Category Archives: Lesson

My Latest Book – Peter’s Path


I’m very excited to announce that my new book just went live on Amazon!  It’s called:

Peter’s Path:

Lessons, Skits and Games for Teaching About the Life of Simon-Peter

It’s a collection of all my object lessons, Bible lessons, games, and drama skits about the life of Peter, the Apostle.  You can find all the lessons here on the blog for free, but if you’re lazy like me, you might prefer to have them collected for you.  And for $3.99 (Kindle Edition), it’s worth the time savings.

Hope you like it!

If you would like to purchase the hardcopy version, click this link: Peter’s Path – Hardcopy

If you would like to purchase the Kindle version, click this link: Peter’s Path – Kindle

 

Blessings….Michael

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Filed under Book, drama, Game, Jesus, Lesson, Object Lesson, Peter

The Rest of the Story (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson tells of Jesus’ resurrection and the restoration of Peter to leadership.  Peter denied Jesus three times, and Jesus forgave him three times just so that he would know and understand that he was completely forgiven and that God could still use him.

 

Scriptures

  • Luke 24:37-43
  • John 20:1-9; 21:15-19
  • Acts 2:14-41
  • Romans 6:23

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Rest of the Story – Love Signs” (This document has a single page with the three Greek words for love – Agape, Phileo and Eros.)
    • “Rest of the Story – Script Cards” (This is a document with all Peter’s and Jesus’ lines on it to help them during the drama.)
  • Tape
  • Costume for Peter character – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through.  Add a belt around the waist and maybe a sash to drape over one shoulder and under one arm.
  • Something like a net that Peter and the other disciples can cast during the drama scene.
  • Something to act as a boat for the drama scene.
  • Strips of cloth and a piece of fabric to represent Jesus’ grave clothes.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print the “Script” document mentioned above and cut out the lines for both Jesus and peter to say.  (Optionally, you could write these lines for Jesus and Peter to say on notecards:
    • Peter: I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?
    • Jesus: Catch any fish?
    • Peter: Nope…nothing!
    • Jesus: Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.
    • Jesus: Feed my lambs.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?
    • Peter: Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Take care of my sheep.
    • Jesus: Simon son of John, do you phileo me?
    • Peter: Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.
    • Jesus: Feed my sheep.
  • Print two copies of the “Love Signs” document mentioned above, and crease it along the lines between each of the Greek words.  Then, fold the paper so that it makes a triangle with one word on each side.  Tape the ends together.
  • Select your volunteer to play Jesus (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Select your volunteer to play Peter (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him sit in the audience.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Neatly fold the “grave clothes” and put them somewhere that can represent the garden tomb.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “It’s Sunday.  The Jewish Sabbath day of rest is over.”
  • “In the early morning, several women, who were followers of Jesus, left the house where they were staying and went to anoint Jesus’ body with spices.”
  • “They probably wondered how they were ever going to be able to move the huge stone that covered the opening to the tomb.”
  • “But when they reached the tomb in the garden, the stone had already been rolled away!”
  • “They stepped into the tomb, but there was no body there.”
  • “Suddenly, two angels appeared and said, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He is risen!  Don’t you remember?  He told you this would happen.’”
  • “The women remembered and ran back to tell the others.”
  • “At first, no one believed them, but Peter and John ran to the tomb and saw for themselves.  Jesus was not there, but his grave clothes were neatly folded where He had been lain.”
  • “When John saw the grave clothes, he believed that Jesus had risen.”
  • “The grave clothes were neatly folded!” (Point to or hold up the “grave clothes.”)
  • “Some people would later say that Jesus’ body was stolen, but no grave robber would take the time to first undress the body and then neatly fold the clothes.”
  • “If they were going to steal the body, they would have had to a) defeat the Roman guards outside the tomb, and these men would fight to the death, because if they lost the body, Pilate would order them killed; b) roll away the stone, which probably weighed over a thousand pounds and would have to be rolled up an incline that was meant to lock it into place.”
  • “After all that exhausting, physical work just to get to the body, do you think they would worry about getting the grave clothes off of the body.”
  • “Besides, that would have meant that they had to carry Jesus’ naked body, and that would have attracted a lot of attention if anyone saw them.”
  • “Nope, when John saw the neatly folded grave clothes, he knew – Jesus had done exactly what He promised – He had raised His own body from the dead!”
  • “Peter, however, still wasn’t sure.”
  • “It wasn’t until Jesus personally appeared to Peter that Peter understood and believed what had happened.”
  • “Then Peter knew that Jesus had to die to take the punishment for our sins, because the Bible says that the payment for sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
  • “But then once the payment was made, Jesus defeated death forever by raising His body back to life!”
  • “Jesus appeared several more times to different people: a few times to the apostles, once to a few men on the road to Emmaus, and once to over 500 people at one time!”
  • “But even with all this excitement, would you believe that Peter once again went back to fishing?”
  • “It’s the truth!  I think he got tired of waiting for Jesus to tell him what to do, so he got up one day and said…”  (Have Peter character stand up where he was sitting and say: “I’m going fishing.  Anyone want to come?”  He can select 4-5 volunteers from the audience to act out the story with him.)
  • “Several of the apostles decided that they would go with him.” (Have them get into the boat and act out whatever you say from this point forward.)
  • “They fished all night long, but they didn’t catch a single fish.” (The volunteers can cast the net over the side of the boat several times to act this out.)
  • “Early the next morning, as the apostles sat or slept in their boat, they heard a call from the shore…” (Have Jesus character call out from the edge of the room: “Catch any fish?”  Have Peter yell back, “Nope.  Nothing!” and then have Jesus call out, “Cast your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.”)
  • “Isn’t that funny?  How could someone on the shore know more about where the fish are at than the fishermen on the water?”
  • “But they tried it anyway, and when they pulled their nets back in, there were so many fish, they couldn’t even haul the net into the boat.” (Have volunteers cast their net one more time onto the kids in the audience and pretend to pull them in.)
  • “John said to Peter, “It’s the Lord,” and Peter immediately jumped into the water to swim to shore, leaving his friends to gather up the fish.”  (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “They had caught 153 really big fish, and when they reached the shore with the boat, Jesus asked them to bring some to put on the fire (where He already had a few fish cooking).”
  • “That morning, they ate together like they used to do before Jesus had been crucified, and they just enjoyed each other’s company for some time in the sun.” (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • “Then Jesus turned to Peter and asked him a serious question…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?”  Peter should reply, “Yes, Lord.  You know that I love you.”)
  • “Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the other disciples.”
  • “After all, Peter had bragged that even if everyone else failed Jesus, he would never fail Him.”
  • “Or Jesus may have been asking Peter if he loved Jesus more than all the fish he had just caught, because every time Peter got the chance, he stopped following Jesus and went right back to fishing.”
  • “But whatever Jesus was talking about there, I don’t want you to miss something really important that is also happening.”
  • “It’s not obvious in the English translation of what Jesus said, because we usually just have one word for love.”
  • “Jesus didn’t speak English.  He spoke Aramaic, a really old language, Hebrew, the Jewish language, and Greek, a language that was common then because it was used for business.”
  • “When He asked Peter if he loved Him, Jesus used the Greek word ‘agape’ for love.”  (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly ‘agape’ me more than these?” Hand Jesus the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so that everyone can see the “Agape” side.)
  • “Agape means the best kind of love, a kind that will never give up or go away.”
  • “It’s not puppy love, the warm feeling you get inside when you see someone cute.”
    “This kind of love is an action.”
  • “It’s love that loves you even when you don’t deserve it, even when it’s hard to love you, even when you don’t love the other person back.”
  • “Peter knew that he couldn’t claim to love Jesus like that anymore.”
  • “He had run away, and he had denied Jesus three times.”
  • “So Peter used a different Greek word for love when he answered Jesus. He said…” (Peter: “Yes, Lord.  You know that I ‘phileo’ you.” Hand Peter the love sign triangle, and have him hold it so everyone can see the “Phileo” side.)
  • “Phileo is a weaker kind of love.”
  • “It means ‘brotherly love,’ and it’s where the city of Philadelphia gets its name.”
  • “Philadelphia is known as the City of Brotherly Love.”
  • “Phileo is a love that says, ‘I’ll love you because I should.  You’re my brother, after all.”
  • “If you have a brother or sister, you know you are supposed to love them because they are family.”
  • “But if your brother or sister is really mean to you, you might decide to stop loving them.”
  • “There’s an even weaker kind of love that’s called ‘Eros.’”  (Have Jesus and Peter characters hold their triangles to show this side of their sign.) 
  • Eros is the kind of love that says, ‘You’re cute!’”
  • “This is the kind of love that gives boys crushes on girls and girls crushes on boys.”
  • “It only lasts as long as the other person is cute to us.”
  • “So, back to Peter.”
  • “He wanted to say that he would love Jesus with agape love – the kind that never gives up or goes away, but he couldn’t bring himself to boast any longer.”
  • “Peter used to brag a lot, but his failure made him a humble man, and people that knew him said that he was humble for the rest of his life.”
  • “Jesus noticed that Peter changed the word for love, but He just said…” (Jesus: “Feed my lambs.”)
  • “Jesus often referred to His followers as sheep or lambs.”
  • “So, He was telling Peter that he was to be the leader of the Church, that He was to be the shepherd of God’s flock.”
  • “Then Jesus asked again…” (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you truly agape me?”  Have him show the Agape side of the sign.  Then Peter should say, “Yes, Lord, you know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter show the Phileo side of his sign.  Jesus should then say, “Take care of my sheep.”)
  • “One last time, Jesus asked… (Jesus: “Simon son of John, do you phileo me?”  Have the volunteer show the Phileo side of the sign.)
  • “Did you notice what Jesus did?
  • “Jesus was basically saying “Okay, Peter.  I know you aren’t ready to be bold yet.  It’s okay if all you are willing to do is love me with phileo.  I’m willing to accept that for now.”
  • “But even so, Peter was hurt, because Jesus asked him a third time if Peter loved Him.  So, he said…”  (Peter: “Lord, you know all things.  You know that I phileo you.”  Have Peter character show the Phileo side of his sign.  Then Jesus should say, “Feed my sheep.”  Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “Did you notice that Jesus asked the question three times?  Does that remind you of anything?”  (Expected response: “Peter denied Jesus three times.”)
  • “Right!  Jesus asked Peter three times, because each time was like an eraser for the times that Peter denied Jesus.”
  • “Jesus was telling Peter, ‘You denied me three times.  I forgive you three times.’”
  • “Jesus was restoring Peter to his leadership of the flock, the Church.”
  • “I’m sure it was painful for Peter to be reminded of the three times he denied he knew Jesus, but it was important that he knew he was completely forgiven and that Jesus still had a leadership role for Peter to fill.”
  • “Peter did take that leadership role.”
  • “On the day of Pentecost (which is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the time for harvesting crops), Peter and the other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit.”
  • “Peter got up and preached so powerfully that 3,000 people accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.”
  • “He was so powerful spiritually that people were healed when just his shadow fell on them.”
  • “He raised a woman named Dorcas from the dead, introduced the Gentiles (non-Jewish people) to the Gospel and wrote two books of the New Testament (and probably was the person who told Mark all the stories he wrote in his Gospel).”
  • “Peter and his wife were both crucified for their beliefs, but Peter begged to be crucified upside down, because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same way Jesus did.”
  • “I guess you could say that Simon eventually earned his name that means ‘listens and obeys,’ because he listened carefully to everything that God told him.”
  • “And he also earned his name of Peter which means ‘rock,’ because Peter became a solid leader who led the early church.”
  • “After that meeting between Jesus and Peter on the beach, Jesus only stayed on earth for a little longer.”
  • “Then, in front of many witnesses, He rose into heaven, where He sits at the right hand of God, the Father.”
  • “There, He prays for us and speaks good things about us to the Father every day.”
  • “And one day, we will get to see Him in all His glory when we join Him in heaven.” (You may want to have the kids say the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the teaching point of the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

