This object lesson teaches that we learn by linking new ideas to old ones and demonstrates that this is the method Jesus used to teach about the Kingdom of God.
- Mark 4:26-32 (man who throw seeds; mustard seed)
- Luke 13:20-21 (yeast)
- Large paperclips, carabineers or toy chain links (50 or more)
- Slips of paper to mark places in the Bible for the verses you will share.
- Form a chain of your paperclips, carabineers or toy chain links. It should include 30-40 links, so that you can create a large “ball” of links when you hold them all in your hands.
- Have your other links separated individually and at the front of the teaching area.
- Write the Scriptures you want read on individual slips of paper, and put them in the Bible at the appropriate places.
- Practice the script.
Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):
- “When Jesus taught, He used a teaching technique called a parable.”
- “A parable is a simple story that teaches a spiritual lesson.”
- “The word, ‘parable’ means, ‘to throw alongside of.’” (from the Greek – para, means ‘beside,’ and bole, means ‘a throw’)
- “With His parables, Jesus was placing two ideas right beside each other.”
- “He would always use one idea that the listener already knew, and it was usually about farming or fishing or everyday living.”
- “Then, He would compare what the listener already knew to something they didn’t know about, like the Kingdom of God.”
- “Let’s look at a few examples.” (Ask volunteers to read the following Scriptures: Mark 4:26-32, Luke 13:20-21.)
- “In these Scriptures, Jesus uses examples about farming and cooking to make comparisons to the Kingdom of God.”
- “In other Scriptures, He uses children, camels, childbirth, light, salt, parties (feasts or banquets), weddings, masters and servants, and fig trees to teach about the Kingdom.”
- “Let me show you why Jesus taught in this way.” (Ask a volunteer to come forward, and hand him/her a single link.)
- “The people Jesus was teaching about the Kingdom of God didn’t know anything about it, but they did know some things about fishing and farming and weddings and trees…”
- “This link (ask volunteer to hold up their link) represents the knowledge that the people already had about ordinary things in their lives.” (Hold up your “ball” of links.)
- “This giant ball of links represents everything that Jesus knew about the Kingdom of God.”
- “If Jesus had tried to give them the entire ball of knowledge all at one time, they wouldn’t have been able to handle it.” (Toss the ball of links to the volunteer. It’s okay if he/she doesn’t catch it. That will illustrate your point.)
- “Jesus knew that he had to start small and start with what they already knew.” (Take your ball of links back, and remove one link.)
- “So, He taught in parables and said this thing that you already know (point to the link in the volunteer’s hand) is like the Kingdom of God.” (Hold up the ball of links) in this way (hold up the single link that you removed from the ball. Then, connect it to the link in the volunteer’s hand.)
- “The Kingdom of God is like a man who throws seeds.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “The Kingdom of God is like yeast that works its way through the dough.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “Unless you become like little children, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “In the Kingdom of God, there will be a great wedding feast!” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “Just like you see new leaves on the fig tree when summer is coming, you will see certain signs that tell you when the Kingdom of God is near.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “You cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless you are born a second time in your spirit.” (Remove another link from the ball and connect it to the volunteer’s links.)
- “By teaching in this way, Jesus helps understand something very big and difficult to understand.” (Hold up ball of links.)
- “And this is the way all learning works.”
- “We connect something we know to something we don’t know, and it helps us to understand it better.” (Thank and dismiss your volunteer.)