Into the Lesson
Have two sides of your assembly area clearly marked, “This Side” and “That Side.” As class begins, ask everyone to stand. Give these directions: ‘I want all the on “This Side” and all the on “That Side.”
Fill in an appropriate dinotomy, such as men/women, right-handed/left-handed, local sports team fans/fans of teams from their cities. If you like, you may perform this division two or three times rapidly, using different criteria each time. Then have students sit.
Say, “Many things divide us. But one matter must never divide us: who we consider Jesus to be.”
Have a student read John 6:40-43. Note – Today’s texts in John chapters 8 and 12 continue Jesus’ answer regarding questions of who He is. Remind the class of this quarter’s theme, “Jesus Christ: A Portrait of God” and remind them of Lesson 1, “Who Is Jesus Christ?”
Continue with an emphasis on the “I Am” theme of the Gospel of John. Say, ” John 1 is an affirmation of power and position.”
Ask students to affirm a position or role that each holds. Give them one personal example, such as, “I am the head of the class.” Encourage metaphors, to be coded by other members of the class.
Into the Word
Prepare in advance half sheets of paper with two blocks drawn vertically down the left side.
One block should feature one of the letters of the word darkness. On the right side of the paper make eight numbered lines with a “T/F” by each line. Give each student eight yellow peel-and-stick dots to resemble small suns, each large enough to cover a letter on the paper. (Such dots are available inexpensively at office supply stores.)
Say, “Read the text silently and then close your Bibles and books. We are going to have a true-false quiz on elements of today’s lesson.Your goal is to ‘dispel darkness’ with the Word of light. For each answer you get correct, you may cover one letter with a ‘sunlight’ dot.”
Read aloud each of the following statements. Allow time for students to mark their answers,and then give the answer and any explanation necessary. (1) Jesus calls himself the light of the world [True; 8:12]. (2) This is the first time in the Gospel of John that Jesus has been called “the light” [False; 1:5, 7-9]. (3) In the Pharisees’ legal system, a person could not testify on his own behalf [True; 8:13]. (4) Jesus affirms that the Pharisees had no idea where He came from [True; 8:14]. (5) Jewish law required four witnesses to testify to confirm a truth [False; 8:17]. (6) The Jewish leaders asked Jesus to bring in his mother as a witness [False; 8:19]. (7) No one was able to lay a hand on Jesus [True; 8:20]. (8) Seeing Jesus is the same as seeing God [True; 12:45]. (9) Jesus’ discussion with the Jewish leaders in John 8 took place in the temple [True; 8:20]. (10) Believing in God requires believing in Jesus, and vice versa [True; 12:44].
Introduce the assignment below using this book summary. Say, “In Ursula LeGuin’s fantasy The Tombs of Atuan, the hero, named Ged, rescues the princess, Atha, who has learned to love the darkness of the catacombs. There she has been made priestess of the dark powers. As Ged delivers her from the tombs, he assures her that she was not made for darkness but for light.”
Explain that Arha was taken as a young child to replace a dying princess, but as most children are, she was afraid of the dark. As she grew comfortable entering the dark world of tombs she became fascinated. She gained a sense of power over the darkness, even as it gained power over her. Arha’s name means “the eaten one.” Comment on those darkness first scares, then fascinates. then “eats alive.” Liken this same sequence to most people in our world who get swallowed up in darkness and need a light bearer to rescue them.
Close with a time of sharing. Ask students how they plan to change one habit in the week ahead to better reflect Jesus’ light.