Note to the Teacher:
Learning Outcomes: Students will have the opportunity to reflect on who Jesus is and what his physical features were on earth.
- Pictures of Jesus
- Paper, whiteboard on which you will write a poem
The Icebreaker: Students will have the experience of finding answers through a question and answer process.
Discussion: Be sure to explain to students that there were a lot of people running around saying they were the Savior. Therefore, it would not be so unusual for people to be discussing this. The icebreaker and activity allow youth to experience the joy of receiving a gift, even when they did nothing much to deserve it.
Activity: Show different pictures of Jesus portrayed by different cultures and religions. Provide information and articles about the harm done by insisting that Jesus is white. Some helpful articles are listed below:
- How an Iconic Painting of Jesus as a White Man was Distributed around the World, https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/06/25/how-an-iconic-painting-jesus-white-man-was-distributed-around-world/
- Insisting Jesus Was White Is Bad History and Bad Theology, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/12/insisting-jesus-was-white-is-bad-history-and-bad-theology/282310/
Help students process why people portray Jesus in different ways. Next, help them make it personal by having them write a poem about how they see Jesus. They may write the poems individually, in small groups, or all together.
Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period, but may be adjusted.
1. Icebreaker: 20 Questions (10 minutes)
Pick someone to be “it.” The person selected is asked to think of a person, place, or thing; then everyone else asks that person yes or no questions, taking turns, trying to figure out what the person, place, or thing, is. You can limit it to twenty questions to keep the game going. The person who guesses correctly gets to be “it” next. You can play this face to face or virtually.
This game of 20 Questions was meant to help you relate to Peter in the passage we are about to read. How were you able to come up with your questions to try and find the answer (deduction/reasoning/listening)? Let’s look at the questions Jesus is asked.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our Scripture reading today comes from Matthew 16:13-20.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- Why were people asking who the Son of God is?
- Why didn’t they know?
- Who were some of the people the disciples named as the Son of God?
- What reason does Jesus give for how Peter figures out who he is?
- Do you think God gives us answers to our inquiries today? How do you know?
- Why would Jesus ask the disciples not to tell anyone?
- How do you know who Jesus is?
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Pictures of Jesus: Show different pictures of Jesus. Ask the following:
- What are the differences?
- What are the similarities?
- Why would cultures/religions create such different images?
- Are there complications or benefits to showing different images of Jesus?
Now we will turn from looking and discussing visual pictures of Jesus to creating a written picture of Jesus. If someone asked you who Jesus was, how would you describe him? What words would you use? (Describe Jesus’ appearance and personality.) As students are describing Jesus, write down their words. Use these words to work together to create a poem (whatever type you want) to describe Jesus.