Note to the Teacher
Learning Outcomes: Students will understand that Jesus has a perspective on life and the world that we do not understand. Jesus does not promise an easy life but if we trust God, God will see us through.
The discussion encourages students to think about why God’s perspective may be different from ours.
The ice breaker and activity allow youth to work through the scripture to understand God’s perspective on life.
Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)
Print some 3D Magic Eye pictures from this site for free. As students gather, give out the pictures and help them see the images.
Ice Breaker Debrief:
- How difficult was this for you?
- Did you get frustrated?
- What helped?
- Did anyone not get to see a 3D image?
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today comes from Mark 13:1-8. Read the scripture aloud, taking turns and reading more than once with another version, if possible.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What do you think Jesus was discussing with his disciples in verses 1-4? Is Jesus just not into architecture? Or is it more symbolic than observing that all buildings will fall at some point?
- Why might four of the twelve disciples (one-third of them!)—Peter, James, John, and Andrew—have asked the question in verse 4?
- Have you ever encountered “end times” kind of language? How have your experiences with that language felt? Would you have similar questions that the disciples had in verse 4, or would you ask additional questions?
- What kind of comfort do you gain, or discomfort do you experience, from Jesus’ response in verses 5-8?
- Verses 5 and 6 clearly address deception and the negative impact that deceit can have on people and communities. How do people deceive others? What current stories do you know where deception has had a major impact? How can you know when someone is being authentic as opposed to deceitful?
- Verse 8 talks about the beginning of birthing pains. Can you think of stories where someone has experienced pain (maybe they even thought they were dying) and the experience led to new life instead of death?
- The opening activity we did was all about perspective. Once you gained the perspective, you could start seeing the 3D image. What perspective does Jesus have to all he is discussing in these verses with his disciples?
- Think about a sporting event. If you knew the ending from the start, either as a spectator or a player, would it change the way you played or viewed the game?
- If we know there is going to be suffering, and some not-so-great events in life, how might verses 5-8 help us get through it all?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Give everyone a stone, a bag, and a Sharpie. Reread verse 2 together. After a moment of silence, ask individuals to quietly pray about something in their lives that weighs them down, something that prevents them from joy, or something that prevents them from being what God wants them to be. Have them write the thing that is weighing them down on a stone and then place the stone in a bag.
Say something like, “In the end, what will matter most is what we did with our lives, how we loved, whom we served, and how we overcome the obstacles or ‘stones’ in the way. Life is less about building monuments or buildings that will try to stand for all time. Life is more about how we overcome obstacles that separate us from moving with God throughout our lives.”
Then bring out the hammers and take turns crushing the stones.
End with prayer.
- 3D pictures
- Stones (enough for each person); test the stones to be sure they can be crushed by a hammer.
- Paper/plastic bags