Jesus paid the price I couldn’t give,

And rose again so I could live!

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Filed under Easter, forgiveness, God's Plan, Jesus, Lesson, Peter, Resurrection

Walk On Water – WOW! (LESSON)


Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches that we can do great things if we will trust God.  Peter was able to walk on water as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus, but when he looked around at his circumstances, he lost his faith and began to sink.

 

Scriptures

  • Matthew 14:22-33

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Walk On Water – WOW Water Walker Stickers” (These are stickers you will give to the kids to wear after the lesson if they commit to being “Water Walkers.”  10 stickers print on each page.)
  • Avery Shipping Labels (5163) or full-page sticker paper (1 page per every 10 kids)
  • Something to represent a boat (that will hold 12 kids)
  • Spray bottles filled with water (4-6)
  • Blue fabric (6-8 ft – kids will wave it to represent a stormy sea)
  • Something to simulate strong wind (4-6 items – you could use fans, heavy pieces of plastic or anything else to “fan” the apostles in the boat)
  • Oars (4-6 – or something that looks like oars)
  • Small buckets (4-6 – for the apostles to bail water out of their boat)
  • Sheet of tin (1 – to shake and make a thunder sound)
  • Costume for Jesus character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through.  Add a belt around the waist and maybe a sash to drape over one shoulder and under one arm.
  • Notecards for script (2)
  • Scissors
  • OPTIONAL – Spotlight or strong flashlight (to shine on Jesus as He walks on water)
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Write these lines for Peter and Jesus to say on separate notecards:
    • Jesus: It’s all right.  I am here!  Don’t be afraid.
    • Peter: Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on the water.
    • Jesus: All right…come.
    • Peter: Save me, Lord!
    • Jesus: You don’t have much faith.  Why did you doubt me?
    • Peter: You really are the Son of God!
  • Select your volunteer to play Jesus, and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the notecard with his lines on them.
  • Select your volunteer to play Peter, and explain what you want him to do.  Give him the notecard with his lines on them.
  • Print out the Water Walker stickers and cut them into individual stickers.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “One day, Jesus fed 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread and some fish.”
  • “Afterward, He wanted to spend some time praying, so He told the apostles to get into a boat and cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.”
  • “So, the disciples got into the boat.” (Ask for volunteers to come help with the following tasks:
    • 12 volunteers to represent the apostles (make sure one of them is the person you selected for Peter) and get into whatever you are using to represent a boat – Hand a few of them the oars.
    • 4-6 volunteers to stand outside the boat with the spray bottles
    • 4-6 more volunteers to man the fans or other wind-making instruments outside the boat 
    • 2 or more volunteers to hold the blue fabric at either end  and stand in front of the boat
    • 1 volunteer to man the lights and flick them on and off when you give the words
    • 1 volunteer to shake the sheet of tin to make a thunder sound
    • 1 volunteer to hold the spotlight or flashlight and be ready to shine it on Jesus

Ask all volunteers to act out what you say as you tell the story.)

