Just as it was difficult for the disciples, it is difficult for kids to understand how Jesus could ascend into Heaven on Ascension Day and yet be true to the words He said to His His disciples that ended the Book of Matthew: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” This Ascension object lesson using a 3-speed fan that turns from side to side can help kids understand.
Understanding the Holy Spirit ““ An Ascension Object Lesson
- Fan with 3 speeds (more speeds are fine as well!) It should be a floor model or desk model that turns from side to side. If yours has three speeds but does not turn, you can turn it manually and pretend.
Note: Keep the fan handy for the Pentecost Sunday activity/game in two weeks!
– 3-speed fan that turns
– Extension cord (if needed)
– Electrical Outlet.
Plug the fan in and make sure it works, then turn it off. It should be close enough that all children can feel the wind coming through the fan at the lesson table.
Who knows what the Ascension is? Let them try to answer.
The feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the 40th day after Easter, always a Thursday. It’s the day Jesus’ work on earth was finally finished, and He went up to heaven to create places for all of us. Here’s the scripture:
After His [Jesus’] suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while He was eating with them, 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 baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
So when they met together, they asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to
restore the kingdom to Israel?”
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. 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.
They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven.”
Jesus talked about His Ascension with His disciples in John 14:2, predicting He was going away.
To keep them from being sad, He said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
The last thing Jesus said to His disciples in the Book of Matthew is “Lo, I am with you
always, even until the end of the age.”
Jesus has a body like a man, and when we get to heaven, we expect to hug Him and hold His hands and talk to Him face to face.
One question kids often have is this: If Jesus went up to heaven, how could He still be with us? The way that He is up in heaven, and all around and listening to all our prayers, is through the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the part of God that has Jesus’ heart, so it can be everywhere at once. Jesus said, to His disciples in Matthew 16:7, “…it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.”
The Holy Spirit is this helper. He is what allows Jesus to be creating mansions for His loved ones in heaven while hearing everything that goes on down here.
On Ascension Day, Jesus went up in the clouds. Move back behind the fan with your arms out, pretending you are Jesus. Then, He sent the Holy Spirit. Suck in a deep breath and slowly release it, turning on the fan to the middle power level (the lowest may not be strong enough to reach all students).
It’s like Jesus breathes down from up in heaven, and the Holy Spirit moves forth, touching many people with His love.
Let’s take a look at how the Holy Spirit works in our lives, based on how this fan sort of is like the Holy Spirit. Can you feel it just as strongly on you all the time? No…it comes and goes when the fan’s neck turns.
The Holy Spirit is like that. Sometimes we can feel Him very strongly.
Those are often times when God is asking us to do something special, like witness to a person, or to stand up for Him when people are making fun of our faith, or to start a ministry. At those times, we can almost feel the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit.
But think of it…even when the fan is pointing at somebody else…is the air around us completely unmoving? No…it is still moving from when the fan was pointed at us.
Sometimes we are struck by the Holy Spirit at very strong moments. After those moments are over, we are still left with the impressions of what we learned. The Holy Spirit is always active in our lives. It’s just that sometimes we can feel Him more strongly than others.
What happens when we pray to God and God answers us? Turn up the speed of the fan from power level 2 to 3. Let them answer.
When God answers our prayers, He often does so with the work of the Holy Spirit. When we pray a lot and rely on God a lot, it’s like we are getting a much stronger version of the Holy Spirit. Just like the fan continues to move to and from us, we can’t always feel God’s power as strong as it is. But it is always there, and we will feel that strength again.
Last but not least... move some of the kids to the back of the room or the other side, where they are out of the fan’s blasts. What happens if we move away from God? If we start to reject Him or to behave badly? We don’t get God’s love upon us.
God always loves us. He is always sending the Holy Spirit, just like the wind from the fan constantly comes out of it. But we can “move away” from God’s love. We can choose to wrong things or to keep anger or hatred in our hearts. At that point, we don’t get the full benefit of the Holy Spirit.
Just like the fan is always running and spreading its breeze, the Holy Spirit is always working and spreading God’s love. Put the students back under the fan’s power. If we have moved away, we have to come back. God will always take us back if we are sorry or we cry out for His help.
Jesus may have gone away on Ascension Day, but He is still here, breathing the Holy Spirit’s love and power on us until when?? Until the end of the age!!
Be sure to check out our video presentation of the “Fizzy Faith” object lesson.