actions – he looks up to heaven. In other words, Jesus is listening for God’s help.
  • The reason that Jesus knew the combination to help unlock the man’s ears and mouth is because Jesus was listening to God.

SHARE the Good News   (a.k.a. The Destination)

  • A few minutes ago, we agreed that if I shared the combination for this lock [hold up the combination lock] with you, it would be better for me to both tell and show you how to apply the combination to the lock.
  • In today’s story, we are reminded that Jesus doesn’t just tell us about how to pay attention to God, but also shows us how to pay attention to God even in the middle of a busy moment.
  • We see Jesus step away from the noise and busy-ness of the crowd, then we see him take a moment to ask God for help, and then we see him act.
  • When we choose to learn from Jesus how to pay attention to God, one of the things we learn to do is to keep asking and listening to God for help even in busy moments, just like Jesus did in today’s story.
  • As we learn from Jesus how to keep paying attention to God, even in those busy moments, we will better know the combinations that God wants to share with us that will help us open the locked-down situations that we and the people around us might be experiencing.
  • And that’s the good news for today. Let’s pray.


  • This is a repeat-after-me prayer.

Dear God,

Dear God,

Thank you for Jesus...

Thank you for Jesus...

...who teaches and shows us…

...who teaches and shows us…

...how to receive and then use…

...how to receive and then use…

…your combinations…

…your combinations…

…for our locked-up moments.

…for our locked-up moments.

Thank you and amen

Originally posted August 16, 2015

Updated on August 18, 2018

This children’s sermon was written and edited by Nathanael Vissia

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Supplies: A combination lock – either the kind that you use for a suitcase (with three separate wheels and 9 numbers on each wheel) or the kind often used for school lockers (one wheel with numbers 0-39 on it).

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