Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jesus at a synagogue in Nazareth

Lesson: Jesus ushers in God's favour

1. Game: Set the Captives Free
We played a game that involved people in prison and blindfolded, and others trying to get past the guards to tag them free. But it took a bit longer than expected. So would suggest a simpler game, like Blind Man's Buff.


2. Story:
  • Tell the story of Jesus speaking at the synagogue in Nazareth based on Luke 4:16-30.
  • Last week, we learnt about how Jesus was tempted by the devil in the desert. Who remembers who the winner was? (Jesus!)
  • After that, Jesus returned to Galilee and began teaching about God. People began to hear about Jesus and said good things about Him.
  • Then Jesus decided to go to his hometown, Nazareth. That’s where he grew up as a boy!
  • On the Sabbath day, he went to the synagogue.
  • He stood up to read and was given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah. (Let’s all read together)
    • “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me    to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners    and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
  • After he finished, Jesus returned the scroll and said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
  • What did Jesus mean?
  • After His baptism and time in the desert, Jesus was ready to begin his work on earth. And He was telling people what His work was.
  • Because Jesus was here, the people could experience God’s favour! Jesus told them:
    • If you are poor, I have good news! You don’t have to be poor anymore!
    • If you are in prison or being bullied, you can be free!
    • If you are blind, you can see!
  • Jesus did all these miracles! The poor were fed! Those oppressed found joy and freedom! The blind did see!
  • But more importantly, Jesus wanted to tell people that they didn’t have to be afraid of God anymore because Jesus was going to pay for the punishment of their sins soon! Because Jesus took all the bad things that we deserve, God's favour is upon us — all the good things we don’t deserve!
  • Isn’t that great news?
  • The people thought so too ... until they suddenly remembered ... “Hey, we know this guy! He grew up here. His father’s name is Joseph, the carpenter!” They thought he couldn’t be the Saviour God promised because he grew up in their neighbourhood.
  • So they got angry and tried to throw Jesus off a cliff.
  • But Jesus’ work was only just beginning. God protected Him, and He could walk straight through the crowd safely.

3. Lesson: Good news for Today!
  • Most of you are not financially poor. You are not in prison. You can see.  But Jesus is still good news for you.
  • Maybe you are poor in your grades, or poor in joy (feel sad), or poor in health (sick). Jesus has good news for you! He will give you what you lack.
  • Maybe you are in prison to your bad habits — you keep doing wrong things that you do not want to. Maybe you are being oppressed by the bully in school. Maybe you are always getting scolded. Jesus wants to set you free!
  • Maybe you cannot see God’s goodness and grace in your life. You wonder why everyone is better than you. Jesus wants to open your eyes to see Him at work in your life!
  • The people in Nazareth didn’t want to accept what Jesus had to offer. What about you? Do you want to accept Him?
  • If you have experienced God’s favour in your life, bless someone else. Tell people the good news about Jesus too! Hallelujah!

4. Activity ideas: 
a. Craft: Scroll with Memory Verse
  • Print on brownish/beige paper. Get kids to fill in blanks and personalise/colour it. Roll ups ends and tied scroll with a ribbon.
*****


Youth Bible Study

Leader's Guide

Jesus ushers in God’s Favour

Read Luke 4:17-26.

1.         After Jesus was tempted in the desert, he returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit. News about him spread through the countryside. He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised Him.

2.       Jesus had become a mini-celebrity by then. Where did Jesus go next?
He went to Nazareth, his hometown — where he had been brought up.

3.       In the synagogue, Jesus was invited to speak. What book did He read from? What did it say?
Isaiah (cref Isaiah 61:1)
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to proclaim:
  • Good news to the poor
  • Freedom for the prisoners
  • Recovery of sight for the blind
  • Freedom for the oppressed
  • The year of the Lord’s favour

4.       Where did Jesus say after that? What did he mean?
Jesus said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was the one who has been sent by God to proclaim God’s favour and blessings to everyone — good news, freedom, sight etc. He was the promised Saviour. This was His mission on earth!
Because Jesus was here, the people could experience God’s favour! Jesus did many miracles — the poor were fed; the oppressed found joy and freedom; the blind did see. But more importantly, Jesus wanted to tell people that they didn’t have to be afraid of God anymore because Jesus was going to pay for the punishment of their sins soon!

5.        What was the people’s initial reaction? How did it change?
At first everyone spoke well of him and were amazed at His words. But when they realised he was from Nazareth, they could not accept that He would be the Saviour God promised to sent. They probably thought a carpenter’s son was not good/learned enough to be used by God.

6.         What were the two examples Jesus gave to illustrate “prophets who were not accepted in their hometowns”?
i.                     Elijah: sent to a widow in Zarephath, Sidon, instead to the many widows in Israel (1 King 17)
ii.                   Elisha: healed Naaman the Syrian of leprosy, instead of the many lepers in Israel (2 Kings 5)

7.         What do you think Jesus meant?
Jesus was saying that if the Jews could not accept the favour of God that came through Him due to their pride, self-righteousness or unbelief, then the Gentiles would be the ones to receive it.

8.         What did the crowd do next? What did Jesus do?
They were furious, got up, drove Jesus out of town, took Him to the top of the hill and wanted to throw Him off the cliff. Jesus just walked right through the crowd and went on His way miraculously! His mission had only just begun; no one could touch Him until His work was done.

Most of you are not financially poor. You are not in prison. You can see.  But Jesus is still good news for you. If you are poor in your grades, or poor in joy (feel sad), or poor in health (sick), Jesus will give you what you lack. If you are tied down to your bad habits or are being bullied or disturbed, Jesus can set you free! Maybe you cannot see God’s goodness and grace in your life. Jesus wants to open your eyes to see Him at work in your life! Because Jesus completed His ultimate mission on the cross and took all the bad things that we deserve, God gives us all the good things we don’t deserve!

9.         What is your reaction to what Jesus has to offer?
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What is an area that you want to see Jesus working in your life?
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Share and pray for one another.

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