Note to the Teacher
The key idea in this scripture for this lesson is “feel the depths of love, even at our most beastly.” The icebreaker invites youth to “experience temptation.” The discussion encourages students to think about Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness. The activity allows youth to see Jesus’ forty days through the eyes of an illustrator. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
Temptations (15 minutes)
Students stand in a circle holding hands. Place several various-sized objects inside their circle in different areas (some closer to them; some more toward the center). When you say “go,” invite the students to begin walking in a clockwise circle around the objects. They should try to guide their neighbors close to the objects to try to make that neighbor touch an object. If their neighbor touches an object, gameplay stops, and the neighbor has to take the object and sit out. Gameplay can begin again.
*Caution: Competitive or very strong students may tend to get physical with this game. Remind them that they are not to pull to the point of injury and the game is about influence as opposed to pure strength.
To make the game a bit harder, blindfold half the players.
If playing with a large group, break them into smaller groups for smaller circles.
Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today concerns Jesus’ time in the wilderness.
Read Mark 1:9-15.
Discussion (15 minutes)
- Why do you think Jesus was led to the wilderness? (At the time of the scriptures, “wilderness” would have referred to any area outside the protection of a city, village, or community.
- What would a journey into the “wilderness” look like for us and our community?
- How do you think the time away prepared Jesus for the rest of his ministry?
- Do people still seek out “wilderness experiences” today? Are those valuable experiences? Why do you think so?
- What do you think Jesus’ time in the wilderness tells us about his character?
Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Collect spare craft materials from around the church. The more random the better. Pipe cleaners are an excellent choice.
Together with youth, work to create and place things that represent “distractions” or “temptations” in today’s world, as well as symbols for locations where those distractions or temptations might be found.
Points for discussion:
- How do you try to escape distractions and temptations that you encounter in your life? In other words, where are your “wilderness” places?
- Are there any spiritual practices or things you do intentionally to connect with God while you are in your wilderness?
- Which of the distractions and temptations that we deal with today would have been similar to ones in Jesus’ time? Which ones do you think are new and unique to the time and place in which we currently live?
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes.
- Objects for the game
- Suggestions: Large empty trash can, hula hoop, pool noodle, metal mixing bowl, chair, etc.)
- Internet access and a way to watch the YouTube video.