Lesson Developed by
Jesus' Preferential Option for the Poor
Tips to Prepare
- If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
- If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform
- If in person, collect every day items that one might accumulate (car keys, wallet, bags, house (doll house or Legos), clothing, etc) – you will need enough for each student to have at least 2 items.
- If virtual, ask the kids to collect some of these items from their home and have them available.
- Laptop or media device with “Pay It Forward” video (YouTube clip.)
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
Introduction for Leaders
- Begin with a check in with members
- Ask a group member to read the focal Scripture
- Open with prayer
Select the option that best suits your group’s needs:
Exercise Option 1:
- Tell the students that we’re going to play “Life,” and you’re giving them things that one might accumulate in life. They are required to hold onto these things for the duration of the game.
- Hand out things like car keys, a wallet, a laptop, a phone, a dollhouse if you have one on hand, etc.
- Each of the students’ hands has to be full of at least one, possibly two things; but leave out one person.
- Then, tell them that they are now tasked with one simple thing: tying their shoes. The one person whose hands are empty bends down to tie his shoes. (The point is that they can’t complete the task while holding all of the “things” we try to accumulate in life. What they’re holding are things that are not especially useful for the task at hand. And yet, they are so often our focus.)
Exercise Option 2:
Watch the video clip together. (YouTube clip)
Then, discuss: does this feel real to you? Why or why not?
Reflect Together on the Following Questions:
1. How does it feel to think about Jesus preferring one group of people over another?
2. Does this sound familiar, as we think about other stories we have talked about recently? (Hint: Mary’s story from two sessions prior.)
3. What do we think about the sermon on the plain? Is living a life like this even possible?
4. What does it mean to live life more simply? What might that look like in our context, and how might we still own things like computers and phones, without letting them own us?
Close the lesson in prayer (either the leader or a group member)