by: Bethany Brown
Production Editor | Lifeway VBS
One of the most popular questions about VBS year to year is, what day will the gospel presentation fall on? Day 3 or Day 4? But confining the gospel to one day of VBS really isn’t sufficient for us. While there are definitely days where the gospel connection is clearer because the stories cover Jesus’ death and resurrection, we try hard to bring a strong gospel connection into every day’s Bible content so that even if a kid only comes to VBS on Day 1 or Day 5, she can’t miss the good news of God’s love and salvation.
Here’s how the gospel theme is woven into each day of In the Wild’s Bible content!
Day 1: Encounter in the Temple
Passage: Luke 2:41-52
Point: Jesus knew why He came.
Bonus Verse: For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. John 6:38
As kids learn about the encounter between the teachers, Jesus, and Mary and Joseph in the temple, they won’t be able to escape the fact that Jesus knew He is God’s Son when He stayed in “His Father’s house.” Jesus also knew they He had come to earth for a reason, as our bonus verse shows. This reason was to do God’s will. That plan led Jesus straight to the cross to die for our sins. This is a great place to start explaining to kids who Jesus is, and why He came to earth.
Day 2: Encounter at the River
Passage: Matthew 3:1-17
Point: Jesus is the Son of God.
Bonus Verse: I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God. John 1:34
Not only did Jesus know He is the Son of God, but John the Baptist recognized it immediately as well, and testified to everyone around him. God the Father and the Holy Spirit also made it clear who Jesus is at the river during today’s story. This foundational understanding of who Jesus is is so important for kids to get as they learn the gospel story. If Jesus were just a good man or an interesting teacher, His death would not mean anything to us. But Jesus is God’s Son, and that makes all the difference. Make sure kids know who Jesus is and why that matters to the gospel as you study this passage.
Day 3: Encounter on the Water
Passage: Matthew 14:22-33
Point: Jesus proved He is God’s Son.
Bonus Verse: Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1
“Show, don’t tell,” is great advice for helping get a point across, and in this passage, Jesus did just that. On Day 2, we may have heard God and John the Baptist acknowledge verbally that Jesus is God’s Son, but today we get to see it for ourselves in Jesus’ actions. In the walking on water, in the saving of Peter, in the calming of the storm, we see Jesus’ power that led the disciples to say, “truly you are the Son of God.” Jesus’ words to us in Scripture are never empty. They come with real, meaningful actions that prove He is who He says He is. He did this in His life, and He continued to do it in His death and resurrection.
Day 4: Encounter at the Tomb
Passage: John 20:1-18
Point: Jesus rose from the dead.
Bonus Verse: Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Maybe the most obvious gospel connection, this story touches me in new ways each time I read it. Jesus’ tenderness with Mary just after His resurrection, the ultimate proof He is the Son of God, is just a small echo of the limitless love He poured out on the cross. With a foundation built over the last few days of who He is and why He came, you’re ready to talk through the details (in an age appropriate way) of what happened on the cross and what that means for kids.
Day 5: Encounter on the Road
Passage: Luke 24:13-35
Point: The Bible was written so I can believe.
Bonus Verse: So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. Romans 10:17
The disciples in this passage got one of the best and clearest gospel teachings of all time from Jesus Himself. Jesus used what we now have in our Old Testament to explain the gospel clearly and systematically to these men. This is a great chance to go back over the last few days of content with kids and remind them what they have learned about who Jesus is and why He came. Remember, all of Scripture tells us about Jesus and was written so we can believe in Him. That’s why every story this week can get you there, so that kids can hear the message about Christ.
Need more help sharing the gospel? Check the inside front cover of your Bible Study Leader Guide for tips on sharing the gospel with kids and parents.