Note to the Teacher
The Scripture today is the story of the Transfiguration. Our guiding phrase is “but only Jesus,” which is taken from the last part of verse 8. The ice breaker invites students to play a quick game and watch a video about the Transfiguration. The discussion encourages students to see Jesus in a new light and explains how we are called to live into our new light. The activity allows youth to design their own Transfiguration craft. Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period but can be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker (10 minutes)
Part 1: Change Game
Ask students to pair with someone. This can be done virtually as well by putting pairs of kids in breakout rooms. After everyone has a partner, ask for one person to leave the room (or turn off the camera on the computer). Once everyone has left, ask the remaining partner to change something about his or her appearance. (An example could be that if the person’s hair was up, he/she could take it down. If the person has a necklace on, he/she could take it off, etc.) Play this game several times, changing the person who gets to change his/her appearance. You may want to change partners as well. Enjoy!
Have students watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dC081rBhFsE (Time 2:58)
Transition to the scripture by saying, “Today we look at the story of the Transfiguration of Jesus, which is also one of the most confusing stories in all of scripture. As we read today’s scripture, pay attention to what happens after the Transfiguration.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today comes from the book of Mark, chapter 9. While I read, listen for what is said from the voice in the cloud.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What does the word “Transfiguration” mean? 
- Make a list on a whiteboard or sheet of paper of things that transfigure or go through a metamorphosis. For example, a caterpillar changes to butterfly; a tadpole turns into a frog.
- What do we know about things that change or transfigure?
- Who was there to witness this Transfiguration? 
- What happened on the mountain? 
- How did the disciples react to the Transfiguration?  How would you have reacted?
- Tell the story of a time you were awestruck by what you witnessed.
- What did the voice in the cloud say?  What stands out about what was said?
- How is the voice in the cloud similar to the voice that was heard at Jesus’ baptism?
- Why do you think Mark adds verse 8, which says, “Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them anymore, but only Jesus.”? 
- What does Jesus tell the disciples as they are coming down the mountain? Why do you think he tells them this? 
- Clearly the disciples saw something amazing that day. Can you imagine what it will be like to see Jesus in all his glory one day? What do you think it will look like when we see Jesus face to face?
- If time allows, look at the story of the Transfiguration found in Matthew 17:1-13 and Luke 9:28-37. Compare and contrast what is in these two versions with Mark’s version. You may want to write these on a whiteboard. Guiding questions might include:
- Where are Moses and Elijah significant in the Bible? (Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the prophets)
- Why would their presence have been significant for the disciples?
- What would the disciples have learned about Jesus because of this experience?
- If we remember the Transfiguration, and that the same Jesus the disciples saw is the same Jesus guiding and leading us today, how might that change our lives?
- Are there ways that you try and pay attention to Jesus’ presence in your life?
As you transition to the final activity, have a student dramatically and with a lot of emphasis, reread Mark 9:2-9. Have everyone applaud the student for reading!
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Option 1: Signs
Note: If meeting virtually, everyone must have their cameras on, and you must be able to see everyone on your screen at one time.
Have everyone in your group sit in a circle facing one another with one person sitting in the middle. If you are doing this online, the person “in the middle” is simply the person trying to find people making signs. Before you begin, send the person in the middle outside or put that person in a waiting room. Every player must come up with a sign, which is some kind of movement or hand gesture that is unique to that individual. For example, a person’s sign may be that he holds up two fingers or that she waves. The sign needs to be easy for others to do, but not so obvious that it gets detected by the person in the middle of the circle.
Once all the signs have been and everyone has had a chance to see everyone else’s sign, decide who will “have the sign” at the beginning. That person will be the first person to pass the sign to someone else. The way you pass a sign is to show the sign; then show the sign of someone else.
When all the setup is finished, bring the person in the middle back into the room/Zoom. The person in the middle tries to guess who has the sign. That person gets three to five chances to guess who has the sign. Whoever is caught with the sign becomes the next person in the middle when the new round starts. You may have time to play this only once; however, it is a great game for students to play in the future.
Spend a couple of minutes talking about how we have to be paying attention to see what God is doing around us.
Option 2: Under the Clouds
Have students look up to in the sky to see if they see any clouds. Have them take a minute or two to try and find clouds that look like different things. After they have spent a few minutes looking at the clouds, have the student who read earlier read the Transfiguration story again. Take pictures or video to post on social media, if possible.
Spend a couple of minutes talking about how God can speak to us through nature.
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.
50 minutes total time
- YouTube Video
- Whiteboard or Sheet of Paper and Pens/Markers
 To change or to transform.
 Peter, James, and John.
 Jesus was shown in his heavenly glory to the disciples, and he had a conversation with Moses and Elijah.
 They were terrified.
 “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!”
 Mark adds this to emphasize the importance of keeping our eyes only on Jesus.
 Verse 9 says, “As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead.”