  • “The disciples sailed away from the shore and were 3-4 miles out in the middle of the Sea of Galilee when a huge storm rolled in!” (Have your apostles row with their oars.)
  • “It was dark – the moon and stars were behind the clouds – but lightning lit up the sky!” (Signal your lightning and thunder sound effects people to get to work.)
  • “The wind was howling!” (Signal your fan people to switch them on or to start waving their wind-making objects.)
  • “Water sprayed over the sides of the boat and drenched the apostles!” (Signal spray bottle volunteers to let the disciples have it!)
  • “The apostles were afraid that they might sink, so they used buckets to try and bail water out of the boat!” (Signal apostles in the boat to use the buckets you left inside it to pretend to bail water over the side.)
  • “Hours went by, and the apostles grew very tired.”
  • “About 3 o’clock in the morning, things got worse!”
  • “A ghost came walking across the water straight at them!” (Have volunteer playing Jesus begin to walk across the “water” toward the boat.  Signal your spotlight person to shine the light on him.)
  • “They screamed in terror!”  (If the apostles don’t scream, say,A-hem, I said that the apostles SCREAMED in terror!”)
  • “Then, something totally incredible happened!” (Have your helpers say the following lines from their note cards.
    • Jesus: “It’s all right.  I am here!  Don’t be afraid.”
    • Peter: “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you by walking on the water.”
    • Jesus: “All right…come.”
  • “Peter went over the side of the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus!”  (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “But then, he took his eyes off Jesus and looked around.” (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “He saw the high waves!  He noticed the howling wind!”
  • “He became terrified and began to sink under the water!” (Have Peter character act this out by falling to his/her knees and crying out, “Save me, Lord!”)
  • “Jesus reached out His hand and grabbed Peter.” (Have characters act this out.  Then have Jesus say, “You don’t have much faith.  Why did you doubt me?”
  • “Jesus and Peter climbed back into the boat, and immediately, the wind stopped.” (Have characters act this out.)
  • “Then the disciples worshipped Jesus.”  (Have disciples bow down to Jesus in the boat.  Have Peter character say, “You really are the Son of God!”  Then, ask your volunteers to turn off/lay down their props and return to their seats.)
  • “Peter walked on water!  Can you believe that?”
  • “But then he began to sink.”
  • “Tell me…why did Peter start to sink into the water?”  (Expected response: He took his eyes off Jesus.)
  • “That’s right.  He took his eyes of Jesus.  He looked around at all the scary stuff around him, and he began to think, ‘I’m in big trouble.  A person can’t walk on water!  That’s impossible!  I must have been crazy thinking I could have walked on water!’”
  • “Of course, Peter was right, but he forgot one very important thing…all things are possible with God!”
  • “God can walk on water, and He can give Peter the power to walk on water.”
  • “God can do anything, and He can help us with any problem.”
  • “I’m learning that whenever I have a problem, I should give it to Jesus.”
  • “Anytime that I feel like I’m sinking under all my problems, I need to give them to Jesus.”
  • “As long as I keep my eyes on Him, He helps me with my problems.”
  • “But if I start to focus on the scary things that are happening around me, I’ll start to sink again.”
  • “Now you may think Peter looked pretty silly when he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink under water, but I don’t.”
  • “I admire Peter for having the courage to get out of the boat.”
  • “Peter was a Water Walker!”
  • “You know what all the other guys were?  They were Boat Huggers!”
  • “While Peter walked on the water, they hugged the boat in fear.”
  • “Jesus told Peter that he only had a little faith, but he had a lot more than the Boat Huggers.”
  • “A Water Walker trusts in God.”
  • “A Water Walker does the scary things that God wants him to do.”
  • “A Water Walker gets out of the boat to get closer to Jesus.”
  • “I’ve known a lot of Boat Huggers.  They are too afraid to get out of the boat and do what God wants them to do.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘You’ve got to get out of the boat!’”
  • “I think Boat Huggers make Jesus sad.”
  • “He wants to help them do things that no one else has done, but they don’t trust Him enough to get out of the boat.”
  • “If you want to get closer to Jesus, you’re going to have to get out of the boat and walk on some water.”
  • “How many of you want to be closer to Jesus?” (Listen for response.)
  •  “Well, then you’ve got to get out of the boat!”
  • “Do any of you want to be Water Walkers for Jesus?” (Listen for response.)
  • “Turn around and touch your neighbor and tell them, ‘I’m a Water Walker!’”
  • “If you think you want to trust Jesus and be a Water Walker for Him, raise your hand!” (Try to encourage everyone to raise their hand. Ask your volunteers from earlier to come up and get a few stickers each to share with everyone else in the room.)
  • “The sticker lets everyone know that you are a Water Walker – a person who is willing to trust Jesus and do the scary things that will get you closer to Him.”  (As the kids are putting on their stickers, teach them the Rhyme Time for this lesson to reinforce the teaching point. Repeat it several times to improve retention.)

 

Rhyme Time

When the storms of life are really scary,

And my problems seem to double,

I pray to God and trust in Him,

And Jesus helps me with my trouble!

 

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Filed under faith, Fear, Jesus, Lesson, Peter, Trust

Woman at the Well, The (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches how Jesus worked through a woman that society had given up on to bless her community and draw them to Christ.  The woman at the well was a Samaritan, a woman and a sinner – three reasons a Jewish rabbi should not have been talking with her, but Jesus didn’t care.  He saw the best in her and partnered with her to bring a community to know Him.

 

Scriptures

  • John 4:1-30, 39-43

 

Materials

  • Jar for woman at the well
  • Something to represent Jacob’s Well (This could be simply a piece of cardboard with bricks drawn on the side that faces the audience, or you can be more elaborate if you have the time and resources.)
  • Tape
  • OPTIONAL – Notecards for script.
  • Cans/glasses of cola, tea/coffee, energy drink, juice, water
  • Table to set everything on
  • Two pieces of fabric to use as veils for drinks
  • Glasses with pictures or other representations of money, fame, power, love, cars, other religions and a Bible. (There are pictures for each of these in the downloadable file mentioned below.)
  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Woman at the Well – Spiritual – Physical Signs”
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Select a drama team (Jesus and the woman at the well) to act out the roles in the story and share the teaching notes with them so that they can be prepared to act them out.  You might want to write their lines on notecards so that they will have them available when they are acting.
  • Set up “Jacob’s Well” at the front of the teaching area.
  • Print out “Spiritual and Physical Thirst Signs.”
  • Put each picture from the “Spiritual and Physical Thirst” file in a separate glass.
  • Set up a table with all the different drinks (cola, tea/coffee, energy drink, juice, water) on them, and put a veil over it so that it cannot be seen until you reveal it.
  • Under a separate veil (but on the same table if you only have one table), set up the “spiritual thirst quenchers” (power, cars, different religions, money, houses, love, entertainment, drugs, God’s Word –pick which ones you want to use) in separate glasses.
  • Put a piece of tape on the back of the “Spiritual” and “Physical” signs so that you will be able to stick them to your props.
  • Put markers in the Bible in the place where you want your volunteers to read the Scriptures for the lesson.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

