Bible Based Activity: Magic Jesus Cup

Each Sunday I post one of my favorite Bible-based activities. These activities are tried and true, usually super simple, and make a lasting impression on the kids. They are also easily altered, and, for the most part I’m only going to post the activity and just add some suggestions for how to incorporate it into an overall lesson. I hope you can use some of these in your own ministry – be it homeschooling or church.


Magic Jesus Cup

First off, let me say that there are just a few things you should know before I go into this lesson:

  1. This is my absolute favorite lesson. I just love how it catches the kids by surprise.
  2. You’re going to need some background on my beliefs. Though I don’t typically like to post about various denominations, I am a Baptist. How does this relate to this lesson? It really only matters in two key points: I believe in baptism by immersion and I believe that baptism is an act of showing your salvation, but not an act that can save you.
  3. While I normally do not post lessons specific to a certain denomination, this one clearly reflects my own Baptist beliefs. However, even though this lesson is geared toward that, please understand that it is VERY flexible, and can be done without the part on baptism. It is still a VERY powerful and eye-opening lesson. So please, I encourage you to, despite denominational differences, please give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed 🙂
  4. I’m going to show you the video, then explain the lesson, so don’t read ahead unless you want to know the secrets 😉

Video Link:

Bible Verses: Acts 16:31; Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23

Items Needed: 7-10 clear (and I mean crystal clear) cups [glass or plastic, it won’t matter], water (a couple of pitchers full), about 1/8-1/4 cup bleach, iodine, sharpie marker, a container for “used” water

The Set Up:

Before the lesson, and before the kids see you, set up the cups in the following way:

  • Label all but one or two of the cups with a “person” (e.g. Yourself, Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Best Friend, Teacher, Church Leader, Preacher)
  • If you want to include the Baptism portion, label one cup “Baptism”
  • Fill each labeled cup with water, but leave a little room to add more water later in the lesson
  • Label the remaining cup “Jesus” pour the bleach in it, and top it off with water. This should be a diluted bleach mixture, I never really measure how much bleach I put in the cups, but it’s never more than 1/4 a cup. You want the mix to look like plain water – too much bleach will give it an “off” color.
  • Line the cups up where all the kids will be able to see them, but won’t be able to drink from them. Be sure to put the Jesus cup last.
The Lesson:

Basically, You will be using the iodine to represent sin. Explain to the kids that iodine will stain their clothes and will stain their skin, just like sin stains our hearts.

You’ll then explain to the kids that you’ve got several cups of water and each cup represents a different person – explain that if that person sins, the iodine will stain the water.

One by one, ask the kids if the person listed on the cup sins (be sure to leave the Jesus cup for last). As the kids answer, pour in some iodine. Be sure to explain that EVERYONE sins, even their parents, their teachers, and the preacher. Then explain that Jesus never sinned, add the iodine to His cup – it will not stain.

[If you’re talking about baptism, now’s the time to insert that aspect. Otherwise, continue on]

Then explain that when we believe in Jesus, and accept that he died for our sins, he can clean away our sins. Slowly pour a bit of the Jesus water into each of the stained cups (about a tablespoon will do it). Watch as the cups clear!

Note: you can only do this once per set of water. Once “Jesus” is added, the water will not stain again – there’s a deeper message there I’m sure…

Anyway, the kids will most likely want to see it again, so be sure to bring a container for the cleansed water and fresh water to reset the trick. Also be sure to make enough Jesus water that you don’t have to refill it in front of the kids.

That’s it! Isn’t it great?!

And just in case you couldn’t tell, it’s my favorite!!

8 thoughts on “Bible Based Activity: Magic Jesus Cup

  1. Christi Brooks says:

    I love it!! But I could not get any sound….I really want to use this lesson with my Sunday School class but would also love to be able to get an idea of what you are saying as you go….please help!! Love in Christ….Christi


    • Emily says:

      Hi Christi,

      Essentially, I start off by explaining that the idodine will stain the kids’ clothes, much like sin stains our hearts. And that I’m going to use the iodine to represent sin. I then ask the kids who in their lives sins? I go down the line of cups asking “does your mom sin?” “Does the preacher sin?” and so on until I get to Jesus. With every question, I drop a bit of the iodine in the water and it turns a rust color. When I get to the Jesus cup, I ask if Jesus sinned? and the iodine will not stain his cup. I then explain that when we believe in Jesus, he can take all of our sins away – and I pour a bit of the Jesus water into each of the other cups – which clears away the iodine.

      Hope that helps!


  2. Rebecca says:

    This is such a great lesson! I thoroughly enjoyed watching you teach the kids and they were so involved!! Thanks so much for sharing! I plan to use this with our kids in Sunday School. 🙂


  3. Kelly M. says:

    Is this video available anywhere to download vs. just on YouTube? I would like to use it in class, but we don’t have internet access in our class room (I know right) but I need to get it on a DVD. Since it’s in YouTube, I can’t download it.


  4. Melissa says:

    The deeper part of nor being able to change the water color by adding more iodine is that once we have put faith in Jesus as our redeeming Savior, our sins committed in the past are forgiven as well as those we will commit in the future. We don’t have to keep asking forgiveness.


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