Note to the Teacher
The key phrase in this Scripture (for this lesson) is “We are witnesses.” The ice breaker invites students to tell people a little bit about themselves and get moving. The discussion encourages students to consider what it means to be a witness for Christ. The activity allows students to understand that being a witness is simply about telling people what they have seen, heard, and experienced. Times are based on a fifty-minute lesson period but may be adjusted.
1. Ice Breaker: Choose, You Must (10 minutes)
Prepare a handout with ten choices that students must make, organized into two columns. Some examples are “chocolate or vanilla?”; “too hot or too cold”; “beach or mountains”; and “TikTok or Instagram.” One choice should be in the left column, and the other choice in the right column, leaving enough space underneath each set of choices for students to write names under them. Print enough papers for each participant to have one and set them aside.
Meet with the students in a room large enough to be able to move quickly from one side to the other. Gather students in the middle and tell them that they must quickly decide between two things that you name. For example, while everyone is huddled together in the middle, you shout out, “Chocolate or vanilla?”, pointing to one side of the room as you say “chocolate,” and the other side of the room as you say “vanilla.” Youth must decide immediately and run to the side of the room that represents their choice. To make it extra silly/fun, lead and moderate the game while using Yoda’s voice from Star Wars. Tell the students to pay attention and try to remember some of the choices everyone else makes. If facilitating this ice breaker online, assign an emoji to each choice, so that youth can quickly respond without using words.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Two of our scripture readings today (John and Luke) cover the story of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
Read John 20:1-18.
Read Luke 24:1-12.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
- What similarities do you see in the Resurrection stories in John and Luke?
- What differences are there? Why do you think these differences exist?
- Why do you think Peter ran to the tomb and didn’t just casually make his way there?
- Who were the very first people to see that Jesus’ tomb was empty? Do you think this is significant? Why or why not?
- What did the women do when they returned from the empty tomb?
Read Acts 10:34-43. Explain that this reading from Acts takes place after Jesus has ascended into heaven and has commissioned his disciples to go and make more disciples. Peter has just had a vision that revealed that God’s salvation has always been for ALL people “who fear him and do what is right.”
- Peter was with Jesus and witnessed his ministry for three years. Now, he has just had a vision from God. What does he do next?
- Peter, just like the women in the Resurrection stories, tells people what he has witnessed. What can we glean from these examples about what we’re supposed to do as Christians?
- What have you witnessed Jesus do in your life? Who could or should you tell about this?
We often think of “witnessing” in our faith as something that is reserved for the pastors or worship leaders or evangelists. But, as these scriptures show, all it means is that we tell people what God has done in our life. We tell people what we have witnessed; it’s as simple as that.
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Pass out the papers you printed with the choices on them from the ice breaker along with a pen or pencil to each student. Tell them to write down the names of each person in the group next to the choice they made when it was presented to them without showing others. For example, they must write underneath “chocolate” all the names of the students who chose chocolate and write underneath “vanilla” all the names of the students who chose vanilla. Give them five to ten minutes to complete this exercise for each choice presented without revealing what they’re writing to anyone else. Give everyone name tags if your group needs them. If doing this activity online, screen-share the choices that you made and ensure that all participants are aware of the names of others (either using screen names or you provide a list) visually onscreen.
After everyone has finished, go student by student and ask which choice each student made for each pair of choices. Just allow students to shout out which choice was made but tell the student whose choices are being examined not to reveal the truth until after a minute or so of discussion.
You may not have enough time to go through each choice for each student; try two or three choices for each student. Be sure you give each student an opportunity to have his/her choices examined.
After you have finished, tell the students that they just gave witness to what they saw when everyone made choices. By writing down a name under each choice and then discussing the choices out loud, they were simply saying what they saw to be true when each person made a choice. Wrap up by telling students that this is what we do when we witness to others. Consider inviting students to debrief the similarities and differences activity by comparing it to the process of “witnessing” our faith. Consider that individuals can easily come up with different versions of the truth. Being a part of a community means that the community can help everyone be a more accurate witness to the truth because of shared experiences and shared memory.
Close in a manner that is typical for your group. Consider taking joys and concerns from the students before closing in prayer.
Total Time: 50 minutes
- Computer with printer and paper
- Pens or pencils
- A medium or large room, depending on the size of your group