  • “I want to tell you story.” (Get volunteer to read John 4:1-3.)
  • “Jesus had some enemies, the Pharisees, in particular, who were trying to cause Him problems.”
  • “They didn’t like that He was becoming even more popular than John the Baptizer.”
  • “So Jesus decided to return to Galilee, where it would be easier for him to teach and train His disciples.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:4-6.)
  • “That’s strange.  Jesus went through Samaria.”
  • “The Jewish people hated the Samaritans, because they used to be Jewish but married foreigners and worshipped foreign gods that weren’t real.”
  • “Just about any other rabbi and his disciples would have hated the Samaritans so much that they would have gone AROUND Samaria just to avoid them.”
  • “But not Jesus!  He went straight through.”
  • “He stopped to rest, and His disciples went into town to get something to eat.”
  • “But Jesus didn’t just stop here to rest.  He had a meeting planned.”
  • “The time and the place He chose for the meeting were important.  It was about noon – the hottest time of the day – and He was at Jacob’s well, where people came to get water.  The other attendee was just about to arrive.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:7 up to the point Jesus starts speaking.)
  • (Have Drama Team enter.  Samaritan Woman comes to the well, carrying her jar on her shoulder.)
  • (Jesus says to her: “Will you give me a drink?”)
  • (Samaritan Woman: “Why are you asking me for a drink?  I’m a Samaritan and a woman.  Jews don’t talk with Samaritans.”)
  • “Jews weren’t supposed to talk to Samaritans, and Jewish men (particularly Jewish religious men) were not supposed to have private conversations with a woman.”
  • “Also, we don’t want to miss that she is coming to the well by herself at noon, the hottest part of the day.  This wasn’t the custom.”
  • “Women went to go get water in the early morning or in the late evening, when it was cooler.”
  • “Pulling up well water was difficult work.  You had to let your jar down 30 or 40 feet and then pull it up again full of water, and you can bet, it was HEAVY!”
  • “Then you had to carry it home, which was probably a mile or more away.”
  • “And getting water was a social time for the women.”
  • “They all went together and talked and laughed and shared stories during these times – but not this woman.”
  • “This woman didn’t feel comfortable around the other women.  They didn’t like her, and they made fun of her and talked about all the bad things she had done.”
  • “So, it was no wonder that she came at the worst part of the day; she wanted to avoid everyone else.”
  • “This woman was what everyone called ‘a sinner.’”
  • “So there are three reasons Jesus isn’t supposed to talk to her – she’s a Samaritan, a woman and a sinner.”
  • “Jesus is breaking all kinds of man-made rules here.”
  • (Jesus: “If you knew who you are talking to, you would have asked for living water.”)
  • “Jesus keeps doing unusual things!”
  • “What is He talking about?  Jesus is saying that if she had known that she was talking to God, she would have asked for Him to help her.”
  • “He says that He has this stuff called, ‘living water,’ to give her.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and ask, ‘What dat?’”
  • “Well, it’s not the water you can touch or see.  That’s what the woman came for.  That’s why she has her water jar.”
  • “No, this kind of water isn’t physical water; it’s spiritual water.”  (Stick “Physical” sign to Jacob’s Well.  Stick “Spiritual” sign on Bible, and show it to the audience.)
  • “Jesus does this all the time.  He’s taking something that’s physical that she already knows about, like water and being thirsty, and comparing it to something spiritual that she doesn’t know about.”
  • “He’s saying that just like you can fix physical thirstiness by drinking water, you can fix spiritual thirst by getting some living water.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and ask, ‘Can your spirit get thirsty?’”
  • “You bet it can!”
  • “God made each and every one of us with a spiritual thirst for Him, because He didn’t want us to be satisfied living without Him.”  (Unveil different beverages.  Move the “Physical” sign over, and put it on the table under the beverages.)
  • “If you were physically thirsty, which one of these would you drink?”
  • “Well, any of these will work a little, but the best option is water.”  (Hold up each of these as you talk about them.)
    • “Sodas have lots of sugar, so they make us fat and increase our chance of getting diabetes.”
    • “Juices taste good, but they have lots of sugar, too.”
    • “I like coffee and tea, but they raise my blood pressure.”
    • “And this energy drink will wake me up, but it’s full of sugar, as well.”
    • “Water is the best, because your body is over 60% water.  For kids, it’s actually higher than that.”
    • “When God made water, He made a perfect solution for our physical thirst.”
  • “Just like we’ve invented all kinds of ways to satisfy our physical thirst, we’ve also invented lots of ways to satisfy our spiritual thirst.” (Unveil glasses with various “spiritual thirst quenchers” in them.  Move the label for “Spiritual” over, and put it on the table under these “thirst quenchers.”  Hold up each of these as you refer to them.)
    • “Some people think having lots of money will make the thirst go away.”
    • “Some think having a nice car, or a big house will do it.”
    • “Some try to make it go away with love – they have lots of boyfriends or girlfriends.”
    • “Some do it with other religions, and some do it with entertainment.”
    • “But the problem is, none of these will satisfy us for long.  They just fill us up and dull our spiritual sense so that we can’t tell where the original thirst is coming from.”
    • “There is only one thing that will satisfy our spiritual thirst – the Bible.”
    • “This is what Jesus was talking about when He offered the Samaritan woman living water.”
    • “Once you have God’s Spirit in your heart, His Word will bubble up in you like a spring of water, and you will never be spiritually thirsty again.”
  • “So, that’s what He’s talking about, but unfortunately, the woman didn’t understand yet.”
  • (Samaritan Woman: “You don’t even have a jar.  How will you draw up this “living water?”  Are you claiming to be greater than our father, Jacob, who dug the well and drank from it himself?”)
  • “She still thinks He is talking about physical water.  ‘You don’t even have a jar!  You must think you’re better than the one who dug the well if you can get water out of it without a jar!’”
  • “So Jesus tries to help her understand.”
  • (Jesus: “Physical water quenches your thirst for a little while, but I’m offering you a special kind of water that will quench your thirst forever.”) 
  • (Samaritan Woman: “Give me some of that!  Then I won’t have to come here every day.”)
  • “Now, watch this!  Jesus is about to do something really unusual.”
  • (Jesus: “Go get your husband and come back.”)
  • (Samaritan Woman: “I don’t have a husband.”)
  • (Jesus: “You speak the truth.  You have had five husbands, and the one you’re living with isn’t your husband.”)
  • “What’s Jesus doing?  He’s testing her to see if she will be honest with Him.  He’s willing to give her what she’s asked for, but she has to pass the test first.”
  • “You see, Jesus knows why she comes to the well at noon.  He knows about the shame she feels in her heart because of all the men who have told her that they don’t want her.”
  • “She’s had five husbands who have each divorced her, and the man she’s with now doesn’t even respect her enough to marry her.  That’s why the other women at the well gossip about her.”
  • “Jesus is putting his finger on the deepest wound in her life, but He only touches it to heal it.”
  • “And to her credit, she tells the truth, so Jesus commends her for her honesty and He lets her know that He knows everything about her.”
  • (Samaritan Woman: “I know Messiah is coming, and when He comes, He will tell us all things.”)
  • (Jesus: “I who speak to you am He.”)
  • “This is big!  This is huge!  This is the only time in Scripture where you will see Jesus come right out and say that He is the Messiah.  He told people plenty of times that He is God, but He didn’t use the title ‘Messiah,’ because too many misunderstood what it meant.”
  • “They thought that Messiah would be a king who would come wage war against the Romans, but Jesus didn’t come to judge the earth; He came to save it!”
  • “So, the only person He tells that He is the Messiah is a sinful Samaritan woman – someone He wasn’t even supposed to be talking to!”
  • “Jesus saw the best in her.  And He made her one of God’s children that very day.”  (Drama Team sits.)
  • “The woman at the well joined Jesus’ team that day, and she was so excited, she left her water jar behind and brought all her neighbors to join Jesus’ team, too.”  (Have volunteer read John 4:28-30.)
  • “She was so excited that she forgot what people thought about her.  She forgot her shame, and she told everyone she could about Jesus.”
  • “And this is the part that really excites me!” (Have volunteer read John 4:39-42.)
  • “This Samaritan woman was the most disrespected member of her community, but her excitement about Jesus was contagious and people had to believe her because she was so convinced that Jesus was the Messiah!”
  • “After two days of listening to Jesus, they believed that he was the Savior of the world.”
  • “Jesus can use anyone to carry His message – even those with the most terrible sins and reputations.”
  • “All that He asks is that we believe in Him and share what we know in our hearts with those around us.”

 

Rhyme Time

Even when our life’s a mess

Jesus will use it to heal and bless.

 

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Filed under Bible study, Evangelism, Grace, Jesus, Lesson, Witness

Follow the Leader (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches about what’s it’s like to be on Jesus’ team.  When you are on a team, you do what you see your leader doing.  Peter didn’t always follow the leader very well, and Jesus had to go after him several times to get Peter to stay on the team.

 

Scriptures

John 1:35-51; Mark 1:16-20; Matthew 4:18-22; Luke 5:1-11; John 21:1-25

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Follow the Leader – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles and one for you to wear as the leader.)
  • Safety pins (13)
  • Costume for Peter character (“Petey”) – fisherman’s hat, fishing pole, tackle box, fishing vest, etc.  Can go barefoot.
  • Costume for Jesus character – a robe, possibly with a sash of some sort to go over one shoulder.  Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: 13 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)
  • OPTIONAL: Costumes for Andrew, James and John characters – tunics with a belt (I’ve used just a piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for the actor’s head to slip through and another strip of the same fabric for a belt.) Can go barefoot.
  • OPTIONAL: Something like a net that “Petey” can cast during the drama scenes.
  • OPTIONAL: Something to act like a boat for the drama scenes.

