LIVING FOR JESUS AT HOME
Scripture: Genesis 37:1–36; 41:37–57; 45:1–15; Luke 2:41–52; John 19:25–27; Ephesians 6:1–3
Memory verse: Colossians 3:20
"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."
(Stress that Christians are Jesus’ representatives to those around them.) Our behaviour toward family members can help them decide they want Jesus because of our kind and considerate actions. This week the students will learn how they can live for Jesus at home.
Right Actions Drama: Before class, list examples of family members such as mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, grandfather, etc., on individual slips of paper. Repeat these listings as needed so there will be one slip for each student.
Place all the slips into a hat, small box, or similar container, and choose a volunteer to draw one of the slips and in drama demonstrate a way he or she can show love and respect toward the family member written on the paper. The rest of the students must try to guess what action the student is doing and to whom the action of love or honour is directed. For example, he can pretend he is ironing clothes or preparing a meal. Once they determine what the action is, the other students then guess which family member is benefiting. The first to do so can be the next to give a drama. Make sure everyone who wants to participate gets a chance to play the game.
Hearing God’s Word
When God created the universe, He had a plan for families. Things were perfect for the first family. But God’s plan for family life was spoiled by sin. In fact, the very first murder happened within a family.
Ask: “Who did the first murder involve?” (Allow responses.)
Because Cain killed his brother Abel, he spent the remainder of his life separated from his family, a wanderer.
The Bible also tells of another family that was affected by quarrelling and hatred. In Jacob’s family 10 sons had a hard time liking their brother Joseph. In fact, they became so jealous of Joseph, they threw him into an empty pit and later sold him as a slave. Then they lied and told their father that Joseph had apparently been eaten by a wild animal. Jealousy, lying, mean, and hurtful—this was far from a perfect family life, was it not?
In each of these biblical examples, we can see how hate separates and causes sadness. But love unites. Joseph had a different attitude toward his brothers. Even though they treated him terribly, he still loved them and forgave them. How did Joseph later treat the same brothers who sold him as a slave? (Ask a student to read Genesis 45:4,5.) Joseph’s love for his undeserving brothers united the family once again. When love and respect are present in a home, peace and happiness can serve as a witness to others.
Jesus Goes to Jerusalem
A good example of how to treat our family members comes from Jesus’ early life here on earth. Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Jerusalem when He was 12 years old. They were travelling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast. This was a time of rejoicing. Everyone was probably very excited about making the trip. When it was time to return home after the feast, Jesus somehow got separated from His family. Mary and Joseph didn’t worry about it at first. They assumed Jesus was travelling back with some of His friends or relatives in the caravan. They travelled a whole day before they realized Jesus was nowhere to be found. They searched everywhere, but Jesus was not there.
Ask: “How do you think Mary and Joseph must have felt as they headed back for Jerusalem? (Allow responses.)
Jerusalem was a big city, and Jesus was all alone. They were worried. Finally, after three days, they found Him in the temple. What was He doing there? (Ask a student to read Luke2:46-47.)
How relieved Mary and Joseph must have been! “Son, why have you worried us so?” Mary asked. “We have been frantic.”
What did Jesus answer? (Ask a student to read Luke 2:49.) Jesus wasn’t being sarcastic with His mother. His tone of voice was probably very gentle as He said those words. Jesus must have known it was time for His parents to remember and understand that He really did have His Heavenly Father’s work to do. Mary and Joseph knew who Jesus was, but it must have been hard to understand sometimes.
Jesus Responds to Authority
Jesus could have said, “Now look, you don’t understand. I know what is best so I will do things my way.” But Jesus put himself under the authority of His earthly parents. It’s true He understood more about His purpose than they did. Yet He willingly went home and worked with His father as a carpenter’s helper. Jesus was obedient.
The Bible gives some clear directions to children on the subject of obedience. (Ask a student to read Ephesians 6:1-3.)
Our memory verse this week points out another good reason for obeying our parents.
Should children obey their parents only while they are growing up? We may not need to obey our parents after we are grown, but we certainly need to respect and honour them all of our lives. Let’s look at Jesus’ life. As Jesus hung on the cross, He looked down and saw His sorrowful mother (Read John 19:25-27.) We believe Joseph was dead by this time. As the oldest son, Jesus had the responsibility to care for His mother. Knowing that she would need help, Jesus gave this responsibility to His disciple John. Even when He was grown, Jesus wanted to help His mother.
God’s Plan for Families
God has a plan for all families. We could call it the ABC’s of family living. The “A” is that ALL members should know and serve God. When each member loves God and wants to honour Him, he will be careful to do things that are pleasing to Him. This includes treating family members with love and kindness.
The “B” in God’s plan is that each family member BE willing to take his place in God’s order for the family. God is in authority over everything. Next come the father and mother. As parents, the father and mother have authority over the children. God is first, then parents, then children. The “C” in God’s plan is that family members should CARE for each other. (Ask a student to read 1 John 3:18.) Families should show this kind of love to one another.
Ask: “What are some ways you can show love at home?” (Discuss. Direct your students to think about performing needed tasks and being honest and truthful.)
It is important for young people to obey their parents. God told us this in His Word. Christian parents may sometimes make mistakes. After all, none of us is perfect. However, this does not give youth the right to disobey. When youth disobey their parents, they are actually disobeying God.
Note: Because some students may come from non-Christian homes, it is important to explain that obedience does not include doing what is wrong, such as when a parent wants a child to lie for him, do immoral things with him, or severely injures him.
The Key to Right Relationships
The key to having the right relationships with our family members is having the right relationship with God. When our relationship with God is right, our relationships with those in our homes will improve as well. But when the relationship is not right between us and God, it cannot be right between us and our families. Getting our hearts right with God will bring about right relationships in our family.
Relationships are seldom as simple as A, B, C, but when each family member follows God’s plan, our homes will be witnesses of Jesus to others. An old proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” This is true in families. No matter what we may say to others, our true characters show up in our actions. What can others tell about you by the way you treat your family members?
Accepting God’s Word
Remind the students that Jesus is our example in showing love and respect toward others. He loved us before we loved Him. Encourage the students to accept Jesus as their Saviour. This is the first step we must take if we are to receive the desire and strength we need to be loving and obedient toward others.
Pray individually with each student who responds to your invitation to accept Jesus.
Anxious to Learn
Later, I made a second visit to the Beja homeland and noticed many changes. The Beja language is called Bidhawyeet, pronounced “Bid-ha-wiet.” The Beja language is written with the Roman alphabet in Eritrea but uses Arabic characters in Sudan. The youth are very eager for education. The government is preparing a number of Beja textbooks and will soon launch Beja classes in four new elementary schools.
A Beja village two kilometres west of Teseney, Eritrea, received us for a brief visit. It is the first of several Beja villages along the north side of the Gash River Reservoir. About 5,000 Beja have left their nomadic lifestyle to become farmers and take advantage of irrigation opportunities. The village we visited (200 people) milked many cows and marketed it to residents in Teseney. Dairy cattle and camels both sell for about $250 each.
The only schools available to village children were in Teseney. The Beja see schooling as one of the main advantages of settling in one place. A Beja working in the administrator’s office said, “It is not good to just wander from place to place.”
REMEMBER TO PRAY
Pray for Beja Children
1. Adequate food and good health,
2. Protection from childhood diseases,
3. Opportunity to enrol in a school and learn of the world beyond Islam.
"If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us" (1 John 5:14).
Study 3 | Jesus is Worthy/Witnessing | africaatts.org/go-teach