Note to the Teacher
The scripture we read is from the Gospel of Luke. It is made up of two short stories and one parable. The opening activity gets students sharing their names in a group setting while also trying to remember the names (and fruits) of those who went before them. The discussion encourages students to think about how they can bear fruit. The activity and discussion has students sharing with one another the different ways God has helped them bear fruit in their lives. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: 'Around the Room' (10 minutes)
In this opening ice breaker, your group will get to know one another by sharing their names and a name of a fruit (or vegetable or any type of food) that starts with the last letter of their first name. If you have a larger group, you may want to divide your group into smaller groups of ten to fifteen.
For example, Amy starts and says, “Hi, my name is Amanda and I like apples.” Janus is next. Janus says, “Hi, my name is Janus and I like strawberries.” The game continues until everyone has had the opportunity to share. To make the game more fun, ask each person to repeat all the previous names and fruits/foods.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
In our scripture reading today, Jesus asks everyone to repent and talks about bearing fruit. While I read the scripture, listen for how Jesus describes three different stories that encourage us to live our lives with purpose and urgency.
Read Luke 13:1-9.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- This passage is a stark reminder of the violence present in Jesus’ time and that animal sacrifices were still offered up to God. What does Jesus seem to be calling people to repent from?
- In the first part in verses 1 and 2, Jesus is asked a question about the Galileans. What was it? In verse 3, Jesus answers the question. What does he say?
- What does the word “repent” mean? (This question can have many answers based on personal experiences and tradition. The basic concept is for a person to recognize and turn away from the things that separate him/her from God.) If youth feel comfortable sharing, ask, “Are there times that you have felt the need to repent?”
- Verses 1-5 seem to be saying that sinners may be equal before God. Does this challenge what you know about sin? Have you ever thought about yourself being better than someone else? Perhaps “less of a sinner”? How does that affect our ability to be in connection with our communities and demonstrate the love of God to others?
- The parable of the fig tree is the second part of today’s scripture reading. How would you sum up the parable?
- How might people be like the fig tree? What kind of fruit are we supposed to be producing as trees in God’s vineyard?
- Who do you think the caretaker in the vineyard is? What kind of care helps people produce the kind of fruit that is meaningful to God?
Transition to the closing activity by telling your students that the next portion of today’s lesson is going to require their participation and trust.
4. Activity and Discussion: 'Reflection and Response' (20 minutes)
Explain to your students that today they are going have a time of sharing and reflection. Hand students pens and a piece of paper and have them write down the answers to the following questions:
- Have you shared about Jesus and faith with others recently? How did you do that?
- To whom have you shown love even when they didn’t deserve it?
- When is the last time you were nice to someone for no specific reason?
- How have you honored your parents in the last thirty days?
- When have you prayed for someone or something? How do you think God responded?
After taking a few minutes for students to answer these questions, ask your students if they would like to share. During this time, remind your students to be polite and nonjudgmental. This is simply a time for students to share how they have been bearers of good fruit. After students share, make sure to thank them for their honesty and willingness to share. If your group is apprehensive about sharing, you may want to start by sharing some of your own answers.
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 (1 per student)
- Notecards or pieces of paper (1 per student)