The Captives Came Home

Sunday, January 12, 2020

God’s people had been living in Babylon for 70 years. Some of God’s people had died in Babylon. Some of their children and grandchildren were born in Babylon and grew up there. But Babylon was not their home.

Before the people of Judah were exiled, God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah. These are the words of the Lord: “These nations will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years” (Jer. 25:11). Then the Lord said, “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you to this place” (Jer. 29:10). The time had come for God’s people to go back home.

Cyrus, the king of the Persian empire, had overthrown Babylon. Cyrus took over the kingdom, including the lands of Israel and Judah. In the following year, the Lord did something miraculous in Cyrus’s heart. He prompted Cyrus to issue a decree: All the Jewish exiles are free to return to their ancestral homes.

The exile was over! God’s people were free to return to their own land. They were free to live as God’s special people. The first group of Judean exiles returned home under the leadership of Zerubbabel (zuh RUHB uh buhl). Zerubbabel was the grandson of King Jehoiachin, who had been taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. (See 2 Kings 24:8-13.)

Ezra 2:64-65 says nearly 50,000 people traveled back to Judah. When they got to Jerusalem, they began working to rebuild the temple that the Chaldeans had destroyed. (See 2 Chron. 36:19.)

Explain to your kids that the temple was the place where God met with His people. Jesus came to earth to rescue God’s people from sin. When Jesus returns, He will restore the earth and will dwell with His people forever.

Zerubbabel led God’s people back to the temple to rebuild it. The temple was the place where God met with His people on earth. Jesus came to earth to rescue God’s people. One day Jesus will return to restore a greater home for all of God’s people, and we will spend eternity with Him.

Check this session’s Activity Page and Big Picture Card as well as the Gospel Project for Kids Family App for ways to interact with the Bible content this week.

FAMILY STARTING POINTS 

  • Babies and Toddlers
    • The prophets told about Jesus.
    • Jesus will give us a home with Him.
    • God brought His people back to their land.
    • Zerubbabel led the people to build the temple.
    • Jesus brings us to God.
  • Preschool
    • How is Jesus the perfect Prophet? God speaks to us through Jesus.
    • God kept His promise to bring His people home.
  • Kids
    • How is Jesus the perfect Prophet? Jesus perfectly reveals God the Father and fulfills what the prophets spoke. 
    • God kept His promise to bring His people home.

UNIT KEY PASSAGE

Jeremiah 29:11

NEXT WEEK 

“The Temple Was Rebuilt” (Ezra 4–6; Haggai)