Am I The Older Brother? A Free Lesson on Luke 15 | UMC YoungPeople
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September 2018

Am I The Older Brother? A Free Lesson on Luke 15

By Sam Halverson

Just because you know a passage well, like Luke 15, remember that your students will often be experiencing it through fresh eyes. As you lead students through this powerful passage, keep a sense of wonder about you!

Opening questions:

  • “Why did Jesus tell parables? What was the point?”
  • “Can some of you list off a couple of parables that Jesus told to people?”
  • “What are some of the lessons we learn from parables?”

The parable we are about to read is a commonly referenced and well-known parable, but for some of you this may be a new story! Whether this is the first time you are hearing this story or the 100th time, let’s try our best to read it with new eyes and hearts that are willing to receive what God might be trying to teach us today!

Have a one or a few volunteers read.

Read: Luke 15:11-32

Discussion Questions:

  • What is something that stuck out to you in this scripture?
  • List off some of the characters from this parable and tell us what you know about that person.
  • If Jesus told parables to teach us valuable lessons, what was Jesus trying to teach us through the characters in this story?

Usually this story is taught with the focus being on the Prodigal Son (The one who ran away), but let’s take a look at the older brother!

  • Why was the older brother so mad after his younger brother returned home?
  • What was the dad trying to get the oldest brother to realize when he went outside to talk to him?
  • In what ways does the older brother have a “me, myself, and I” mentality?

The older brother wanted everything to be about him, but the Father wanted him to realize that there was something bigger than himself happening and he wanted him to join in on the celebration!

  • When are specific times that we find ourselves acting like the older brother, wanting everything to be about us?

Read: Luke 15: 1-2

  • Jesus was telling this story in front of the tax collectors and sinners who had come to hear him, and Pharisees stood nearby and mocked Jesus for communing with those people. In the story who represented the Pharisees? How?
  • Why does following Jesus mean that everything is not about us?

Closing Prayer
During our closing prayer each student is going to get a piece of paper and a pen, the challenge is for the students is to write down prayer request as they are shared and to find times to pray for those prayer request throughout the week to show that everything is not about us, it’s about serving others.

Sam Halverson has served as a youth minister in the local church for over 35 years. He is an ordained United Methodist elder currently serving as Associate Director of the Office for Congregational Excellence for the North Georgia Conference, directing and resourcing youth ministries for the conference. Sam is author of three books for youth ministry; the most recent is One Body: Integrating Teenagers Into the Life of Your Church (The Youth Cartel). Sam and his wife, recent empty nesters, live in Canton, Georgia.