Lesson Developed by
Jill Olds and Victoria Crooks
Torture and Fear
- Bibles or copies of the scripture
- List of names of black/brown lives lost due to brutality and white supremacy in recent years
Setting the Atmosphere
- If in person, set the room with chairs or around a table for a small group conversation
- Consider centering the space with a lit candle (unscented for those with sensitivities), or with a simple symbol, such as a cross
- Consider having a ball or stuffed animal to throw around the circle, for the person speaking to hold when it is their turn
- If virtually, schedule in your preferred video platform
32They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
43Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50All of them deserted him and fled.
51A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, 52but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
53They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62Jesus said, “I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power,’
and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
63Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.
- Begin with a check in with members
- Open with prayer
- Read the scripture together
Select the option that best suits your group’s needs:
Exercise Option 1:
- Use this time to set up a space of trust with your youth.
- You may host a moment of silence for those who have lost their lives to violence.
- Light a candle, say a prayer, or whatever is comfortable as a ritual for you and your youth.
- Allow youth to raise questions and concerns, or not, as they are comfortable
Exercise Option 2:
We intentionally do not have a media clip in this lesson because we do not wish to add trauma to our youth’s psyches by showing someone being intentionally hurt. Instead, we recommend a reading of the names of the Black/brown victims who have been killed as a result of brutality and white supremacy in this country in recent years.
Reflect together on the following questions:
- What does it mean that Jesus scared in this story?
- What does it mean that Jesus was tortured and killed unjustly? Who does that remind you of in our culture today (ie, racially-driven murders)?
- What do you make of the disciples’ reactions to this? How might we have reacted?
- Close the lesson in prayer (either the leader or a group member)
- Or, consider utilizing a check-out exercise