Your Servant is Listening

Becoming the People of God

Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B

As we enter fully into Ordinary Time this week, the calendar reminds us that there is nothing ordinary about becoming the people of God.

Note to the Teacher

The Scripture today is the story of Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael to follow him. Our guiding phrase today will be from verse 46 that says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” The ice breaker invites youth to share uplifting words of encouragement with one another. The discussion encourages students to look at others who are different from themselves as people of worth and value. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but can be adjusted.

1. Ice Breaker: Good Things Coming! (10 minutes)

Option 1: Provide each student a blank sheet of 8.5 x 11 printer paper and something to write and draw with. Give students three to five minutes to draw a self-portrait; tell them to put their name somewhere on the portrait. When everyone is finished, put the portraits on the wall (or if meeting virtually, have students hold portraits up to the screen). Next, ask youth to go around to the portraits and write one uplifting and positive thing about each person. If you are doing this virtually, you may want to allow students to direct-message one another using the chat function, or you can have students verbally share their positive remarks. Once everyone has finished, thank the group for their encouraging remarks! (This game was modified from the “All Stars” Game found here:

2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)

Our scripture reading today is the story of Jesus calling Philip and Nathanael to follow him. While I read the scripture, listen for the quick conversation that Philip and Nathanael have about Jesus. What stood out to you about their conversation?

Read John 1:43-51.

3. Discussion (15 minutes)

  • This story has two main characters besides Jesus. Who are they and what do we know about them? [1]
  • In the story, Philip goes and finds Nathanael and tells him, "We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth" (v. 45). Nathanael responds saying, Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" What kind of tone did Nathanael use? Why did he say this? What do we know about Nazareth? [2]
  • What prejudices do people have about others who are from other countries? (Note: We may not have these specific prejudices as a group but try and look at the prejudices that some groups of people have toward others who are different.)
  • Have you ever judged someone simply by what they look like or where they are from? Have you ever been judged that way?
  • What would have happened if Nathanael had walked away because of his view on people from Nazareth?
  • Think about the people in your life who are different from you. What do you like most about them? Why?
  • What was Philip’s response to Nathanael? [3]
  • When was your last encounter with God? Can you tell us about it? (God moment?)
  • Reread the conversation between Nathanael and Jesus in verses 47-51. If you were Nathanael, how would you feel about what Jesus said? (examples, scared, shocked, etc.)
  • When we encounter Jesus, our lives are forever changed. How can we use the story of the calling of Philip and Nathanael to inspire us to live our lives more for Jesus this week? Write this down on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you will see it during the week.

4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)

Watch the animated short film Ian found here: (video is 7 minutes and 30 seconds long). After you’ve watched the video, discuss the following questions:

  • What was happening to Ian at the beginning of the video?
  • Have you ever felt like Ian?
  • Why do people treat others who are different from themselves differently?
  • What happens at the end of the video?
  • What can we learn from this video that will help us be more like Jesus?

If time allows, take a few minutes to write a letter to those who need encouragement. Imagine they were in our class at the beginning of today’s lesson when we wrote uplifting and positive words to one another. Write a letter of encouragement to them and then make sure to give it to them this week. If time allows, write as many letters of encouragement as possible.

Close your time together in a manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys and concerns, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

Total time: 50 minutes

Needed Resources:

  • Bible
  • Paper and pens (Markers/Crayons/Colored Pencils will work as well)
  • Computer or TV to play a YouTube video

[1] Philip (from Bethsaida) and Nathanael (from Cana in Galilee)

[2] Nazareth was a small town in the southern part of Galilee where Jesus grew up.

[3] “Come and see” (v. 46b).

In This Series...

Epiphany/Baptism of the Lord, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Second Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Third Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Transfiguration Sunday, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes