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Lesson One
Getting to Know Who’s Who
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Two
Beginnings to Baptism
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Three
Introducing the Son of God
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Four
Ministry with His Disciples
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Five
Lessons About Life and Death
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Six
The Road to the Cross
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Lesson Seven
Jesus Is Alive Forever and Ever!
3 Activities | 1 Assessment
Course Wrap-Up
Course Completion
1 Activity | 1 Assessment

Lecture

A Glimpse of Glory on a Mountaintop

As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor. . . . (Luke 9:29-30a)

Jesus had told his disciples, “Some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” They didn’t realize how soon that would happen. About a week later, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up to a mountaintop to pray. Prayer is very important. Jesus didn’t just say a prayer as he went along. He went away from the busyness of life so he could talk at length with his Father in heaven.

Peter, James, and John were sleepy. But something happened that made them wide awake. As Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed. He started glowing! His clothes started shining as bright as a flash of lightning. The disciples were getting a glimpse of Jesus in his heavenly glory.

Then two men appeared with Jesus. They were shining in glory too. The disciples recognized these men as Moses and Elijah, two of the most famous men in the Bible. They had lived hundreds of years before. Moses was famous for giving the Jews God’s laws and for bringing the Jews out of slavery in Egypt. Elijah was a great prophet who spoke God’s word.

They were talking with Jesus about his approaching death and departure from this earth. When Moses led the people out of Egypt, that was called the exodus. Exodus means a departure -- to leave one place and go to another. Moses led the Jews out of slavery and toward the land God promised them. Jesus’ death on the cross would lead people out of slavery to sin and into the kingdom of God.

When the men started to leave, Peter blurted out, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters.” Peter wanted to set up little tents for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Maybe he thought they would stay longer if he did. Peter didn’t really know what he was saying.

Before anyone there could answer Peter, a shining cloud surrounded them and a voice came from the cloud. It was the voice of God the Father. He said, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Peter didn’t make any more suggestions. No one did. They were all flat on their faces before God. When they dared to look up again, Jesus looked normal and he was alone. As they came back down the mountain, Jesus told them not to tell anyone what happened up there -- until after he rose from the dead.

Life Questions:

Have you ever taken a time to pray to the Father at length?

Who Will Throw the First Stone?

When they kept on questioning him [Jesus], he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)

One morning Jesus came to the temple courtyard. People gathered around and Jesus sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees interrupted Jesus’ teaching session. They brought in a woman who had been caught having sex with a man who was not her husband. This is called adultery.

The Ten Commandments say “Do not commit adultery.” The Law of Moses went on to say that people who commit adultery should be put to death. But it said that both people should be punished -- not just the woman. If the teachers of the law had really cared about enforcing the law, they wouldn’t have let the man get away. They weren’t trying to enforce the law. They were trying to trap Jesus.

The teachers of the law said, “In the law Moses commanded us to kill such women by throwing stones at them.” This was a tricky trap. The law of Moses did say to execute people who commit adultery, but Jews did not enforce that law under Roman rule. If Jesus said not to kill her, he could be accused of going against Moses. If he said to kill her, he could be accused of going against the Roman government. Either way, he would get in trouble.

They were all waiting for an answer -- the people Jesus had been teaching, the woman whose life was in danger, and the teachers of the law. Jesus didn’t answer. Instead, he silently bent down and started to write something on the ground with his finger. But they kept asking him. So Jesus stood up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Then Jesus bent back down again and wrote on the ground. No one knows what Jesus wrote on the ground. The Bible doesn’t say. Maybe he was writing each man’s name and the sin he had committed.

Jesus managed to get out of their trap. He agreed that the woman had sinned and even that the sin deserved a death penalty. He just asked them who was perfect enough to condemn her. Not one of them were without sin. Jesus knew this. They did too. One by one, everyone left -- from the oldest to the youngest.

Soon only Jesus and the woman were left. Jesus asked her, “Woman where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” Jesus told her, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Life Questions:

How do you think you might have felt -- at the beginning of the scene and at the end -- if you were in this woman’s position?

Jesus Blesses the Little Children

He [Jesus] said to them [the disciples], “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (Mark 10:14b)

Jesus was teaching in the area of Judea across the Jordan River. His disciples were with him, and crowds of people kept coming to him. Some of the people in the crowd had babies and little children with them. They wanted their children to see Jesus too. Some of the people wanted Jesus to touch their children and lay his hands on them and give them a special blessing.

People in the ancient world believed that blessings worked like magic. If someone laid hands on another person and pronounced a blessing, the blessed person would have God’s special favor. It’s no wonder that parents wanted Jesus to put his hands on their children and bless them!

The disciples tried to stop people from bringing children to Jesus. They told them to go away. Maybe they thought that the children would bother Jesus. They probably thought they were doing Jesus a favor, but Jesus didn’t see it that way. When Jesus saw this, he was angry (Mk.10:14a). He told them to let the little children come to him and not to turn them away. Then Jesus said, “Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Children had no power. They had no rights. They could not earn money. They were helpless. Everything they received had to be received as a gift. The kingdom of God is like that too. People who think they can earn their way in will never make it. Only people who realize that they have no right to demand entrance to God’s kingdom will get in. Salvation is a free gift from God. This is what Jesus meant when he said that we have to receive God’s kingdom like a little child.

Jesus welcomed the children. He took them in his arms. He put his hands on them and he blessed them. Can’t you just imagine the children laughing and playing all around him? Picture Jesus holding babies and praying for them? Jesus loved the little children, and he used them to teach the grown-ups an important lesson. Parents today still ask Jesus to bless their children.

