Lesson 4: In Search of Jesus
Doctrine 4: We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united so that he is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.
Ready: Using a marker- “highlight” or underline any words or sentences in the reading that stand out to you, that catches your attention, or that brings up questions. Have this ready for group time. LINK: Read before Lesson 4: In Search of JESUS. Or PRINT out hard copies for your students- Lesson 4-Reading Handout
Group Prayer: Open your time together with Sentence Prayers that express your gratefulness for Christ’s work in your life. Often we walk through our days unaware of His presence and working in our lives.
Group Testimony: Have each person (as they feel comfortable) give a very short (just a few sentences-1 min max) testimony of one truth that Christ is revealing to them, or teaching them in their relationship with him and others.
Together, watch this video- William Booth’s Vision of the Lost as portrayed as a parable for his day- and certainly ours. Jesus is called “A Great Being” whose identity is revealed, as the One who “jumps into the Story Sea to rescue the lost.
- How does “William Booth’s Vision of the Lost” speak to you in the context of our world?
- What happens (or doesn’t happen) if we do not catch this vision?
GO! Lesson 4: In Search of Jesus
Who Jesus IS- becomes a central doctrine – of prime importance to unraveling our own identity as Christ-followers. We must each make our own personal decision about Christ’s Ultimate Identity; for it will not be our parents, our pastors (corps officers), or even the most well-intentioned friends whose lives are impacted by the conclusions made.
There are those that might question why this is even important. Really? Why are Christians so caught up in this lone historical figure from thousands of years ago? Jesus’ life, if looked at from a merely historical point of view, might appear to be little more than ordinary; he, notable for some philosophical teachings. Born into poor circumstances, living and growing up in an obscure village as a carpenter’s son, from all appearances his life should have passed without notice. In his whole life, he never traveled more than about 200 miles from his home town. He was loved, and hated-as the tide of popular religious opinion began to turn against him. There were those who stepped away, abandoning him. The ‘truths’ he taught were as hard to understand as to apply. And yet.
One closest to him betrays him with the most heartbreaking act…a greeting and a liar’s kiss. He is turned over to his enemies and was nailed to a wooden cross between two criminals. If not enough, those at the foot of the cross mock him, his executioners gambling for his clothes. After his death, his body is laid in a borrowed grave. The last act of pity. And yet…it’s not the end.
Two thousand years have washed over us since …and yet, he remains, arguably, the central figure of the whole human race. We must ask ourselves why. Why does it matter?
Jesus’ life matters because of who he was…AND IS. A first and only of his kind: God, in human form. These are the claims of the Old and New Testament and from Christ, of himself. (Examples are contained in your reading this week. Others include John 8:48-59; 10:36; 14:6). Jesus’ life matters because of HOW HE LIVED. While tempted and exposed to darkness, suffering, evil and spiritual forces, Jesus chose obedience. He lived a sinless life that becomes a template for the highest life we can choose to live. Every prophecy in the Old Testament and every teaching throughout his ministry reinforce both his identity, his motives and his mission. Christians look at his teachings and find an authority, the Truth, and a pattern for their own lives that cannot be found anywhere else.
There is an eternal essence to God’s plan which begins at mankind’s fall and is pulled into a trajectory hurling through history towards the Cross. God’s love of his children is at the very center of the narrative. Jesus’ birth-his coming. His living. His obedience. They all matter. But we cannot separate these from the crucial moments that brought about our salvation. This is where it gets personal. His death was in our place.
The Torah- those first books of the Old Testament- reveal our need for a Savior. God loves his people, and leads them, establishing a relationship and showing them his character of holiness and compassion. He set up a system in which they could understand this relational God who desires obedience and yet, who wants the very best for his people. The Old Testament is a history of YHWH who will not let his people go. The New Testament reveals the Savior prophesied of in the Old. We are left unable to stand before God because of his holy character, are separated by sin that ultimately leaves us spiritually dead.
Jesus’ death matters. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin that we could not. This is the ultimate sacrifice that takes the whole of the Old Testament concepts / visual examples about the shedding of blood covering sin and brings it all into focus. Restoration in our relationship with God is now possible. We must remember that this is never the result of ritual or symbols but of a covenant- of relationship.
His resurrection matters. When looking at the scope of his life and ministry, while each is important they pale when we see the “universe altering” exchange that was completed in the resurrection! This is this absolute miracle which gives each of us a new future, a new beginning in life. We look forward with new trust, hope, and boldness for our everyday lives. Peter 1:3 “Because Jesus was raised from the dead we’ve been given a brand new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven”.
OPTIONAL QUESTIONS: (For discussion, as posed by “Equipped for Battle”-see resources)
- In what ways is Christianity a relationship? In what ways is our faith religious?
- If a relationship to Jesus is the foundation of Christianity, what role might religious rites play in our most basic faith?
- Why does it matter if Jesus was “fully God and fully man”? What difference would it have made in he had been God only appearing to be human? -Or a good man claiming to be godly?
- How could we respond to a person who claims to believe in God, but sees him just as a prophet or teacher?
GROUP: Sing as a closing chorus:
Because He Lives
- God sent his son, they called him Jesus,
- He came to love, heal and forgive.
- He lived and died to buy my pardon,
- An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
- Because he lives
- I can face tomorrow
- Because he lives
- All fear is gone
- Because I know he holds the future
- And life is worth the living
- Just because he lives
Writer(s): Patrick Standfast, Jason Ingram, Bill Gaither, Arnthor Birgisson, Christian Karlsson, Gloria Gaither, Alceu Alvez Damico, Copyright: Murlyn Songs AB, Warner/Chappell Edicoes Musicais Ltda, Sony/ATV Timber Publishing, Open Hands Music. The Salvation Army CCLI# 1255607
FYI / CK IT OUT this week: (*OPTIONAL) Salvation Army Culture Editorial
“Where is the Street Corner today? Social Media-online ministries… let’s transform lives by whatever means are possible! We need a strong Christian presence. Be genuine. Be true. General Cox.
Boots on the Ground: ACTIVITY: “WALK THE BLOCK” As a group for the closing 15-20 minutes of your session together- – – “Walk the block”- where your group meets. Remembering “William Booth’s Vision of the Lost”, pray as you walk….with eyes fully open. Ask yourself: “Who are the lost in my neighborhood?” Pray for them. This may also be prayed in the neighborhoods of each student- THIS WEEK.
DOWNLOAD YOUR LESSON 4 POWERPOINT WITH LEADER’S NOTES, VIDEOS LINKED FROM INSIDE THE PRESENTATION: Doctrine 4 JESUS Presenter PPT
DOWNLOAD LESSON 4 IN HARDCOPY WITH LEADER’S AND STUDENTS HANDOUTS (if applicable). Doctrine 4 JESUS Leader Hardcopy Lesson
DOWNLOAD LESSON 4 READING AS A PDF: Lesson 4-Reading Handout