 

Preparation

  • Print 13 copies of the “Fishers of Men” logos (preferably in color).
  • Make 13 “Fishers of Men” t-shirts by pinning the logos to the white shirts.  (If you don’t use the undershirts, you can just pin the logos on the shirts of the volunteers during the lesson.)
  • Put on your own ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt or logo.
  • Select a volunteer to play “Petey” (someone who can do some extemporaneous acting), and have them get in costume.  They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share teaching notes with volunteer so that he knows how he should respond during the lesson.
  • Select volunteers to play Jesus, James, John and Andrew, and have them get in costume.  (Because they are not speaking parts, you could use the same volunteers who come up to be Fishers of Men to play the roles of James, John and Andrew.) They can wait off-stage or somewhere else out of sight.  Share the general teaching plan so that they will know when to listen for your cues and what to do.

 

 

Procedure

Use the following script or modify to suit your needs:

  • “When Jesus was doing His ministry on earth, He put together a team of twelve apostles.”
  • “These twelve men followed Him everywhere He went and learned all they could from Him.”
  • “Then, when Jesus left the earth and returned to heaven, these men continued His work.”
  • “They did incredible things, like helping thousands of people to know Jesus, healing the sick, curing the lame and raising the dead to life!”
  • “Not everyone knows this, but Jesus is still putting His team together today!  And He wants you on it!”
  • “Let’s talk about what it means to be on Jesus’ team.” (Ask for 12 volunteers to come forward, and have them all put on a ‘Fishers of Men’ shirt (or pin the logo to the shirt they have on).)
  • Let’s say that I’m like Jesus, and these people are my followers.”
  • “Together, we make up a team called the ‘Fishers of Men.’”
  • “A follower is someone who does what he sees his leader doing, so I want you guys (addressing your volunteers) to do exactly what you see me doing.”  (Walk around the room in a funny way with exaggerated movements.  Make sure your volunteers mimic what they see you doing.)
  • “Now, if you saw all of us walking down the street like this, would it be hard to tell that we were together?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “Could you tell that these guys were my followers?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Not hard, right, because they are doing exactly what they see me doing.”
  • “These are really good followers.”  (Thank your volunteers, and let them take a seat.)
  • “So, if we want to be on Jesus’ team, what should we be doing?”  (Expected response: “What we see Him doing.”)
  • “And what do we see Jesus doing in the Bible?”  (Expected responses: “Helping people, praying, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, telling people about God…”)
  • “Some of those things would be pretty difficult for us to do, but we could ask God to do them for us.  If He thinks it’s the best thing to do, He will do it when we ask Him to.”
  • “But even if He doesn’t lead us to do some of the really difficult stuff, I bet there are some easier things He did that He would also like us to do.  What do you think those things are?”  (Expected responses: “What we see Him doing.  Praying, helping people, telling people about God…”)
  • “Exactly!  If we are on Jesus’ team, we should be doing those things that we see Him doing in Scripture.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “You’ve got it!”
  • “But you know what?  Peter didn’t get it.”
  • “You know what Peter did after he first met Jesus?  After he saw Jesus turn water into wine and heal many people, including the son of a royal official?  And after he saw Jesus walk right through an angry mob that wanted to throw Him off a cliff? You know what Peter did then?”
  • “He went back to fishing!  Can you believe it?” (Have your “Petey” volunteer walk across the front of the room, dressed in fishing hat and vest with a pole and tackle box.)
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’”  (Have everyone ask out loud. Petey should say, “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  Don’t you remember that your brother Andrew introduced you to Jesus and told you that He was the Messiah?”  (OPTIONAL: Have a volunteer read John 1:41-42.)
  • (Petey should say, “Uh….well, yeah.  I do seem to remember that.”)
  • “And do you remember when Jesus gave you that cool new name that meant, ‘The Rock?’”
  • (Petey should say, “Yeah, that’s why you’re calling me Petey.”  (To kids)  “I used to be called Simon.  It meant, “to listen and obey,” but I’ve never been very good at that.  Jesus named me “Peter,” – “the ROCK!”)
  • “And do you remember all the cool miracles Jesus did?”
  • (Petey: “Yeah!  Those were cool!”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  Have him pretend to go fishing nearby.)
  • “Peter was definitely not doing what he saw his Leader do.”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?” (Listen for responses.)
  • “Yep, Jesus went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  He should come back through room with “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew fishing, and he said to them ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” (You can have your Jesus actor say this if you want.  It’s from Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-18. Then have “Petey” and “Andrew” follow “Jesus” out of the room.)
  • “Without another word, Peter and Andrew got up and followed Jesus, and so did their friends James and John, who were also fishermen.” (Have “James” and “John” already sitting somewhere in the room.  At this point, they get up and follow the others out of the room.)
  • “And it’s a good thing they did!  They saw some cool stuff!”
  • “Jesus taught many people about God, cast out demons and healed people of all kinds of diseases.  He even healed Peter’s mother-in-law from a fever.” (Have “Petey” return and walk back through the room alone with his fishing gear.)
  • “Hey, kids!  There he is again!”
  • “Everybody, I want you to ask Petey there, ‘Petey!  Whatcha doin’?’” (Have everyone ask out loud.)
  • (Petey should say: “I’m goin’ fishin’.”)
  • “Petey, Petey, Petey…  How could you be going fishing again after all you’ve seen Jesus do?  Don’t you remember everything He taught you and all the cool miracles?”
  • (Petey: “Yep!  I remember.”)
  • “So why are you going fishing again?”
  • (Petey: “It’s what I do!” – Shrug, and let Petey go.  He should join the Andrew character, who should return and pretend to be cleaning nets.)
  • “Peter’s still not doing what he sees his Leader doing!”
  • “So, kids, what do you think Jesus did about Peter?”  (Expected response: “Went after him.”)
  • “Yep, He went after him.”  (Have “Jesus” actor come conspicuously through the teaching area and follow the “Petey” character.  All actors should be in the room at this point, but they shouldn’t be in one group.  “Petey” and “Andrew” should be together; “James” and “John” should be together but in a different corner of the room; “Jesus” should come in last and stand near to “Petey” and “Andrew.”)
  • “He found Peter and his brother Andrew washing their nets by the lake.” (Luke 5:1-11 – Have all the fishermen act like they are cleaning their nets.  From here on, they should act out whatever you say.)
  • “By now, a huge crowd followed Jesus everywhere He went, and they were at the lake wanting to hear more of what Jesus was telling them.”
  • “Jesus knew that they could hear Him better if He went out onto the water of the lake, so He got in Peter’s and Andrew’s boat and asked them to push out a little from the shore.”  (Have actors act this out.)
  • “From there, He sat down and taught the people many things.”
  • “When He finished, he turned to Peter, and He told him to go into the deep water and put his nets back in.”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.”)
  • “Peter was frustrated.  He was tired.  He had worked all night long with no sleep and no fish.”
  • “And now, Jesus is trying to tell him how to do his job.”
  • “Jesus wasn’t a fisherman.  He grew up doing what He saw His earthly father doing, and that was carpentry.”
  • “So, Peter had a decision to make right there.”
  • “Was he going to trust his own experience as an expert fisherman, or was he going to trust Jesus?”
  • “What do you think he did?”  (Expected response: “Trusted Jesus!”)
  • “Yes!  He trusted Jesus!”
  • (Petey: “Master, we’ve been working hard all night long, and we haven’t caught anything.  But because You asked me to do it, I’ll let down the nets again.”)
  • “So Peter and Andrew rowed out to the deep water, and they let down the nets over the side of the boat.”  (Have Petey toss something like a net onto the audience if you have it.  He should then mimic pulling in a huge catch of fish.)
  • (Petey: “Fish!  We’ve caught fish!  ….And there are hundreds of them!  And big!  The nets are starting to break!  James!  John!  Hurry!  Bring your boat over here to help us!”)
  • “James and John, who were Peter’s and Andrew’s partners in the fishing business, quickly came over to help.”
  • “Together, they pulled in so many fish that both boats were completely full of them, and the boats were so heavy that they almost sank in the water!”
  • “When Peter saw this, he fell on his knees and said to Jesus…”
  • (“Petey”: “Go away from me, Lord.  I am a sinful man!”)
  • “You see, Peter was suddenly reminded of exactly Who Jesus was!”
  • “Andrew had told him before that Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed One, the One Who came to save people from their sins.”
  • “Peter had forgotten, but now he remembered!  And even though he probably didn’t yet realize that Jesus is God, he did realize that a righteous man of God was in his boat.”
  • “Jesus’ righteousness compared to Peter’s sinfulness made Peter feel unworthy to even have Jesus in his boat.”
  • “But Jesus told Peter not to be afraid because he would catch men rather than fish from that moment forward.”
  • “So Peter and Andrew, James and John rowed into shore, got out of their boats and left everything behind to follow Jesus.”  (Actors exit.)
  • “You mean, they left all those fish?  Those fish were worth more money than they had ever made in a day – maybe in a week or even in a month!”
  • “But they left them.  The Bible says that they left everything!”
  • “You see, Jesus had very important work for these men to do, and Peter’s job was going to be the most important.”
  • “Jesus wanted Peter to be the leader, so He tested Peter to see if he was ready.”
  • “In fact, Jesus tested Peter three times on this fishing trip.”
  • “The first time was when Jesus asked to use Peter’s and Andrew’s boat.  Jesus wanted to see if these tired fishermen were willing to do something for Him just because He asked.”
  • “The second test was when Jesus asked Peter to let down his nets.  This was a test of Peter’s faith.”
  • “The third test was when Peter and his friends caught the biggest catch of fish in their lifetime.  This was a test of Peter’s heart.”
  • “Jesus wanted to know if Peter would be satisfied with a miracle or if he wanted the Miracle-Maker.”
  • “Peter chose the Miracle-Maker, and he left that incredible catch of fish behind to go and be a fisher of men.”
  • “And I’m happy to say that from that day on, with only one exception (after Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter went back to fishing), Peter started doing what he saw his Leader doing.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘I’m on Jesus’ team!’”
  • “Touch your other neighbor and say, ‘I’m doing what I saw my Leader do!’”
  • “Touch as many people as you can and say, ‘I’m gonna be a fisher of men!’”  (You may want to have the group recite the following rhyme to reinforce the lesson.)

