Read or summarize Matthew 4:1-11.
Tell students, In a few moments, the pastor is going put ashes on our head in the shape of a cross. Does anyone know why he's going to put ashes on our head? What do the ashes mean?
The ashes remind us that we are all going to die someday. When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He never sinned. Jesus never did anything wrong in His whole life. But we do sin, and we do things that are wrong. The Bible tells us that God's punishment for the wrong things we do is for us to die someday. So we put ashes on our head to remind us that death is the punishment for our sin.
The reason that we put the ashes on our head in the shape of a cross, though, is to remind us that even we're all going to die someday, Jesus has saved us. We're still going to die as a punishment for our sin, but because Jesus died on the cross to forgive us for all of our sins, we won't stay dead. We'll live forever with God and Jesus in Heaven, and when Jesus comes back to Earth at the end of the world, He will bring our bodies back to life and we will live forever with Him.
So the ashes remind us that death is our punishment, but the cross reminds us that death isn't the end because of what Jesus did for us.
Let's pray about that.
Sample prayer: Father God, You are right to punish us for the things that we do wrong. We are sorry for our sins. And we thank You for sending Jesus to forgive us for our sins and give us a chance to live with You forever in Heaven. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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