Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read comes from the Gospel of Luke, covering Jesus’ temptation in the desert. The opening activity has students playing a “Would You Rather” game. The discussion encourages students to unpack what temptation is and how they can better be equipped to avoid temptation when it’s necessary. The activity and discussion has students answering some final temptation questions and playing a game that is a mixture of Pictionary and Charades. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: ‘Would You Rather’ (10 minutes)
In this game, you will ask students to pick the “would you rather” answer they feel better suits them.
Would You Rather:
- Drive a $1 million boat or a $1 million dollar car?
- Have all-you-can-eat pizza or all-you -can-eat wings?
- Govern several small countries close together or one big country?
- Watch twenty-four hours of TV or play video games for twenty-four hours?
- Never have any more homework or never have to take another test?
- Was it easy or hard to answer these questions? Which one was the hardest? Easiest?
- Which questions were you tempted to answer both?
- If you could have any of the questions become a reality, which one would you pick and why?
Transition to the scripture reading by explaining to your students that the story you are looking at today is the story of Jesus experiencing temptation in the desert.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
While we read the scripture, listen for all the things Jesus is tempted by and ask yourself how you would react to these temptations.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What stuck out to you the most from today’s scripture reading?
- What does the word “temptation” mean? Are any of the temptations in the scripture temptations that we experience today?
- How many days was Jesus tempted? Have you ever been tempted for that long with something?
- What was Jesus’ first temptation? (Turn a stone into bread.) Say something like, “This temptation had to do with hunger. Jesus was fasting during this experience. Have you ever seen or experienced hunger that makes people act different from the way they normally do?”
- In verse 6, Jesus gets tempted with what? (Power – All the kingdoms of the world.) Say something like, “This temptation has to do with power, earthly power and control over other people. Have you ever seen power change the way a person acts?”
- How did Jesus respond in verse 8? What could this hint at for the nature of power?
- What is the final temptation in this passage, found in verses 9 and 10?
- How does Jesus answer that temptation in verse 12? (Collect answers and say something like, “The final temptation can be a tough one to understand. When Jesus was alive, there were generations of prophecies about who the Messiah would be, how that Messiah would act, and even what exactly the Messiah would do. This last temptation seems to have something to do with forcing Jesus to fit our expectations of a Messiah instead of allowing Jesus’ life and behavior set an example for us to follow. Are there times that you’ve seen expectations change or affect how a person acts?”
- What can this story tell us about our relationship with God and how we can choose to still act Christ-like even in the face of temptations?
- What do you think are the “Top 5” temptations that people your age would get challenged with today if they found themselves in a time of trial like Jesus was in this passage?
- How do you think our group (or our church) can help people respond well to those temptations?
4. Activity and Discussion: 'Temptation Game' (20 minutes)
Explain to your students that you are going to play a game where they are going to have to answer how they would handle different types of temptations. Hand each student a notecard and a pen. Ask them to write down a temptation that could be encountered on a weekly basis. Examples could include, cheating on your homework, lying to your parents about brushing your teeth, and so on. Once everyone has written down temptation, collect the notecards and quickly have a leader read through them before passing the notecards back out.
Divide the group into two teams and tell students that they are going to play temptation Pictionary/Charades. However, this version involves someone acting out or drawing a response to a temptation while the team tries to figure out what the temptation is. Give each group an equal number of temptations and equal amount of time for the teams to guess. The team that gets the most correct wins.
Follow up the game by asking the following questions.
- What makes something tempting? Which of the temptations listed would most easily change your behavior?
- How can scripture help us navigate through temptations? Are there other ways that we resist temptation and act in ways that are morally and ethically consistent?
- How can our class/small group/student ministry help us not be tempted toward things that draw us away from Christ?
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
- Pens or pencils
- Dry-erase board or posterboard