Note to the Teacher
Today’s scripture includes Jesus’ journey back to Nazareth, his rejection, and sending out of the twelve apostles. We do recognize that the timing of this Sunday falls around the Fourth of July (the holiday designated in the United States to celebrate its independence from Britain). Even so, this lesson will center on the themes of community and connection rather than on the western notion of independence. The activities and discussion focus on expectations and building relationships. The idea of “home” is less about our native country and more about our connection to one another and Jesus.
Ice Breaker: The Price is Right
(Alternate names: The Cost is Accurate or Guess the Value)
Bring a few bizarre items or look them up on eBay (or another shopping website) to show pictures. Divide participants into two or more teams, or allow individuals to play alone if your group is smaller. Each team must try to guess the price of the item without going over. The closest team to the actual price wins that round.
Try to stick to generally ridiculous joke items. While these may not be as easy to guess on pricing, using designer high-end items or what may be considered typical pantry essentials may contribute to a socioeconomic divide for those in your group who cannot afford “low-end” items or own “high-end” items. The website eBay is a great place to check for the bizarre and “hard to price.” Items from the TV show “Antique Roadshow” may be another option, as long as they have a definite appraised value or sold-at-auction value listed.
Examples of items to include:
- An outrageous costume
- Chia Pet
- Giant inflatable
- Guinea pig battle armor
- A whole town (Albert, Texas)
- Weirdly shaped chip
- Bottle of air
- Discontinued food/drink items like Crystal Pepsi, Squeeze-Its, or Dunkaroos
Virtual adaptation: Share pictures of the items with the group. Creating a simple PowerPoint or document with pictures and sharing your screen is an easy way to do this.
Send each team into breakout rooms to come up with their guesses on prices; make sure one person from each group oversees writing down or messaging the host with their guesses.
Reveal the price of each item individually, crediting the team closest (without going over) each time.
- What item(s) surprised you the most?
- Which price was most unexpected?
- Were there any prices, in your opinion, that were way above the value of the item?
- How do we decide on an object’s worth? How do we determine if something is valuable?
In our story today, we learn about an experience that Jesus had that seems unexpected.
Read or invite youth to read the passage. Read the passage a second time, drawing students’ attention to the responses of those listening in the synagogue, as well as to Jesus’ actions following the rejection. Ask them to consider how they might have responded in the same circumstances.
- Can you think of a time that something didn’t quite live up to your expectations?
- Possible examples include: A toy from childhood that didn’t match the commercials; a place visited that didn’t live up to the hype; a book/show/or movie that surprised the youth.
- Is there a time in your life where you felt trapped or limited in how people saw you because they knew you when you were younger?
- What did those gathered in the synagogue say about Jesus’ teaching?
- Do you think Jesus expected to be welcomed in his hometown or not?
- What did Jesus do following his rejection in Nazareth?
- Can you imagine what your response might have been?
- Why do you think Jesus starts sending out the twelve disciples following the interaction at the synagogue?
- What specifically does Jesus tell his disciples to do when they are sent out? How would that advice help them as they travel?
Say something like: Jesus may or may not have been expecting the rejection he received. When we face rejection, especially an unexpected one, our initial reaction may be anything but welcoming and loving. We see in Jesus’ actions in today’s passage that while he didn’t back down, he didn’t give up teaching there either. Jesus defied expectations in Nazareth, and he continues to do so today. Jesus shared his message at home, even though some in his hometown still saw him as nothing more than Joseph’s boy. What is Jesus left to do when his childhood home seemed to exclude him? He makes a new version of home by expanding acceptance into the family of God. Jesus empowered the twelve to heal and reach out to others, creating an ever-expanding welcome into the God’s house.
Activity: Sell It
If your group is smaller than ten, no modifications to this exercise are necessary. If your group is larger, split into groups of ten or fewer. For each round, each participant (except one) is designated as a “seller” and is assigned six words from below (you can write them down and distribute them, if you are meeting in person, or message them individually if you are meeting virtually). Designate one participant with the “buyer” identity. The “buyer” changes every round.
Each round begins when you choose who acts as the “buyer.” This person must listen to sales pitches, then choose the item he/she is most interested in buying based upon the “seller’s” sales pitch. The buyer is also listening from the perspective of the character you assign. (The list of buyer characters is below the instructions for the game.)
The other participants each combine any two of their words into a product that they try and sell to the buyer, keeping in mind that they are selling to the buyer’s character! (You may want to assign a time limit to each pitch; short is good. With younger youth, provide guidance about what to include in a sales pitch – price, why the product is awesome, who would use it, and so on.)
After all participants have made their sales pitches, the buyer chooses the best item, and the player who pitched that item gains a point. The round ends, and you as the leader select the next buyer.
The game is completed once each participant has had a turn being the buyer. If players run out of words, they can share ones previously used or use some from the extra bank of words included.
- Rock Star
Crayon, Toy, Paint, Animal, Camera, Instrument, Peace, Noise, Fame, Money, Fear, Space, Shoes, Hope, Joke, Patience, Tofu, Glasses, Rain, Costume, Cloud, Slime, Glitter, Kindness, Vehicle, Danger, Friend, Future, Magnet, Game, Invisible, Lava, Joy, Lightning, Crown, Cape, Phone, Controller, Boat, School, Energy, Doubt, Party, Water, Sun, Shield, Robot, Microphone, Rocket, Family, Prize, Sleep, Love, Island, Food, Gentle, Wings, Bacteria, Computer, Submarine
Church, Balloon, Test, Map, Book, Squishy, Watch, Prize, Fuzzy, Tool, Ice, Shadow, Internet, Mask, Hair, Prayer
- Did you enjoy being a buyer or seller most?
- Who were the most effective sellers? What made their sales pitches stand out?
- Which products would you actually be tempted to try if they existed in the real world?
- Were there behaviors or tactics that you noticed sellers use to try and appeal to the buyer?
- In real life, do you think people are more likely to trust/buy from someone they trust/know or someone they don’t?
Say something like: Evangelism in our culture can seem akin to trying to sell a product to others. Patriotism can be like that too, as can many other beliefs like whose sports team is the best, school pride, or even city, state, or regional identities. If our only focus is on a product to sell or a group to belong to, what happens when expectations are broken, or we experience rejection? Instead of selling something, evangelism is more about inviting others to experience the joy of life with God and with a community of others. The Good News is that we can form communities of people who allow God to live through the very individuals that create the community. In the passage today, we saw Jesus experience rejection in a place he once called home. We also witnessed his sending out of the twelve to create a community immediately following that hometown rejection. It would be easy to see this as Jesus creating something new to replace the old; but again, go back to the idea of evangelism as an invitation. Jesus invites all people to become part of the covenant that God created with people from the beginning. Jesus is not interested in the surface-level mission of selling religion or gaining acceptance into groups. He is most interested in relationships and helping create a large and welcoming home where all feel welcome to share in the good news of God’s grace. Jesus demonstrates that the idea of “home” is about much more than a town or family who raised us. Jesus sends out his disciples to help create a vision of “home” that some would call “the kingdom of God.” This faithful act of equipping disciples and sending them out demonstrates God’s commitment to help us learn how to love one another with the same kind of love that God pours out on us. In other words, God is trying to show us the way “home,” a place where “God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
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.
- A selection of items with prices (or pictures of items or listings from online shops) for the ice breaker.
- Virtual: Document or PowerPoint with the items for the ice breaker listed.
- Print out the Words and Buyer identities to distribute or ensure there is enough paper/pencils for participants to write theirs down.