Note to the Teacher
The key phrase in this scripture (for this lesson) is “God exalted him [Jesus].” The ice breaker encourages competition between the students and allows them to get to know more about one another. The discussion encourages students to think about what they might do if they were in the situation that Peter and the other apostles were in, as well as considering how we might have hope in the midst of difficulty because of the chance for forgiveness and repentance. The activity allows students to experience the ease and difficulty of sharing a story and allows them to practice being a witness.
1. Ice Breaker: Jenga (10 minutes)
Get the game Jenga. If you don’t have it already, it can be purchased for an affordable price at your local retail store or online. Some churches have a set of giant Jenga, which can also be played: https://amzn.to/3nl96rH . If you have crafty folks as part of your congregation, there may be a church member who could make you a Jenga set of any size that you like.
The goal for each person playing Jenga is to remove one wooden block without the tower falling. The person who removes a block and causes the tower to fall loses. Have each student take a turn removing a block. As students remove blocks, they must say one fact about themselves that others may not know. Encourage the students to say something that the others in the group most likely would not know. The person who “loses” by causing the tower to fall must do ten jumping jacks while singing a verse from a favorite song. Now, repeat the activity by setting up the tower again. This time, students do not have to share anything, but instead support the person removing blocks by touching the tower and keeping it upright as long as possible.
If doing the ice breaker online, play “two truths and a lie” where each participant shares two true facts about himself/herself and one false statement. The rest of the group votes on what the false statement was, and the speaker reveals the false statement after the votes have been totaled. Play the game a second time, but this time allow everyone to compare their answers to increase the chances of finding the lie.
2. Read Scripture (5 minutes)
Our scripture reading today happens after Jesus has ascended into heaven and the church has just begun its mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. Peter and the others had been arrested for preaching in Jesus’ name, let go, and have now been arrested again.
Read Acts 5:27-32.
3. Discussion (15 minutes)
Imagine the scene we just read. Peter and the other apostles have been arrested a second time for preaching. They have been brought before the Sanhedrin (the Jewish court) to answer for what they’ve done.
- What do you think the apostles were feeling or thinking?
- How would you have felt if you were in trouble for doing something that you knew was the right thing to do?
- What do you think you would have done next after they told you again not to teach people about Jesus?
As Christians, we have a calling: to make disciples of Jesus Christ so the world is transformed. Because the world is not perfect, we are not perfect, and the people hearing the message are not perfect, sometimes this calling can be difficult. One thing that we can take from this scripture is how the disciples continue to let God’s gifts and triumphant story shine through their speech. But you know what, God’s gifts shine through their actions as well. The disciples had each other to lean on in times of need, just as you offered support in the second round of Jenga (or two truths and a lie). God exalted Jesus—this means to lift up. We can be powerful witnesses and supporters who lift each other up in the midst of the brokenness of our world.
4. Activity and Discussion (20 minutes)
Gather the students in chairs or on the floor. Pick one student to tell people the story of how his/her parents met. If the student doesn’t know that story, have the student tell a story of something incredible that once happened. The student has only sixty seconds to tell the story. (This activity can also be done online by following the same set of directions)
Have the same student tell the story a second time, but this time the student must whisper. (If online, have the speaker go on mute.)
Then, a third time, have the student tell the story, but every five seconds you, as the leader, scream loudly and start talking about other things in the middle of the story.
Give the other students an opportunity to go through the same exercise. After all of the students have told their stories, as time allows, ask them the following questions:
- How easy was it to tell the story at first compared to the other two times when you had interruptions introduced?
- What would have made it easier for you to share your story? Consider both things within your control and those outside of your control.
Say something like, “When we’re sharing about the chances that we have to witness, we may be one voice in a very noisy world. Think about the advertisements, shows, movies, and apps that God’s voice gets to compete with. We’ve got the support of the Holy Spirit (and each other) as we share our stories and God’s story of redeeming this world. We can also support each other, just like we did with the Jenga tower (or the two truths and a lie second round). We each play an important role in contributing to the kingdom of God, letting our voices and actions be perhaps, the first time that someone else may recognize God.”
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
- Chairs (optional)
- A room to meet in