In terms of continuity this Sunday School lesson comes after Easter. Take a moment and think of how the disciples feel. They have just seen the man they followed, the man they thought was going to rescue Israel go from everyone crying out “King of Kings,” to his brutal beating and crucifixion.
They are demoralized. There’s several different parts to this story, and this post is going to be amazingly long because of that.
Jesus forgives Peter
In the Old Testament Easter lesson we talk about Peter’s memories of Jesus, and his view of the Easter story. When Jesus is first resurrected Peter ecstatically runs to see Jesus. Being the impulsive person he is, he acts. But later when he’s had time to remember what he did, and how he denied Christ, he is sure Jesus wants nothing to do with him.
So, he falls back on what he knows. He goes fishing. Jesus comes to him and again he gets excited, but once the first emotions pass he again distances himself. It takes Jesus tracking him down and calling him out for Peter to get it through his head that he too is forgiven.
All too often we think, we’re the only one who can’t be forgiven. That’s certainly what Peter thought.
But Jesus just kept asking him “Do you love me?” And finally Peter got it, “Yes Lord I do.”
So, anytime you think you’ve screwed up so much you can’t go back. Remember this moment when Peter said, “Yes I will.”
As we studied this Princess pointed out Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Jesus, and Peter said he didn’t know Jesus three times. Coincidence? I think not (where is that from?).
Seeing is believing
There’s a lot of faith involved in believing the Bible. Culture is going against you, science insults you and says you are stupid if you believe, and let’s not forget academic disdain for the Bible. We’re not the first generation to run into doubts and questions. It took one day for someone to question the resurrection.
When Jesus talks to Thomas, he doesn’t tell Thomas he’s wrong to have questions. Actually he lets Thomas examine him and figure it out on his own. Having questions is not wrong. Not doing your due diligence to answer them is wrong (in my opinion).
The most epic history lesson ever, the Road to Ammaeus
There’s only a handful of post-resurrection appearances by Jesus. One of the very first ones is Jesus walking with a couple from Jerusalem to a nearby town. We don’t know anything about them beyond this one scene.
But they are given the most amazing Biblical history lesson anyone will ever get. Jesus went through the entire Old Testament and pointed it to Jesus. I attempted that (see the previous link), and it’s fascinating. I’m sure he found more things that point to him, but that’s what we focused on for our activity. While both of the above stories are important, my kids won’t see the relevance of them yet.
Road to Ammaeus activity
Before we started the entire lesson I gave each of the kids one of the passages from the story to study using the W’s. Just as reporters use this to find information, we can use this with our kids to give them a framework for lessons (I thought I’d already uploaded this one, but apparently, I haven’t yet, so someday soon I”ll write about how).
It was interesting what the kids drew out of the stories, and what interested them. Princess was intrigued by the similarities between their catching the fish this time and when Jesus called the disciples.
Superman did the best job of recounting all the facts, and he cracked me up with his naming of the story. But, he really didn’t have much to say.
Batman made me smile, I mean big huge grin as I listened to him sing his summary and watched him bounce up and down.
Bible study doesn’t always have to be super complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking 5 questions.
After we’d talked some more and read the story book we started our Road to Ammaeus activity. Jesus went through the entire Old Testament, but for the sake of kids’ attention span we chose only 10 pictures.
They went through and wrote down how each activity points to Jesus. My printer was running out of ink, so it’s a rather bland grayscale pictures today. The perfectionist in me wants to go back and reprint the pictures in color just to get prettier pictures, but that would be silly……
It took some thinking sometimes on some of the pictures (I’m adding captions when I publish it because apparently not everyone automatically recognizes the picture and says “Oh that’s when Abraham was told his descendant would bless the world”). But, it led to lots of good discussions about what is happening, which in my mind means it was a successful activity.