Note to the Teacher
Learning Outcomes: Students will understand what it means to be followers of Jesus.
The discussion encourages students to consider that disciples do not look a certain way. Our actions help define us.
The ice breaker and activity allow youth to experience how we are unique in Christ and that we, like Jesus, have a purpose in this life.
Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)
Prepare different pictures of people. These can be random picture or pictures of your own family. However, you do not want your students to recognize these people. Post pictures on a posterboard or wall and number them. Give students writing utensils and paper.
Once you have set up, invite students to number their paper and make guesses about the occupations of the people’s pictures. Allow time for students to share their guesses. (If these are people you know, you can share their actual occupations.) If meeting online using video, simply screen-share photos with the same questions and activities.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today comes from John 18:33-37. Read aloud a couple of times, using different Bible versions each time.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- Does anyone recognize the context of these verses? (They are usually part of the scripture and larger story we read around Lent.)
- What do you know about Pontius Pilate? (Internet searches or Bible dictionaries are welcome!)
- Invite two youth to read only what is spoken between Pilate and Jesus. Does Jesus ever answer Pilate directly? Why do you think Jesus choses to answer this way?
- What does being a follower of Christ mean to you? Using the quote from verse 37, what does it mean to be “on the side of truth” in this passage?
- Could someone look at you (like we looked at the photos) and know you are a Christian? Why or why not?
- What identifiers are there for those who are Christians? In other words, what may be a better way than outward appearances to look for someone who may be practicing their faith as Christians?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Word Art Activity: Using this link or the app called Shapego – Word Cloud Creator, do the following activity with students. Give each student another sheet of paper and have them each brainstorm and write down words that define them. For instance, a student might write “a daughter, student, athlete, artist, Jesus follower.”
Using a computer or phone, have the students enter their lists and create a piece of art with these lists.
If you use a computer, you could save and print these lists and hang them in your youth room. If youth can generate links, you could make a series of social media posts.
Talk about the labels once the youth have created their word clouds.
- Which words are most important to you, if you are talking about your true identity?
- What words do you think may change and which may last forever?
- In your opinion, do you have control over the labels?
- What labels do you think God cares about? If God or Jesus were to make a word cloud for you, would any new words be added?
- How might each of these words make us who we are in Christ?
Say something like, “The conversation between Pilate and Jesus has a lot to do with Pilate trying to figure out who Jesus truly is. Just like we go through our own lifetimes figuring out who we really are, we are also seeking out the truth of who Jesus is to us as we grow in faith. The Bible reminds us that we are all part of the adopted family of God, so we have an identity in Christ. It is up to us to explore our identity as part of God’s family, so that we can continue to grow as Christians.”
End with prayer, including some quiet prayer time as the youth contemplate their word art.
- Pictures of people
- Writing utensils
- A computer, tablet, or phone
- Time to work with the website/app to know how to use the technology and teach students. (It is simple, and the kids will easily catch on.) The more computers and devices, the better.