Life Question:

How does it make you feel to know how much Jesus loves children and wants to bless them?

Some People Will Do Anything To See Jesus

He [the blind man] called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” (Luke 18:38)

He [Zacchaeus] wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. (Luke 19:3)

Jesus met two men near Jericho who wanted to see him but couldn’t. One was a blind man, the other was a short man named Zacchaeus who couldn’t see over the crowd. The blind man was sitting by the road begging. In those days disabled people couldn’t get regular jobs. They made their living by begging for money along the road where people would go to and from the city.

This blind man heard a commotion and wanted to know what was going on. Someone told him that Jesus was passing by. He had heard about Jesus and believed he was the Messiah. He called out, “Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!” “Son of David” is a title for the Messiah, since people expected the Messiah to come from David’s family. People told him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder. He wanted to see Jesus! No one was going to stop him!

Jesus stopped and had the man brought to him. Then he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus said, “Receive your sight. Your faith has healed you.” Suddenly, he could see! He followed Jesus, praising God, and the people in the crowd joined him.

Jesus and the crowd entered Jericho. A man named Zacchaeus was there. He wanted to see Jesus. He was a chief tax collector, probably the boss of the other tax collectors in that area. That’s why he was wealthy. Zacchaeus was very short. He couldn’t see over the people, and they wouldn’t let him through. He ran ahead of them in time to climb a sycamore-fig tree, so he could see Jesus too.

There he was, perched on a limb, when Jesus stopped and looked up at him. Jesus knew his name. He said, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So, he hurried down and welcomed Jesus. The people in the crowd started whispering, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner”. Zacchaeus knew what they meant. As a tax collector, he had become wealthy by stealing from other Jews. Zacchaeus said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone . . . I will pay back four times the amount.” His heart had changed!

Jesus said,”Today salvation has come to this house.” Jesus accepted him as a son of Abraham. He had put his faith in God, just as Abraham had done. Then Jesus told the people, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Life Question:

If you were in the crowd, what would you have done to get to see Jesus? How eagerly do you seek Jesus now?

A Rich Young Ruler Wants Eternal Life

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17)

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell this story. Matthew says the man was young, and Luke calls him a ruler. He was probably some kind of public official. Notice HOW he comes to Jesus. He RUNS up to him. And he FELL ON HIS KNEES. He has an important question for Jesus. “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?”

He didn’t ask how to RECEIVE eternal life. He assumed he had to DO something to EARN it. Jesus taught that living forever with God is a gift to be received, not something people can earn by good deeds. Jesus told the man that no one is good except God. This young man always tried to be good. He thought that being good could get him to heaven. Jesus would teach him; that isn’t the way.

Then Jesus said, “You know the commandments.” Then he listed God’s commands for how we are to treat other people. The man said, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” The man really believed this. He probably thought that keeping God’s law was just doing the right thing in the way you act. But to truly keep God’s commands, a person must obey in his heart, not just his actions. No one can do that perfectly. A person who does not murder may still have hate in his heart. And in God’s book, hatred breaks the same law that says, “Do not murder.”

Jesus looked at the rich young ruler and loved him. Jesus told him, “One thing you lack. Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the man heard this, he became very sad. He was rich and wasn’t ready to give up his wealth on earth to have riches in heaven. Jesus didn’t tell everyone to give away all that they owned. But Jesus knew that this man’s wealth kept him from trusting God. In that case he needed to let go of his treasures on earth to get treasures in heaven. And eternal life is worth more than all the money in the world.

The man who had run up to Jesus walked away sad. Jesus told his disciples it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. A camel is huge. The eye of a needle is the tiny hole that thread goes through. There’s no way a camel could go through the eye of a needle! It’s impossible! Jesus said it is just as impossible for people to get themselves into God’s kingdom. The disciples asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

Life Questions:

If you had to choose, would you pick riches on earth or riches in heaven?

Learning About Life and Death - the Hard Way

Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. (John 11:43b-44)

Jesus loved his three friends: Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. They lived in Bethany, about two miles from Jerusalem in Judea. When Lazarus got very sick, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus right away. But Jesus didn’t come right away. He purposely waited two whole days. Jesus knew that Lazarus was already dead. He also knew that he would raise him from the dead and give God glory.

The disciples were afraid to go back to Judea. The last time they were there the Jews tried to kill Jesus. But they agreed to follow Jesus, even though they thought they might be killed with him. Jesus told them that Lazarus was asleep and he would go and wake him up. He meant Lazarus was dead; but they didn’t understand. So, he told them plainly. “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”(John 11:14-15)

When Jesus got to Bethany, the funeral was over. Many people came from Jerusalem to comfort the two sisters. Martha ran to meet Jesus, but Mary stayed home. Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus told her that Lazarus would rise again. All Jews expected to rise again on the final day of judgment, but that wasn’t what Jesus meant. He told Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even if they die. And those who believe in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Martha said, “Yes, Lord! I believe . . . . “ Then she went home to get Mary.

Mary ran to meet Jesus and many people followed her. They thought she was going to the tomb. She too said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” She cried and Jesus was deeply moved. When Mary showed Jesus the tomb where the body of her brother lay, Jesus cried too. Some people said, “See how he loved him.” Others said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus told them to take away the stone and open the tomb. Martha reminded him that Lazarus had been dead four days. His dead body would have already started to decay and have a terrible smell. Jesus encouraged her, said a prayer, and called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” He came out alive but wrapped like a mummy. Then Jesus told them to unwrap him and let him go.

Life Questions:

How would you feel if you saw Jesus bring someone you love back to life? How many different emotions would you feel? What would they be?

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