The Cost of Discipleship. A Youth Lesson for Grades 3-5, 6-8, & 9-12

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1 The Cost of Discipleship A Youth Lesson for Grades 3-5, 6-8, & 9-12 Scripture Lesson: Matthew 4: The Call of the Disciples Theme: When we understand Jesus call of the Disciples we know now how large of a commitment these men readily made when they agree to follow Jesus. As we accept the call to follow him, let s be mindful of what we re getting ourselves into, so that when we do agree to follow him we may commit our full selves to it. Supplies: Enough teachers/leaders to split into 3 groups: Grade 3-5, 6-8, 9-12 Playdough and washable paint (grades 3-5)

2 Scripture Lesson: Matthew 4: The Call of the Disciples Background information about the lesson: The focus of today s scripture lesson is on Discipleship. Specifically, it focuses on how people respond to the call of Christ. We ve grown up in church being taught that when Christ calls, we re to do as the Disciples did and follow willingly. But that may be jumping the gun a little bit. There are a lot of ideas floating around in our society as to what it means to follow Christ. So we must approach this text first with an understanding of just what it was that Jesus called his disciples to. We can note from the preceding section, specifically Matthew 4: 12, that this event happened in Galilee. Verse 18 tells us specifically that it happened by the Sea of Galilee. The word Galilee meant of the Gentiles. This is important because the gospel of Matthew was written to a Jewish audience. They would know that Jesus, as a Jewish rabbi (teacher) was going into a land away from the center of the Jewish faith (Jerusalem...in Judea). Of the Gentiles is important because it tells us Jesus ministry was to all people, not just those in their traditional religious circle. Also, the region of Galilee was looked down upon by Judeans. In our terms it would have been seen as a blue-collar sort of place, full of people who were unreligious, barbaric, and uneducated. Additionally, Matthew s audience also knew how good Rabbi s were supposed to choose their students. Jewish children went to schools of learning to learn the scriptures and when rabbi s discovered particularly bright students who could also be teachers, they d advance on to follow their rabbi s permanently, and to become like them. Jesus, however, chose adults, not chosen by other rabbi s. These were not the best and the brightest. These were ordinary men. They were ordinary men who left everything behind in their lives. Their method of income, their families...all of it was to be left behind to go and follow this wandering teacher named Jesus. So why is all this important to us? Because it tells us what following Jesus is about. Jesus was a rabbi. Students of rabbi s were supposed to become like their teachers. We, therefore, are called to become like Jesus. Jesus also carried out his ministry to the lowliest of people, and extended to a people and a place the religious elite rejected. We, therefore, are called to a ministry to all people. The unloved, the unaccepted, those who wouldn t fit-in in church are just the sort of people Jesus would have us minister to. Jesus called ordinary people to follow him and to do his work. We, ordinary people like us, are just the sort of people Jesus chose. And Jesus disciples had to leave everything behind to follow him. We know the Christian life requires sacrifice. And we will be required to leave some things behind if we re to truly follow Jesus. When we understand these things we know now how large of a commitment these men readily made when they agree to follow Jesus. As we accept the call to follow him, let s be mindful of what we re getting ourselves into, so that when we do agree to follow him we may commit our full selves to it.

3 CYF (grades 9-12) 2. Group Activity Follow the leader (5-10 minutes) a. Begin by having the group line get together in a circle. Put one person in the center and tell them to close their eyes. b. Silently designate one person in the circle as the leader. Make sure everyone in the circle knows who it is, but the person in the middle does not. c. Allow the person in the center to open their eyes. d. The group should begin slowly clapping together in unison. The leader, however, may make up new moves. Like snapping the fingers, patting the head, walking in place, any other motion to be done instead of clapping. e. The object of the game is for the group to continue to change actions without the person in the center realizing who the leader is. If the person in the center correctly identifies the leader, the two switch places and the game starts over. **Note: Lesson author did not create this game but does not know who to credit. 3. Bible Lesson (allow minutes) a. Read the text (Matthew 4: 18-23) b. Lead the discussion focused on the following questions. You will really need to be familiar with the background page to lead this successfully. --Who can tell me where this story took place? (Explain the significance of the word Galilee.) --When Jesus met Simon, Andrew, James, and John, what did he say to them? --What does it mean to fish for people? --Jesus was considered to be a Rabbi. Do you know what a rabbi is? (Explain that a Rabbi is a teacher and how their disciples were chosen and how differently Jesus chose his disciples.) --Do you think it s important that Jesus chose ordinary people from an insignificant place to follow him? --What did the disciples have to give up, or sacrifice, in order to follow him? --If Jesus asked you to leave your whole entire family behind, to go with him, with no money, no hotel reservations, and no food...would you follow him as willingly as they did? --There are always things that stand in our way and keep us from following Christ as closely as we should. What things stand in your way? What things might you have to sacrifice or give up to follow Christ more closely? --If you can, share a personal story about a time you had to make a sacrifice or give something up to follow Jesus. Share how it was difficult to do so, but also tell why it was worth it (what you gained). 4. Prayer (allow 5-10 minutes) a. Ask if anyone has any prayer concerns or celebration b. Lead the group in a closing prayer in one of the following ways i. You lead the prayer ii. Have silent prayer time, followed by closing iii. Allow different individuals to pray, then you close iv. Have time for people to write their prayers down v. Other creative prayer ideas you may have

