THE LIFE OF JESUS: THE THINGS THAT HE SAID Week 2: Knowing Jesus Better 1. LEADER PREPARATION

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1 This includes: 1. Leader Preparation 2. Lesson Guide THE LIFE OF JESUS: THE THINGS THAT HE SAID Week 2: Knowing Jesus Better 1. LEADER PREPARATION LESSON OVERVIEW When Jesus taught, he consistently challenged his audience to think differently about faith, their role in this world, and what God expected of them. He also challenged people s thinking about who he was. In this lesson, we ll examine several passages containing words Jesus spoke about himself some of the I Am statements from the Gospel of John. These verses will help your students know Jesus better who he is, how he wants to interact with us, and how he wants to reach out to our hurting, broken world. LESSON OBJECTIVES 1. WHAT: Jesus clearly knew who he was and why he came to this earth, and he used creative imagery to describe these things to his followers. 2. WHY: Understanding how Jesus works in our lives allows us to know him better and develop a deeper love for him. 3. HOW: Students will examine several of the I Am statements from the Gospel of John to see what Jesus meant when he declared that he was the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and the Good Shepherd, and they ll discuss the significance of these roles in their lives today. PRIMARY SCRIPTURES John 6:25-40; 8:12; and 10:10-15 SECONDARY SCRIPTURES John 14:1-7; 15:1-8 TEACHING PREP The short overview below is designed to help you prepare for your lesson. While you may not want to convey this information word-for-word with your teenagers, you ll definitely want to refer to it as you lead your lesson. Read John 6:25-40, John 8:12, and 10: Each of the images Jesus uses about himself holds a powerful truth that helps us discover who he is and what he came to do. We usually don t offer multiple passages for the Primary Scripture in a lesson, but this week we do they re relatively short passages, and each batch of verses is important for discussing these three I Am statements from Jesus. When Jesus described himself as the Bread of Life, he was emphasizing his role as the one who nourishes our souls. God wants us to hunger and thirst for him. Just like physical hunger and thirst, we are satisfied yet then we want more. As the Light of the World, Jesus brings illumination into a darkened world. He exposes and reveals sin; he also guides us along our journey of faith. And as the Good Shepherd, Jesus leads us, protects us, and provides for us just like an earthly shepherd cares for a flock of sheep. Jesus knows the pitfalls and dangers ahead, so he can help us safely navigate our path.

2 In this lesson s Additional Discussion section, we ve focused on two other I Am statements from Jesus. You may not have time to discuss these, but they can help your students gain additional insights into who Jesus is and how they can know him better. If you use the Getting Things Started opening discussion, you ll need a loaf of bread, a flashlight, and some wool.

3 THE LIFE OF JESUS: THE THINGS THAT HE SAID Week 2: Knowing Jesus Better 2. LESSON GUIDE GETTING THINGS STARTED [optional] Welcome your students and invite them into your meeting area. Open in prayer, and then jump into the discussion below: Bring in a loaf of bread, a flashlight, and some wool for this discussion. Pass the loaf of bread around the group, and then Do any of you know how bread is made? Have you ever seen it done? What is good about bread? Why is it an essential part of most people s diets? After a couple minutes of discussion, pass around the flashlight, and then When is a flashlight most useful? Why do most families keep one or two of these around the house? When did you last use a flashlight? How did it help you? After a couple minutes of discussion, pass around the wool, and then This wool comes from a sheep. What is the job of a shepherd? Why is a shepherd important to the safety, health, and well-being of sheep? After a couple minutes of discussion, SAY SOMETHING LIKE: In our last lesson, we discovered some important truths Jesus shared about leading lives of significance. Today, we re going to look at some other words Jesus spoke but this time, we ll discuss some things Jesus had to say about himself. We re going to look at three passages where Jesus shares statements that can help us know him better who he is, how he wants to interact with us, and how he wants to reach out to our hurting, broken world. If you came up with an opening activity, movie clip, or game that worked well with your group, and you d like to share it with other youth workers, please us at TEACHING POINTS The goal of the Teaching Points is to help students capture the essence of each lesson with more discussion and less lecture-style teaching. The main points we have chosen here are (1) Jesus is the Bread of Life, (2) Jesus is the Light of the World, and (3) Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Remember: All throughout these lessons, it s up to you to choose (1) how many questions you use, and (2) the wording of the main points keep ours, or change the wording to make it clearer for your audience. Read John 6:25-40, 8:12, and 10:10-15 together as a group. Consider allowing one or more of the teenagers to read the text. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Let s spend a few minutes looking at these images that Jesus uses to talk about himself images that hold some powerful truths about who he is and what he came to do.