 

Rhyme Time

I follow my Leader;

I do what He does.

I’m a fisher of men,

And I catch with God’s love.

 

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Filed under Apostles, discipleship, Jesus, Lesson, Obedience, Peter

Not a Dream Team (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This lesson teaches about Jesus calling the apostles to join Him in the work of building the Kingdom of God.  The people He chose were not the people others would have chosen; they were not considered the “best” people in His day.  Some of them were actually considered “terrible” people or the “worst” people, but Jesus had a plan to use them in a way that everyone would know had to be done by God alone.

 

Scriptures

Mark 1:16-20, 3:13-19

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Not a Dream Team – Slide” (Shows all the apostle faces in case you want to project them.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Apostle Faces and Signs” (Props for each of the volunteers to hold as you introduce the apostles.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Best-Worst People Signs” (Signs for each of the people groups mentioned in the lesson.)
    • “Not a Dream Team – Fishers of Men Logos” (Sports-style logos for your 12 volunteers who will portray the apostles.)
  • Paint stir sticks or large Popsicle sticks (32)
  • Paper plates (32)
  • Glue
  • Safety pins (12)
  • Clothesline or rope
  • Clothespins
  • OPTIONAL – 12 white undershirts (big enough for your volunteers)

 

Preparation

  • Print apostle face pictures and signs, best-worst people signs, and fishers of men logos.
  • Create face and people group signs. (Glue pictures to paper plates and then to paint stir sticks to make handles.)
  • Make 12 “Fishers of Men” t-shirts by pinning the logos to the white shirts.  (If you don’t use the undershirts, you can just pin the logos on the shirts of the volunteers during the lesson.)
  • String rope across the teaching area at eye level or a little above, and attach the clothespins so that you’ll have them ready.

 

Procedure

  • “When it was time for Jesus’ ministry here on earth, He went out and picked a team.”
  • “How many of you have ever played games before where you had to pick teams?” (Acknowledge show of hands.)
  • “Who do you always want on your team?”  (Expected answer: the best, the most talented)
  • “Right!  But Jesus didn’t think that way.”
  • “He wasn’t looking for the best or the most talented or even the best looking or the people with the most money; He was looking for those who would give their whole hearts to Him.
  • “Now, I’ve got to tell you something up front.  In Jesus’ day, people had opinions about what type of people were good and what type of people were bad.”  (Clip “Good People” and “Bad People” signs to the clothesline on opposite ends.)
  • “Good people were thought to be closer to God.” (Clip “God” sign on the other side of the “Good People” sign.  Ask for 11 volunteers to come to the front, and hand them two people-group signs each (some will only receive one – see below for which ones to give each person.)  Then, introduce them in the following order.
    • Volunteer 1 – Priests and Levites
    • Volunteer 2 – Prophets and Rabbis
    • Volunteer 3 – Fishermen and Women
    • Volunteer 4 – Gentiles and Pig Farmers
    • Volunteer 5 – Romans and Herodians
    • Volunteer 6 – Tax Collectors and Lepers
    • Volunteer 7 – Samaritans and Zealots
    • Volunteer 8 – Chief Priest and Sadducees
    • Volunteer 9 – Pharisees
    • Volunteer 10 – Scribes and Teachers of the Law
    • Volunteer 11 – Jesus)
  • “So, who where the good people?”
  • “Well, there were Priests, and the Levites.  These were people who served God in His Temple.”  (Have volunteer with these two signs hold them up so that they can be seen.  Position him/her under “Good People” sign.)
  • “And then there were Prophets and Rabbis.  They were men who brought God’s Word to the people.”  (Position under “Good People.”)
  • “Fishermen and Women weren’t considered Good People, but they weren’t exactly bad people, either.   They were more like Unimportant People, so we will put them in the middle between Good and Bad.”  (Position in the middle.)
  •  “I’m sorry to say, girls, that Women were not always considered to be very good people.  The men sometimes treated them badly.”
  • “Then there were the ‘Bad People.’”
  • “Anyone who wasn’t a Jew was considered a Gentile, and these people were generally thought to be ‘Bad People.’” (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “Pig Farmers were also considered to be among the “Bad People,” because eating pig was against the Jewish religion.”
  • “The Romans were soldiers and leaders from Rome who ruled over the Jews, and the Herodians were people who followed King Herod.  King Herod was King of the Jews, but he was a really bad one. (Position under “Bad People.”)
  • “So we have the Good People and the Bad People, but there were others who didn’t fit in either of these groups.”
  • “For example, the tax collectors.  Among the Jews, few were hated as much as tax collectors, who regularly charged the people lots of money to pay to Rome but then also kept large amounts for themselves.”
  • “For tax collectors, the Jews had a special group.”  (Clip “The Worst People” sign on the other side of “Bad People,” and have volunteer stand under it.)
  • “They really didn’t like tax collectors!”
  • “With the tax collectors, the Jews would usually include Lepers, people with contagious skin diseases.  People were afraid of them, so they made them live together in caves and other lonely places.
  • “And there was a group of people called Samaritans that Jews really hated.  Samaritans had been Jews long ago, but they married with people who weren’t Jewish and who worshipped other gods, gods who weren’t real.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • “And the Zealots! They were a group that wanted to kick the Romans out of Israel, which sounds good.  But most of the Jews were afraid of them because they were so violent, and they didn’t like them because they caused the Jews trouble with the Romans.”
  • “Then there were the rich and powerful people. They thought they deserved a new group.”  (Put up sign that says, “The Best People,” between “God” and “Good People.”)
  • “The most powerful person was the Chief Priest. He was the leader of all the priests.” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “The ‘Best People’ also included a group called the Sadducees.
  • “They didn’t believe in Jesus or life after death, so they were ‘sad, you see.’”
  • “Then, there was a group called the Pharisees.
  • “They were always trying to trick Jesus, and they didn’t play ‘fair I see.’”
  • “These people were made up of powerful priests, who said that they believed in God but really just wanted more power and more money for themselves.  Even so, they were considered the ‘Best People.’” (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “There were groups, called the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law.  They were teachers who studied and copied the Law, which is God’s Word. (Position under “Best People.”)
  • “So where do you think Jesus would have gone based on the opinions of the day?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • Jesus was considered to be either a prophet or a rabbi, so he started in the “Good People” group.”  (Position in “Good People.”)
  • “But by the end of His life, the rich and powerful people hated Him, because He would also tell them to stop doing the bad things they were doing.”
  • “They thought He was one of the ‘Worst People’ and worthy of death.”  (Position under “Worst People.”)
  • So, this is what things were like while Jesus was putting together His team.”
  • “If He was going to put together a ‘Dream Team,’ which groups of people do you think He would go to?” (Listen to responses.)
  • “Right!  I think He would make a Dream Team out of the ‘Best People,’ but that’s not what He did.”
  • “Let me tell you about the team Jesus put together.” 
  • “Jesus selected a team and told them that they were the ‘Fishers of Men.’ They are a very special team – a team selected specifically by Jesus to take the Good News about Him to the world.” (As you select these team members, put a “Fishers of Men” t-shirt or pin a logo on each one of them.)
  • “There was Andrew – he was the first to come to Jesus; he was stinky fisherman #1.” (Go to your “Fisherman and Women” volunteer, and trade the Andrew sign and face for the signs he/she is holding.  Separate this volunteer from the group a little.)
  • “Simon-Peter” (Ask for a volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Simon-Peter sign and face and stand next to Andrew.)
  • “Andrew’s brother and stinky fisherman #2.  He has two names, because he can’t decide what he wants to be.  Simon means “listening and obeying,” but Simon-Peter spent too much time talking to listen.  Peter means “rock.”  He wanted to be a rock for the Lord, but when he was tested, he failed, and they say he would start to cry about his failure anytime anyone mentioned it. (Ask for two more volunteers from the audience, and give them the James the Greater and John signs and faces.)
  • “James (the Greater) and John – brothers and stinky fishermen #3 and #4.  They were hot-heads, who once offered to call lightning down from heaven to destroy a village.  They were always arguing about who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  Jesus nicknamed them “Sons of Thunder!”
  • “This one will surprise you!” (Go to your Tax Collector volunteer and trade him/her their signs for the Matthew sign and face.)
  • “Matthew – a tax collector!  One of the people the Jews hated the most!” (Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the James the Less sign and face.)
  • “Then there was James (the Less) – he was probably Matthew’s brother.  Being brother to a tax collector didn’t get you invited to parties.  They even called him,

