Exploring the Tabernacle | UMC YoungPeople
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November 2018

Exploring the Tabernacle

By Neal Bowes

A greater appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus can be gained through a deeper understanding of the tabernacle and what happened there. This activity is a fantastic way to empower students to explore the tabernacle both through video and their own artistic expression.

Take turns reading the description of the tabernacle in Exodus 25-27, and the overview of the sacrifice ritual in Leviticus 16. Then, go online to find a visual representation of the tabernacle. You can find some videos here:

Collect some craft supplies such as felt, construction paper, popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, modeling clay, yarn, scissors, and glue. Give the group time to work together to construct a model of the tabernacle.

Talk with your group about how important the atonement rituals were. Sinfulness has a penalty. Rather than the people having to bear the cost of their sins, God gracefully allowed the animals to be substituted for the penalty. It was not an easy process. The tabernacle had to be constructed with great care. Then, it had to be taken down, packed up, moved, and set back up over the course of 40 years as the Israelites traveled from place to place in search of the Promised Land. The priests had to carry out the ceremonies with precision, and each family had to make their sacrifices every year, year after year. The rituals moved from the tabernacle to the temple after Jerusalem was settled, and they continued every year, year after year, for centuries.

Then, read Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28.

  • What connections do you see between the activities at the tabernacle and what Jesus did?
  • How is the sacrifice of Jesus different than all the other sacrifices?
  • Why can Jesus be a one-time sacrifice that covers all sins for all time?
  • What are some things that we could or should do in response to Jesus’s sacrifice?
Neal has had the privilege of being in ministry with the youth at Jesse Lee for the last 15 years. He also works through the New York Annual Conference to train and support volunteer youth workers in local churches. He loves speaking at youth gatherings--group retreats or conference-wide events. www.NealBowes.com