The world is symbolized by darkness because so many do not know about Jesus.
We shine our lights by sharing God’s love to those around us… in the same way Jesus did when he was on the earth.
Use this lesson to remind students that their lives can help others see Jesus.
Enjoy the lesson!
– Nick Diliberto, Junior High Ministry
JUNIOR HIGH MINISTRY LESSON: SHINE YOUR LIGHT
Written by Mike Sheley
Bible: John 1:1-18
Bottom Line: Does your life help others see Jesus?
- Two iOS devices (iPod touch, iPhone, iPad)
- The Phose app (free download) https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phose/id1016054403?mt=8
- Optional: Two tv’s – Each has an HDMI cable connected to them and to a lightning to HDMI dongle connected to the iOS device.
OPENING GAME: PHOSE
Say: Today, we’re going to have a little competition.
We’re going to play a game that is very special because it was created by a junior high student with a little help from his Dad.
It resembles the gameplay of an old school Mario Brothers game.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Divide students into two teams.
Each team picks one student to be their Gamer – that person gets the iOS device.
If you are able to hook these devises up to tvs, the whole group will be able to watch as students play.
Have both players start at the same time.
See who can get the farthest within 5 minutes.
If they become too frustrated, or fail 5 times, they hand-off controls to another member of their team.
When the game is done, congratulate the winner.
Ask: What made this game challenging? Did it have anything to do with the darkness?
Like I said, this game was created by a junior high student.
He wanted a game that could be fun and connect with sharing your faith.
Let’s look at the part of the Bible that inspired this game.
Read John 1:1-5.
This may sound strange, and my explanation may confirm the strangeness, but the author – John – is pointing out here how Jesus was with God at Creation.
That means the stuff we read about at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1, Jesus was there.
Hold onto that thought, and let’s dig in a little more.
Read John 1:6-9.
How many of you in here have a cousin who is close in age to you?
Allow students to answer.
Would it be cool or strange if when you showed up to a party or at school, everyone said they knew you were coming because your cousin had told them about you? Would that be cool? Or strange?
Allow students to answer.
Well, that’s exactly what happened here with Jesus.
His cousin, named John, but not the same John who wrote this book – is getting everyone ready for Jesus.
John, the author, uses the metaphor of light many times to describe Jesus.
That’s where the game’s concept of light and darkness was inspired.
But think about how we use light.
If you have a flashlight, you can see where you are going when everything around you is dark.
If we are watching a play, concert, or starting lineup being announced, a spotlight shines on the person we are all supposed to be giving our attention to at the time.
John, Jesus’ cousin, not the author – is like the person running the spotlight.
He’s not trying to draw attention to himself.
He’s trying to point everyone’s attention on Jesus.
I know… this Bible stuff would be less confusing if the important people had a little more variety in their names.
Read John 1:10-13.
Now, in just four verses, the author John quickly describes the life and mission of Jesus.
Jesus was fully God, and yet, fully human on earth.
When he came, some people didn’t realize he was God and many people rejected him.
But for the people who recognized that he was God and accepted and followed him, he allowed to be adopted into God’s family, becoming sons and daughters of God.
Read John 1:14.
This verse summarizes how God made His home among people through Jesus.
It’s a little strange and hard to process.
But start by understanding or thinking about the fact that when Jesus lived here on earth, he showed us how God originally wanted us to live back when He made Adam in Genesis.
By watching how Jesus lives, we get a peek at what God is like and how He wants us to live.
Read John 1:15.
The author, John, is now describing what happened when Jesus showed up at a big event John had going on.
John, Jesus’ cousin, made sure everyone knew that Jesus was God-in-the-flesh.
Seriously. You should go home and read Matthew chapter 3.
It will only take you about 5 minutes to read, but it’s a crazy story of when Jesus shows up at this event with his cousin and gets baptized.
Read John 1:16-18.
John – the author – finishes this section by talking about how all the good we experience and have comes from God and how Jesus helps us see what God is like.
This is quite a way to start a book!
John, the author, was one of Jesus’ disciples or closest followers.
In fact, he had his brother James had a cool nickname: “The Sons of Thunder.”
Jesus also had a brother named James.
He’s the one who wrote the book of James in the Bible.
And once again, parents really needed to pick some different names to keep things from becoming so confusing.
Anyway, John was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, but even more significantly, he was one of the three disciples who seemed to have been the closest to Jesus.
After spending over three years following and learning from Jesus, he wrote this biography of Jesus to help others get to know the Son of God, the man John had devoted his life to following and sharing with others.
In some ways, this book was his spotlight.
John didn’t want anyone mistakenly focusing on him.
He even goes to great lengths not to use first-person pronouns or draw attention to himself as he retells the stories of what happened with Jesus.
He wants this book to be a spotlight.
He wrote it so that others could focus on, see and follow Jesus.
Jesus’ cousin, John, told others about Jesus so they would be ready to meet him.
Jesus’ disciple, also named John, wrote about Jesus so that others could get to know and follow him.
Even if your name isn’t John, there is a common challenge for you.
Because you are here today, you are learning more about Jesus and you are part of a group who wants to help people follow Jesus.
But what about you?
Let’s talk about that more in our small groups.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- Has anyone ever had a glow-in-the-dark toy/shirt/paint? Or has anyone done stuff like laser tag in black lights? What’s so cool about being in these dark environments?
- When you drive by a hospital, does that mean you know a lot about medicine and are a doctor? (Allow students to answer, then follow up with…) So, we need to understand that just because people drive by a lot of churches and even visit one sometimes, doesn’t mean they know much about Jesus or being a Christian. Have you ever thought about this that way before?
- What are some ways you could use your social media account(s) to put more attention on Jesus?
- If you are going to help others get to know Jesus, you probably should make sure you are spending time getting to know him first. What are some ways we can get to know more about Jesus?
- Do you have friends who are not Christians? Some of you here may not be Christians? What questions do we or might we need to help answer when non-Christians first hear about the real Jesus?
- Look back at John 1:10-13. The author very simply summarized Jesus in four verses. Can you share very simply, in a similar way, some of the things that you believe are most important for people to know about Jesus?
- Who do you need to help get to know Jesus this week?
Close in prayer.
Challenge each student to come up with the name of one person they will be praying for and finding a time this week to help get them ready to meet Jesus, like the two Johns did.
Written by Mike Sheley, who is the Middle School Pastor (5th-8th grade) at Mount Pleasant Christian Church in Greenwood, Indiana.
He’s been in full-time youth ministry over 17 years with most of that time focused on 5th-8th graders.
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