Online Session 07 - Jesus' Teachings
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The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-20)
"Two Skeptics and Jesus Walk Into a #SermonOnTheMount"
Readers: Jesus, Skeptic 1, Skeptic 2
Jesus: [Walking up a big hill to speak to the crowds] Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Skeptic 1: What?! Poor in spirit? Doesn't that mean the losers, the weirdos, the dweebs and the low-lifes?
Skeptic 2: That's what I was thinking.
Jesus: Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Skeptic 2: Oh, come ON. [Heckling Jesus] We came to listen to a motivational speaker, not a downer!
Skeptic 1: [Heckling] Yeah! What he said. [pointing to other heckler]
Jesus: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Skeptic 1: Meek, schmeek. The inheritors of the earth are those who know how to help themselves.
Jesus: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Skeptic 2: You know what'd fill my belly? Burgertime!
Jesus: Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Skeptic 1: [Elbowing Skeptic 2 and chuckling] Hehehe. Mer-cy-full. "Mur" won't see "full" as long as this guy is jabbering on.
Jesus: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Skeptic 2: My heart's pure. Pure, solid gold! Cha-ching.
Jesus: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Skeptic 1: Yawn...
Jesus: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Skeptic 2: The only persecuting I'm doing is on all the nasty tweets I'm sending out after this guy gets done.
Jesus: Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Skeptic 1: [Speaking to Skeptic 2] Come on; let's get outta here. This guy has no idea what makes a person great.
Skeptic 2: [Agreeing with 1] Exactly my thoughts. And if he doesn't know how to make one person really great, he hasn't got a clue what will make WHOLE countries great. We're gone!
Kid Story: Tell about a time when you saw the world turned on its head—when everything you once assumed was true and right turned out to be exactly the opposite.
*Scripture citations taken from The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. 1989. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers. As found in the Logos Bible study software program.
Jesus & Nicodemus (John 3:1-21)
"Born . . . Again?"
Readers: Narrator, Kid
Narrator: One dark night, a man named Nicodemus went slinking around to talk with Jesus. You see, he wanted to know what Jesus was about—everybody was talking about him.
Kid: Why did he come at night to find Jesus?
Narrator: Well, Jesus was a bit of a . . . revolutionary. Nicodemus was probably concerned what other people would think of him.
Kid: Been there, done that. Go on.
Narrator: Right. So Nicodemus found Jesus. (They didn't have flashlights back then, so I suppose he stumbled around until he found him!) He said, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God."
Kid: Kinda sounds like he's trying to kiss up to Jesus.
Narrator: Yeah. That could be! But Jesus said, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above."
Kid: Sounds good to me.
Narrator: Exactly. Makes sense to us, right? But here's the thing: the way the story is told in the New Testament, Jesus uses a word in Greek that means both "from above" and "again." So there's the big joke—Nicodemus thinks Jesus is saying that you have to be born again . . . literally.
Kid: Ah... Get a clue, Nicodemus?
Narrator: Exactly. The whole Gospel of John is written this way. It's kind of too bad that we take all the fun out of the Bible in some ways, because Nicodemus is really pretty funny here—he simply doesn't get that Jesus means that we are to be born—in a metaphorical sense—once again, spiritually.
Kid: I'm taking it that Nicodemus finally gets the point of it all.
Narrator: Well, he does, but not until way later. Jesus goes off explaining to him how it all works, that God is really about the renewal of the spirit. Nicodemus walked away still puzzled, even after Jesus explained to him how it all works. In fact, this story has one of the most quoted of all Bible verses in it.
Kid: Wait, wait, don't tell me! "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."
Narrator: Yup. You got it. And it's true. The good news is that, at the end of it all, Nicodemus became a true believer—he was the one who secured a tomb after Jesus had been crucified!
Kid: Good to know that some people do finally get it; it just takes them a bit of time.
Kid Story: Share your beliefs about being "born from above" in a spiritual sense. How does God work this process in people? Share an example if you have one.
Check-In Questions and Mentor Meeting Options
THIS MONTH'S MENTOR MEETING OPTIONS
Choose one of these activities for your next mentor meeting.
Activity #1: Salt and Light
Prepare a dish of spaghetti without salt, then one with. (Don’t overdo it!) Light a candle and taste-test each of them. Which do you prefer?
Activity #2: Love of Enemies
It’s a bit easier to love people who love us back. Explore the tough idea of loving your enemies. What’s the best way to show people respect if they won’t reciprocate? Consider creating an artful expression for “love of enemies” and displaying it in your faith community.
Activity #3: Create Your Own
Discuss with your mentor or teacher what kinds of things you will both enjoy doing. Decide on an activity for this month that you and your mentor will do.
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Beatitudes (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
- Where did Jesus go to speak to the crowds? Why there, do you think?
- Who is someone who is “poor in spirit”? Why did Jesus call them blessed?
- If a person’s righteousness has to exceed that of the scribes or Pharisees, how can anyone enter the kingdom of heaven?
Instagram/Phone Check-in: Nicodemus (See above for Check-In Storytimes!)
- What sort of job or career did Nicodemus have? Do you think he was well liked?
- Why did Nicodemus need to come at night to visit Jesus?
- People on the margins of society are easily shunned today, just as Nicodemus was shunned back then. How can you offer hospitality and kindness to those who are different than you?