Scripture: Luke 23.
Memory Verse: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die” (John 3:16, CEV).
v Jesus suffered and died so that our souls can live forever.
v When we mess up, Jesus forgives us.
Welcome and Introductions:
Note: You will need the shepherds’ help with this workshop. Separate instructions for the shepherds are attached to the end of this lesson. You might want to copy them and mail them to the shepherds before the rotation begins. During the “story” portion of this workshop, your role will be to portray the criminals and the shepherds will lead the discussion. During the “Application” portion, you will lead the discussion.
Scripture/Bible Story (led by Shepherds):
1. Ask the children to find Luke 23 in their Bibles.
2. Read Luke 23:32-43, the focus of this workshop. Optionally, allow the older children to read a verse at a time.
3. Tell the children that they will now get to “meet” each of the criminals and hear their stories about meeting Jesus at “The Skull.”
4. The workshop leader enters dressed as the first criminal, the one who joins the leaders and soldiers in insulting Jesus. He is angry and bitter; his clothing is disheveled and grungy; he is ill mannered and ill tempered. Using the script at the end of this lesson as a guide, act out the first criminal’s story. When you are finished, simply exit the room to get into character for the second criminal’s story.
5. While you are changing, have the shepherds lead a discussion of the first criminal’s story. Some questions they might ask are listed in the “Shepherds’ Instructions” at the end of this lesson. Allow about 5 minutes for discussion.
6. The workshop leader enters dressed as the second criminal, the one who asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into power. He is penitent but hopeful; his clothing is neat and bright; he walks tall and with assurance. Using the script at the end of this lesson as a guide, act out the second criminal’s story. When you are finished, simply exit the room to change into yourself and prepare to lead the “Application” portion of the workshop.
7. While you are changing, have the shepherds lead a discussion of the second criminal’s story. Some questions they might ask are listed in the “Shepherds’ Instructions” at the end of this lesson. Allow about 5 minutes for discussion.
Application (led by Workshop Leader):
Call to Confession: the worship leader invites us to tell Jesus the mistakes we’ve made or the ways we have messed up.
Prayer of Confession: the congregation reads a prayer together telling Jesus the things we have done wrong.
Assurance of Forgiveness: the worship leader tells us that Jesus forgives us, no matter what.
The Peace: we are so glad that Jesus has forgiven us that we forgive each other also. We say “Peace be with you” and respond “And also with you.”
Hymn: we sing a verse from a hymn to celebrate Jesus’ power to forgive sins.
As you explain each part of worship, hold up the poster and tape it on the wall in the proper order.
Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/markers. Ask the children to draw or write about one thing that they would like to confess and ask forgiveness for. Then have them take a red marker or crayon and draw a big checkmark over it to show they are forgiven.
Prayer: Thank you God for sending your son to us. Thank you for forgiving us, no matter what. Help us to learn to feel sorry for our sins and to always come to you when we need to be forgiven. Amen.
Teacher preparation in advance:
1. Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Workshop Leaders Bible Study.
2. Gather two costumes: one for the unrepentant criminal and one for the repentant criminal. The unrepentant criminal should be kind of grungy and disheveled. The repentant criminal should be neater and brighter.
3. Make plenty of copies of the worship bulletin, enough for each child to have one.
4. Make a poster board for each section of the worship bulletin.
5. Give copies of the Shepherd Instructions to the shepherds and explain to them before the workshop time what you need them to do.
6. Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located. The bin with supplies is located in the locked cabinet of the puppet closet (far left section). The key for this cabinet hangs behind the banner in the hall outside the Holywood workshop.
v Criminal costumes
v Worship bulletins (attached). Alternatively, you might ask the office staff to make up a worship bulletin using the same format and pictures that we use on Sunday worship so the children will recognize it as a worship bulletin.
v Shepherd instructions (attached)
v Posterboard for each heading: Call to Confession, Prayer of Confession, Assurance of Forgiveness, The peace, Hymn.
· The “Confession” liturgy is from the Book of Common Worship (Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Church, 1991), pp. 52-57.
· The prayer of confession is adapted from a prayer in Sacraments and Seasons (Louisville, KY: Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, 2001), p. 70.
(Walks into the room kind of hunched over and looking back over his shoulders, suspiciously) This man, Jesus! Who does he think he is? I know who he is! He’s a no good liar! They say I’m a robber and a thief, but I’m telling you the truth. Jesus is nobody! He is not the Son of God and he is not the Messiah! If he was the Messiah, he would save himself and me too! The Messiah is supposed to be a king, but I heard that he never even stood up for himself! So why in the world would he stand up for me? What kind of a savior won’t even save himself from this awful punishment we’ve been given? (Stops to listen and looks nervously from side to side.) The soldiers are coming for me now. If I could run away I would. I once heard that Jesus healed a man who could not walk and forgave all of his sins! But I don’t believe it! If Jesus had the power to forgive, he would forgive me and break down these prison walls! What kind of a savior just stands by and lets the Romans do this to him and to me? I was trapped, I tell you! And if Jesus is the Messiah, he should be able to do something about it! (Turns suddenly and looks toward the door.) They’re here! I must go now! (Lowers his head and walks out the door.)
