Key Question: U2.2 What would Jesus do? Can we live by the values of Jesus in the twenty-first century?
LO: I can express my own understanding of what Jesus would do in relation to a moral dilemma from the world today
Two parables about forgiveness: what do they mean?
In the Parable of the Two Debtors, Luke 7:36–50, Jesus teaches that we all need forgiveness, but those of us who need it most may be the most grateful!
In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Matthew 18:21–35, Jesus teaches that a thankful response to God’s generous forgiveness is to forgive others who do wrong to us.
Put the class into small groups and get them to make drama out of these parables, using a title such as ‘Forgiveness? But surely that’s impossible!
Nine scenarios to think about: what is forgiveness difficult? Why is it important?
• Team drama. Ask the class to dramatise some situations in which forgiveness is needed. The nine on page 9 are good examples, but note how sensitive this topic can be – a reason to tackle it, and take care, not a reason to avoid the topic!
• What is hard to forgive? When pupils have dramatized these and shown them to the class in groups, ask them all to analyse which of these things are hardest to forgive and why. Giving a ‘score out of ten’ may seem trite, but it requires pupils to make judgements and promotes good thinking.
• Make up your own example. Ask pupils in pairs to add a tenth or eleventh scenario of their own making. Each pair of pupils tries out their example on another pair, round the class. In each case, ask them ‘what would Jesus’ teaching be about this situation? If it was followed, what might happen?’ Keep emphasising the limitless forgiveness that he taught, and working on its implications.
Jesus forgives those who crucify him, Luke 23:34
• Teach children carefully about crucifixion. The Romans used this torturing punishment as a way of killing their enemies, and it was designed to terrify all who saw it. The victim – there were thousands – died slowly and in horrible pain, usually cursing and abusing those who nailed them up.
• Ask pupils to guess how Jesus might have reacted when he was crucified. One way Christians try to follow Jesus is by copying his example of love, even as he died. Another is by thanking God for coming to earth in Jesus to show God’s love is stronger than death.
• In a most remarkable response, Jesus prayed for the people who crucified him: ‘Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing.’ Ask the children what this shows about the kind of person he was: remarkably loving? Not a hypocrite? How would people at the cross have responded to hearing this prayer?
Unfortunately not the ones with chocolate chips.
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