Joy: The Flip Side of Justice - Week 3 | UMC YoungPeople
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August 2019

Joy: The Flip Side of Justice - Week 3

Week 3 - August 25
Jeremiah 1:4-10, Luke 13:10-17

Note to the Teacher

The key emphasis this week (for this lesson from Jeremiah 1 and Luke 10) is that God calls people to be messengers of agents and justice, and that ultimately Jesus chose people above rules or the law. The Ice Breaker invites youth to think about those in pop culture who may help bring them joy. The Discussion encourages students to remember that God calls people to be messengers of justice, and that sometimes that means discerning when systems and structures may be restrictive of fair treatment. The Activity allows youth to work in groups to think about what rules or laws they would change that they feel would help God’s love and justice to best be known in the world.

Times are based on a 50-minute lesson period, but can be adjusted.

Time Description of Activity

10 min. 1. Ice Breaker – What Celebrity Am I?

SUPPLIES – A sheet of paper and marker for each student, plus a roll of tape for the class to share.

We are focusing in our lesson this week upon the God who brings us joy as well as justice, but each of us also likely finds (at least some!) joy in things like television, movies, and music.

Ask each student to think of a well-known celebrity who helps to brings them joy and to write the name of that celebrity down on their sheet of paper in large writing. They should write this privately so no one else can see the name they have written.

Then have all students stand up, get a small piece of tape (good idea to hand these out during the activity or have the pieces ready ahead of time), and tape their sheet of paper to the back of another student, so everyone has a mystery celebrity name on their back.

The students are then to walk around asking one another “Yes or No” questions (Is it a singer? Are they in action movies? etc.) to try to figure out who their celebrity is. Have them keep going until every student has figured out their celebrity name.

5 min. 2. Read Scripture

Our Scripture reading today will focus on Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Luke 13:10-17. Jeremiah 1 features the call of the prophet Jeremiah. Luke 13 is the story of Jesus healing a woman on the Sabbath.

Read Jeremiah 1:4-10

Read Luke 13:10-17

15 min. 3. Discussion

From Jeremiah 1:4-10

  • What does verse 5 say was God’s plan for Jeremiah’s life?
  • How in verse 6 does Jeremiah seem to feel about God’s plan for him?
  • Verse 7 says Jeremiah must “go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you” – when you think of the Old Testament prophets what kind of messages did God usually have for the people?
  • How easy or difficult do you think it was to be an Old Testament prophet?
  • Where did the prophets’ strength and confidence come from to deliver these tough messages?

From Luke 13:10-17

  • How would you respond if you had been there and had seen Jesus heal someone who had been sick or injured for many years?
  • Why were the synagogue leaders upset that Jesus had healed this woman?
  • What is the Sabbath and why was it important to Jewish leaders?
  • In verses 15 and 16 what does Jesus call the leaders? Why does he call them this?
  • What is the overall point of this story? (Jesus valued healing people over following the letter of the law which sometimes prevented caring for people, especially when the laws were not truly being followed by those who enforced them)

20 Min. 4. Activity and Discussion – You Make the Rules!

Take this lesson to the next level by getting students thinking about what laws or rules they would want to change in modern society that would help bring about justice and fair treatment for God’s children with this activity from the Youth Worker Collective.

SUPPLIES – You will need a large piece of paper for each group and markers for this group activity.

Tell the group: In Luke 13 we saw that the synagogue leaders in charge of keeping the law unfortunately were doing so in ways that were hypocritical and even sometimes prevented people for being cared for, and justice was not being done. Imagine that you all have been given the opportunity to change several laws or rules toward the goal of better offering God’s love and justice for the people of the world. These changes can be made at the national, local or even in your local school level.

Get a large piece of paper and markers and take 5 minutes to get into small groups where you can brainstorm and write down what rules or laws you would like to see changed. After 5 minutes of listing ideas then each small group needs to spend another 5 minutes to decide and write down what the top two rules or laws they would want to change are, and what the new rule or law would instead be.

After 10 minutes has passed ask each group to share their ideas for new rules or laws to better enact godly justice with the group and allow the group to ask any follow-up questions.

Two final questions after all ideas have been shared: How do you think God would feel if these new laws you had suggested were put into place? How do you think that the people of the world would be impacted if these changes were made?

Final reminder: Remind students that throughout the Bible God uses ordinary people (such as Jeremiah this week) to be God’s messengers, and even when unpopular to help bring about the changes God wants for the world. Maybe God is calling someone in the group to begin work toward making some of the changes the group just discussed . . .

Close in the manner that is typical for you. Consider taking joys/concerns from the students, then asking for a volunteer to close in prayer.

50 min


  • A sheet of paper and marker for each student, plus a roll of tape for the class to share.
  • Large sheet of butcher/flipchart paper for each group
  • Markers or crayons to write on the paper

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