(Walks into the room calmly, head bowed. As he begins to speak, he is sad, but hopeful.) I have to tell you the truth. I am so sorry for what I did. The Scriptures say, “Do not steal.” And, oh, how I wish I had obeyed! Then I would not be here waiting for them to come and get me, waiting to face this terrible punishment. (Pauses.) Listen! I have something very important to say! There is another man here in this prison. Maybe you’ve heard of him. His name is Jesus and he is from Nazareth! (Begins to smile.) He is a great teacher and a healer. I once heard that he healed a man who could not walk. The man’s friends lowered him down through the roof and Jesus healed him! But, listen to this now! This is important! Jesus forgave his sins! He has forgiven the sins of many people! Some say he is the Messiah, the Son of God! And I believe them! Oh, I know you don’t have much reason to believe me! I’ve lied and cheated so many people, but you must believe me now! The other criminal and I, we deserve our punishment, but Jesus has done no wrong! It is too late for me to save myself here in this world, but . . . do you think? Is it possible? If I told my sins to Jesus, do you think he could forgive me? (Stops to listen and looks at the door, sadly.) They are coming now, and I have to face the consequences for my crimes. There is no hope for my body. I know I will die. But Jesus can save my soul! I’m going to ask him to forgive me! I know he can forgive me! And so I must go meet my Savior! (Leaves the room walking slowly and sadly, but with his head up.)
Leader: The proof of God’s amazing love is this: While we were sinners Christ died for us. Because we have faith in him, we dare to approach God with confidence. In faith and penitence, let us confess our sin before God and one another.
People: God of love, remember that you created us to be like you: creative, loving, and forgiving. Sometimes we mess up, though, and we don’t act loving and forgiving. Sometimes we let kids get picked on and picked last. Sometimes on the playground we use fists instead of words when we are frustrated. Sometimes in our choices about what to eat we put too much junk in our bodies. Sometimes in our choices about TV and music, we put too much junk in our minds. Forgive us, God, and help us be the loving, forgiving people you created us to be. Amen.
Leader: Hear the good news! The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, that we might be dead to sin, and alive to all that is good. I declare to you in the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven!
Leader: Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
People: And also with you.
(Worshippers say to each other, “Peace be with you” and answer, “And also with you.”)
Everyone: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be.
World without end! Amen! Amen!
During Good News today, the workshop leader will need to portray two characters: the repentant and unrepentant criminals that are crucified with Jesus. To help facilitate the workshop, we are asking you to introduce the “criminals” and lead the discussion after each criminal’s speech.
2. Ask the children to find Luke 23 in their Bibles. Everyone read from the CEV.
3. Read Luke 23:32-43, the focus of this workshop.
4. Tell the children that they will now get to “meet” each of the “criminals” and hear their stories about encountering Jesus at “The Skull.”
5. After the first criminal leaves the room, lead the children in a discussion about the criminal’s story. Allow no more than 5 minutes for this discussion. The following are some questions you might ask. But feel free to ask any other questions that you think might help the children talk about being repentant.
· Was this criminal ready to admit he had done anything wrong? (No, he insisted that he had not done anything wrong.)
· What did he seem to think about Jesus? (He made fun of Jesus; he didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God; he didn’t believe that Jesus had the power to forgive sins.)
· How did this man feel about Jesus? (He seemed to be angry at Jesus because Jesus would not defend himself against the Roman authorities. He seemed to think this meant Jesus was not the Messiah.)
· Do you think it is hard or easy to admit that you’ve done something wrong?
· Do you think you would feel better or worse after admitting that you had done something wrong?
6. After the second criminal leaves the room, lead the children in a discussion about the criminal’s story. Allow no more than 5 minutes for this discussion. The following are some questions you might ask. But feel free to ask any other questions that you think might help the children talk about being repentant.
· Why do you think this criminal was not as angry as the first one? (He was ready to admit he had done wrong. He believed Jesus could help him.)
· What did he seem to think about Jesus? (That he was the Messiah; that he had the power to forgive sins.)
· How did this man feel about Jesus? (He seemed sad about what was about to happen, but happy that he was finally going to meet Jesus and to have his sins forgiven.)
When the workshop leader returns he or she will facilitate the rest of the class.