4 1. Jesus is the Bread of Life Tell us about the last time you were really, really hungry so hungry you may have even said, I am starving! What was that experience like? What was it like to finally eat some food? Why do you think Jesus called himself the Bread of Life in John 6? What do you think Jesus meant when he said, Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again? How can you know if your friends are spiritually hungry? What do you think are some of the similarities and differences between physical hunger and spiritual hunger? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Jesus reminds us that there is more to life than just the physical the things we can touch and taste. Jesus wants to provide nourishment to our souls and satisfy our spiritual hunger and thirst that deep awareness of our need for meaning and purpose and identity that we can only find through Christ. 2. Jesus is the Light of the World Tell us about a time you experienced extreme darkness. What did it feel like? How could even just a little light have helped you? Why do you think Jesus called himself the Light of the World in John 8:12? What does that say about his role in our world? In this verse, Jesus said, If you follow me, you won t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. Does this mean that Christians will never be confused or have questions about their faith? Explain. SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Jesus shines his light of truth on this world, humanity, and God. When we re separated from God, we experience spiritual darkness. But Jesus is the one who brings light to our desperate situations. We may have questions along our spiritual journey, but Jesus is right there with us to shine the way. 3. Jesus is the Good Shepherd What is the basic role of a shepherd? What might happen to sheep without a shepherd? Why do you think Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd in John 10? Why might we as followers of Jesus need him to be our shepherd? What would that look like in our lives? What do you think Jesus meant when he said, I know my own sheep, and they know me? How do we develop an ear for Jesus voice? SAY SOMETHING LIKE: Sometimes it s hard to admit that we need someone to protect us, provide for us, and lead us but that s a role Jesus eagerly wants to play in our lives. He knows the pitfalls and dangers ahead, so he can help us navigate safely.

5 ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION [optional] How are these images helpful in knowing Jesus better? Which image or images do you find confusing or difficult to fully understand? Why? What other images might you use to describe Jesus? Read John 14:1-7. In verse 6, Jesus describes himself as the way, the truth, and the life. How have you experienced any or all of those three things in your life? How has Jesus been the way, the truth, and the life for you? Read John 15:1-8. In verses 1 and 5, Jesus describes himself as the vine. If he s the ultimate source of our spiritual nourishment and he is what are some ways you can remain connected to him? In verse 5, Jesus also says we will produce fruit if we remain connected to him. What kind of fruit do you think Jesus is talking about? How will other people know that you re connected to Jesus? APPLICATION What would it look like to rely on Jesus the way people rely on physical food? What might happen if we spent as much time hungering for Jesus as we hunger for food? What steps can you take to develop this kind of relationship with Jesus? How can you create a stronger spiritual hunger and thirst? How might you share Jesus, the Light of the World, with your friends and family members who are surrounded by darkness? What are some ways that you need Jesus to protect you, provide for you, or lead you like a shepherd? How can we pray for Jesus to do these things in your life? SUMMARY End your small group lesson here. Provide your teenagers with a quick summary or takehome challenge based on (1) the content of this lesson, (2) the dialogue that took place during the lesson, (3) your understanding of the issues and struggles your teenagers are facing, and (4) the big picture of your youth ministry and what your leadership team wants accomplished with the teaching and discussion time. FOR KEEPS [MEMORY VERSE] Encourage and/or challenge your teenagers to memorize the verse below. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep (John 10:11).

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