What makes Jesus different?

What makes Jesus different?

Irwinn, Joanne

This study works best when kids have access to reference books, so consider having an off-site meeting at your local library. Or, before the study, arrange to have a set of encyclopedias available. If neither of these options is practical for you, use the information in the “Basic Messages” box (page 69) to create handouts.

1. What’s My Line?-(Supplies: Bibles, newsprint, markers, note pads, pens, and library books, encyclopedias, or the “Basic Messages” box.)

Ask: If you randomly asked 10 people, “Who do you think Jesus was?” what answers would you most likely hear?

Write kids’ answers on newsprint taped to a wall. Then-ask: Which of these answers are true? Go through the answers, circling those that kids say are true.

Say: Many people think Jesus was a great teacher, but they don’t see him as much different from other great teachers, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed. Let’s compare these great men.

Form three groups. Give each group a note pad, Bible, pen, and the following Scripture references on a slip of paper: Matthew 1:18-23; 28:2-7; Luke 18:31-33; 22:70; and John 3:13; 6:38-40; 10:36-38; 12:44-45; 14:7-11; 16:13-16, 28.

Have each group investigate one leader of a world religion-Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed. Ask them each to appoint a Leader, a Recorder, and a Presenter. The Leader should direct the group’s work. The Recorder should take notes on what the group discovers. The Presenter is responsible for telling the large group about his or her group’s discoveries.

Say: Your group has a simple challenge. In the next 30 minutes, answer this question: What makes your assigned person different from Jesus? Use the resources you’ve been given to prepare a threeminute presentation for the whole group.

After 30 minutes, gather groups together and ask the three Presenters to each give a 3-minute overview of their findings. Then say: Based on what we’ve heard, are any of the answers I circled on the newsprint earlier incorrect? Why or why not? Why do so many people see Jesus as just another “good teacher?” Why is it important for us to understand the differences between Jesus and other religious leaders?

2. Who Am I?-(Supplies: “Who Am I?” handouts.)

Give each person a “Who Am I?” handout.

Say: In Jesus’ day, just as today, people had many different ideas about who he was. That’s why it’s so important for us to know him. Is he a prophet? Is he simply an unusually good man or extraordinary teacher? Or is he the Son of God, come to give eternal life to all who believe in him? In silence, read your handout and spend a few minutes thinking and praying about what you believe.

After five minutes or so,-say quietly: Imagine that Jesus is standing before you, just as he stood before his disciples so long ago. He looks at you and asks, “Who do you say that I am?” Take a few moments to answer him. . .

After a few minutes of silent prayer, close by praying that your group members will come to know Jesus intimately.

Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Jan/Feb 1999

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