‘James, the Less.’  Ouch!” (Ask for another volunteer, and give him/her the Philip sign and face.)

  • “Philip – he was a little slow and always had to be reminded who Jesus was and what He could do.” (Call for two volunteers from the audience, and give them the Bartholomew and Thaddaeus signs and faces.)
  • “Bartholomew and Thaddaeus – Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH? These guys are only mentioned when they join the team.  Other than that, we don’t really know anything about them.”  (Hand two volunteers signs that say Bartholo-Who?  And Thadda-WHICH?, Ask for another volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Thomas sign and face.)
  • “Thomas – he’s become known as “Doubting Thomas,” because he refused to believe Jesus rose from the dead until he personally saw Jesus alive and touched Jesus’ nail scars.”
  • “Here’s another surprising one!” (Go to your Zealot volunteer, and trade him/her the Simon the Zealot sign and face.)
  • “Simon – known as ‘The Zealot.’ Simon was another hot-head.  Remember, the Zealots were always fighting against the Romans, and they made everyone nervous.  He would have hated being on the same team as a tax collector, who stole money from Jewish people.” (Ask for one more volunteer from the audience, and give him/her the Judas sign and face.) 
  • “Judas – he was the strangest person for Jesus to pick for His team, because Jesus knew that Judas wasn’t loyal.  Jesus knew that Judas was greedy and that he would one day sell him to the religious leaders and betray him with a kiss, but Jesus invited him to join the team anyway.
  • So what do you think of that team?  Definitely not a ‘Dream Team’ for Jesus.  We’ve got four fishermen (basically, unimportant people), a tax collector and a zealot – two of the ‘Worst People’ and a bunch of others that were most likely shepherds, tanners, and carpenters – just ordinary, unimportant people.”
  • “And even beyond the apostles, the others that were close to Jesus were often women and what the religious leaders would call ‘sinners.’
  • “He didn’t choose ‘The Best People’ or even who most would call ‘The Good People.’  He chose those others would say were not worth having.” 
  • “This is one of the reasons that the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Chief Priest, the Scribes and the Teachers of the Law got so frustrated with Jesus.”
  • “He didn’t play by the rules.”
  • “He didn’t set up a team with powerful and rich people.  He surrounded Himself with simple, unimpressive people.”
  • “They certainly weren’t a dream team, but Jesus made them into the Fishers of Men.”
  • “Jesus had a plan, and these were the perfect guys to help Him with it!”
  • “You see, Jesus didn’t put people in categories like ‘Bad People’ and ‘Good People’ or ‘Best People’ and ‘Worst People.’”
  • “He only has two categories: ‘God’s People’ and ‘Not God’s People.’”  (Remove the other signs from the rope (except the God sign), and replace them with the signs for “God’s People” and “Not God’s People.”)
  • “Those who love God and do what He says are God’s People, and they are very close to God.”  (Move all the Fishers of Men (the Apostles) over to the God’s People side.)
  • “Those who don’t love God and don’t do what He says are Not God’s People, and they are very far from God.” (Move everyone else over to the Not God’s People side.)
  • “God works very hard all throughout their lives to get them to come over to God’s People.” (Pick a few of the volunteers from any people group, and move them over to the God’s People side.)
  • “He tries to show His love to them, and He sends some of God’s People to them to help them know how He feels about them.) (Have some of the God’s People volunteers go and bring some of the Not God’s People volunteers back to their side.)
  • “But sometimes they just don’t want to come.” (Have a few of the Not God’s People resist and stay where they are.)
  • “Sometimes they feel like God couldn’t love a Bad Person like them, or sometimes they think they are the Worst type of Person and that God is terribly angry with them.”
  • “But it isn’t true!  God loves everyone one of us, no matter what we’ve done.”
  • “He doesn’t expect us to try to be a Good or Best Person to join His team.”
  • “He’s not looking for a Dream Team.  He just wants us to love Him and do what He says.”
  • “If we will just follow Him, we will get to be Fishers of Men, too!” (Thank your volunteers, and let them all take a seat.  To reinforce the lesson, you might want to have the group repeat the Rhyme Time below a few times.)

 

 

Rhyme Time

I may not be the best;

I may not be a dream.

But even when I’m messing up,

Jesus wants me on His Team!

 

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Joseph and Jesus (CHALLENGE)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This Challenge uses a two-sided puzzle, with the image of Joseph on one side and the image of Jesus on the other.  It makes comparisons between Joseph (of Genesis) and Jesus and shows how Joseph was a preview (or “type” or “shadow”) of Jesus that helps us to understand the events of Jesus’ life better.  There are 26 comparisons, which are listed for your reference in the table at the end of this lesson.