4 Chi Rho (grades 6-8) 2. Group Activity Simon Does (5-10 minutes) a. Begin by having the group line up in a straight line, each one facing the back of the person in front of them. Instruct the person in the front of the line to begin moving around in place. They can wave their arms, lean to the side, lift their feet, nod their head, you name it...they just cannot walk backward or forward. b. Instruct the rest of the group to follow the leader. This game is like Simon Says, only the players have to do as Simon does. They must make all the same movements the leader does. c. After a minute or two send the leader to the back of the line and let the next person lead. Do so until everyone has had a chance to lead. d. Have the group sit down and ask the following questions: i. How hard was it to follow the leader? ii. Were there things the leader did that were easier than others? iii. Why is trying to be like someone else, trying to do what they do, a difficult task? **Note: Lesson author did not create this game but does not know who to credit. 3. Bible Lesson (allow minutes) a. Read the text (Matthew 4: 18-23) b. Lead the discussion focused on the following questions. You will really need to be familiar with the background page to lead this successfully. --Who can tell me where this story took place? (Explain the significance of the word Galilee.) --When Jesus met Simon, Andrew, James, and John, what did he say to them? --What does it mean to fish for people? --Jesus was considered to be a Rabbi. Do you know what a rabbi is? (Explain that a Rabbi is a teacher and how their disciples were chosen and how differently Jesus chose his disciples.) --Do you think it s important that Jesus chose ordinary people from an insignificant place to follow him? --What did the disciples have to give up, or sacrifice, in order to follow him? --If Jesus asked you to leave your whole entire family behind, to go with him, with no money, no hotel reservations, and no food...would you follow him as willingly as they did. --There are always things that stand in our way and keep us from following Christ as closely as we should. What things stand in your way? What things might you have to sacrifice or give up to follow Christ more closely? --If you can, share a personal story about a time you had to make a sacrifice or give something up to follow Jesus. Share how it was difficult to do so, but also tell why it was worth it (what you gained). 4. Prayer (allow 5-10 minutes) a. Ask if anyone has any prayer concerns or celebration b. Lead the group in a closing prayer in one of the following ways i. You lead the prayer ii. Have silent prayer time, followed by closing iii. Allow different individuals to pray, then you close iv. Have time for people to write their prayers down v. Other creative prayer ideas you may have

5 JYF (grades 3-5) 2. Bible Lesson (allow minutes) a. Preparation: You ll need enough playdough for each student to make a mold of the bottom of their foot, and some art paint that is not water-based. b. Begin by asking the group if they ve ever heard the story about when Jesus called his disciples to follow him. Do you know who they were? What did he say to them? Let s find out! c. Read the text (Matthew 4: 18-23) d. Lead the discussion focused on the following questions --Have you ever been fishing before? What was is like? --What if someone told you that you were supposed to fish for people? How do you suppose we fish for people? --Explain how the disciples were being asked to be like Jesus and lead other people to God. Also explain how the disciples had to give up a lot (family, income, homes) to follow Jesus, but that they hoped to go wherever Jesus went, to do the things he did, and to be just like him. --If Jesus were to be here today, and he asked you to follow him, where might he take you? Where do you think he d go? --Would you go with him? Why or why not? --What would you have to give up in order to go with him? Are you okay with giving those things up? --What do you think you d gain by following Jesus? What good things happen when we follow Jesus? e. Have the group sit down and take off one of their shoes (socks also). Have them spread out a piece of playdough big enough for them to step in and have their entire foot make an impression (Don t do this with shoes on...there will be lots of rocks and dirt). Have them remove the excess playdough so there s just the impression of the foot. Instruct them to paint the words Follow me, and I will make you fish for people. Matthew 4:19 They may also paint fish or any other decoration befitting on this. (You may want to help them paint the letters so they are legible). Instruct the students to allow their creations to dry...and then to take them home and always remember how Jesus called us to follow him wherever he goes, and tell people about him. Tell them that as they use their feet to walk they can imagine they re walking with Jesus, trying to follow him, trying to be like him. 5. Prayer (allow 1-5 minutes) a. Ask each person to tell one good thing that happened to them this week. b. Ask each person to name one person they want to pray for. c. Lead the group in a closing prayer.

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