This curriculum sample is taken from Deep Justice Journeys: 50 Activities to Move from Mission Trips to Missional Living co-authored by Kara Powell and Brad Griffin and released May 2009 through Youth Specialties. This activity is taken from the DURING section of the book, intended to be used with a group DURING your trip, perhaps as part of a daily debriefing time.
Big Idea: Jesus’ brand of heroism is different from today’s.
Begin your discussion by sharing about any heroes you had growing up and then ask: How about you? Who were some of your heroes when you were a kid?
Q: What about them seemed heroic to you at that age?
Q: Who are the heroes of our culture today?
Q: It’s been said that instead of heroes, we now have people who are famous. What’s the difference? Do you agree with this statement?
Q: What acts of heroism did you see today?
Q: Do you think the locals would describe our justice work here as heroic? Why or why not?
Q: In what ways are the locals we’ve come to know heroic?
Q: In what ways is Jesus heroic?
Explain: When Jesus showed up on earth in the first century, the Jewish people were looking for a hero. They had been under Roman oppression and were looking for a strong, military leader (think “Braveheart”) who would bring freedom from the Romans. Enter Jesus…
Jesus’ brand of heroism didn’t fit what the people were expecting. Let’s see how Jesus himself described his mission. At this point, read Luke 4:14-21.
Q: What words stand out to you from Jesus’ proclamation?
Q: What do these words about the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed tell you about Jesus’ brand of heroism?
Continue: To see how the people responded to Jesus’ words, let’s keep reading. At this point, read Luke 4:22-23.
Initially, people thought Jesus’ brand of heroism would be right up their alley-but within minutes, they realized Jesus was bowling on a different lane. At this point read Luke 4:24-29 and explain:
Jesus’ references to Elijah helping the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian would have infuriated his listeners because those two were non-Israelites. God had sent Elijah to spread God’s work outside immediate Israelite culture, and similarly, God was now sending Jesus to spread God’s kingdom beyond the immediate Jewish culture. Having heard about this expansion, how did the Jews in the synagogue respond?
Q: In what ways would it be good for God’s kingdom to be expanded here where we’re serving?
Q: What could we do tomorrow that would be heroic by Jesus’ standards of expanding the kingdom in these ways?
Q: When Jesus refused to be the kind of hero people were expecting, it nearly got him tossed off a cliff. What might following Jesus’ definition of heroism cost us? What might we gain?
Invite students to gather in pairs for a closing prayer time, praying that the Lord would help us embody Jesus-style heroism in expanding the kingdom in new territory tomorrow.
Learn more about the Deep Justice Journeys Curriculum and order a copy today!
Photo by Yingchou Han
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