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50

 

Materials

  • Card stock paper – 2 sheets per group (Alternatively, you can use posterboard, but you will then need to glue the puzzles to the posterboard.  This might cause you challenges with aligning the front and back puzzles.)
  • Puzzle sets – 1 per group (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Puzzle,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  It would be best if these documents were printed in color.)
  • Challenge Card (The file for printing is called, “JJ – Joseph & Jesus – Challenge Card,” and it can be found on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  This can be printed in black and white on regular paper.  There are two Challenge Cards per page.)
  • Glue
  • Ziplock bags – 1 per group
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • Transparent contact paper (or laminating paper – 2 sheets per group (approx. 12”x10”) – OPTIONAL
  • Single hole punch – 1 to share – OPTIONAL
  • Twine – 1 roll to share – OPTIONAL
  • Prizes for the winning group – OPTIONAL

 

Preparation

  • Print out the puzzle pages.
  • Print out the Challenge Card document.
  • Glue a “Jesus” puzzle to a “Joseph” puzzle back-to-back, and allow them to dry fully.  (Do your best to get them exactly aligned. You might want to place a heavy object on them while they are drying to prevent curling – especially if you live in a humid environment.)
  • Cut out the puzzle pieces along the lines on the puzzle pages.  (The lines should match up front-to-back.)
  • Mix the pieces up, and place each set of puzzle pieces into a different Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the Challenge Card document in half (each half is identical), and put one in each Ziplock bag.
  • Cut the contact paper or laminating pages to the approximate size listed above, and put two sheets into each Ziplock bag. (OPTIONAL)
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “We’re going to do a group Challenge today.”
  • “It’s called, “Joseph and Jesus” and it’s part of the Joseph’s Journey Series.”
  • “First, I’ll need to divide you into groups.”  (Divide the participants into the number of groups for which you have prepared puzzles.)
  • “Each group will have a Ziplock bag with a puzzle in it.”
  • “This puzzle is tricky, though, because there are pictures on both sides!”
  • “When I tell you to go, open your Ziplock bags, and begin putting your puzzles together.”
  • “Be sure to read the words on each side of the puzzle out loud before you add it to your puzzle.”  (Let them begin.  You can offer a prize for the fastest team to get their puzzle together if you want, but you might not want to because it could make them rush through and fail to read the descriptions on each side of the puzzle pieces.  When they finish, you can help them laminate the puzzle pieces if you want to.  Just peal off the protective paper, and carefully lay a sheet of the clear contact paper on top of the puzzle.  Then, flip it over and do the same for the backside.  Punch a hole in the top, and use the twine to add a loop that you can use to hang the puzzle.  This will allow them to see both sides.  When they are finished with the puzzle, have them answer the Debrief Questions below (also on their Challenge Cards.  The Rhyme Time is a reinforce to help them remember that the events of their lives can be used by God in a big way.)

 

Debriefing Questions.

  1. What do you think about all the comparisons between Joseph and Jesus?
  2. Why do you think God made them so much alike?
  3. God used Joseph’s life in a big way to tell us about what Jesus would be like.  Do you think God could use your life like that?  Why or why not?

 

Rhyme Time

God has a purpose, a plan and a dream.

My present struggles are more than they seem.


 

JOSEPH

JESUS

A Miraculous Birth

Joseph’s mother, Rachel, wasn’t able to have children until God answered her prayers. (Gen 30:22-24)

A Miraculous Birth

Jesus’ mother, Mary, was visited first by an angel and then by the Holy Spirit.  She gave birth to God’s only Son. (Luke 1:26:38)

A Shepherd

Joseph tended his father’s sheep. (Gen 37:2)

A Shepherd

Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jacob gave his son Joseph a colorful robe. (Gen 37:3)

His Father’s Favorite Child

Jesus was the son in whom the Father was well pleased. (Matt 3:17)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

Joseph had two dreams about his brothers bowing down to him. (Gen 37:5-7, 9)

His Greatness Was Prophesied

The Old Testament tells us over 100 prophesies about Jesus.

Obedient to His Father

Joseph obeyed his father and went to check on his brothers. (Gen 37:12-14)

Obedient to His Father

Jesus obeyed His Father by coming to earth as a man. (John 7:28-29)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Joseph looked for his brothers in Shechem, but they were in Dothan. (Gen 37:14-17)

Sent to His Brothers, But They Weren’t Where They Were Supposed to Be

Jesus came to earth for the Jewish people, but they were living sinful lives. (Rom 3:9-20)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

Joseph’s brothers hated him, because he had dreams about ruling over them.  (Gen 37:8)

Hated by His Brothers Because He Claimed to Have Authority Over Them

The Jewish leaders hated Jesus, because He claimed to be the Son of God. (John 15:25)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

Joseph’s brothers wanted to kill “the dreamer.” (Gen 37:18-20)

Brothers Plotted to Kill Him

The Jews at the head of the church pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus. (Mark 15:11-14)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Joseph’s robe was taken by his brothers. (Gen 37:23)

Robe Taken from Him by His Enemies

Soldiers took Jesus’ robe and gambled to see who would get it. (Matt 27:35)

Put Into the Earth

Joseph was thrown into an empty well. (Gen 37:24)

Put Into the Earth

Jesus was laid in an empty tomb. (Matt 27:59-60)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

While Joseph was in the well, a caravan of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with spices, balm (a resin) and myrrh. (Gen 37:25)

Visited by Foreigners Carrying Resin and Myrrh

Jesus was visited by wise men from the East who brought gold, frankincense (a resin) and myrrh. (Matt 2:11)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

Joseph’s brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver. (Gen 37:28)

Sold for Silver Pieces – the Price of a Slave

The chief priests paid Judas 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus. (Matt 26:14-15, Exodus 21:32)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Joseph’s brothers dipped his robe in blood to fool their father. (Gen 37:31-33)

Robe Dipped in Blood

Revelation pictures Jesus as a warrior with a robe dipped in blood. (Rev 19:13)

Taken to Egypt

Joseph was taken to Egypt by slave traders. (Gen 37:28)

Taken to Egypt

Jesus was taken to Egypt by his parents.  (Matt 2:13-15)

Tempted by the Evil One

Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:7-12)

Tempted by the Evil One

Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. (Matt 4:1-11)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Joseph was accused of flirting with Potiphar’s wife. (Gen 39:13-19)

Accused of a Crime He Didn’t Commit

Jesus was accused of blasphemy. (John 10:30-39)

Punished with Two Criminals

Joseph was thrown into prison, where he met two men who had offended Pharaoh. (Gen 40:1-4)

Punished with Two Criminals

Jesus was crucified between two thieves. (Luke 23:32-33)

Given Authority Over Everything

Joseph was given authority over everything in Potiphar’s house and in the prison.  (Gen 39:4-6, 22-23)

Given Authority Over Everything

Jesus has been given authority over everything in heaven and on earth. (Matt 28:18)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Joseph was raised to sit at the right hand of Pharaoh and rule Egypt. (Gen 41:41-44)

Exalted to the Second-Highest Place

Jesus was raised to sit at the right hand of God, the Father. (Heb 1:1-4)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Joseph began ruling Egypt at the age of 30. (Gen 41:46)

Began His Greatest Work at the Age of 30

Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30. (Luke 3:23)

Became the Source of Bread for the World

Joseph provided grain for Egypt and other nations during the famine. (Gen 41:53-57)

Became the Source of Bread for the Whole World

Jesus is the Bread of Life, given for all people. (John 6:35)

JOSEPH

JESUS

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Joseph married Asenath, daughter of Potiphera.  (Gen 41:45)

Took a Gentile (non-Jewish) Bride

Jesus is the bridegroom, and the Church (made up of all believers) is His bride. (Eph 5:22-33)

Alive After “Death”

Joseph’s brothers and father thought he was dead, but they were surprised to learn that he was actually alive! (Gen 45:25-28)

Alive After “Death”

Jesus died and was buried, but He rose again on the third day.  (Matt 28:5-7)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him when they first met him in Egypt.  (Gen 42: 8)

Not Recognized By His Own People

Jesus was not recognized as Savior by the Jews.  (Rom 11:1-21)

 

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Joseph forgave his brothers. (Gen 50:19-21)

Forgave Those Who Mistreated Him

Jesus forgave those who nailed Him to the cross. (Luke 23:34)

Saved Many Lives

Joseph told his brothers that God allowed him to suffer so that he could save many lives.  (Gen 50:20)

Saved Many Lives

Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (1 Timothy 1:15)

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