The parable of the two sons and the vineyard - Matthew 21:23-32 Self-righteousness, Obedience and the importance of recognizing our need for Jesus.
Give the kids some background to the Parable:
Start by introducing the parable of the 2 sons and its context (Matthew 21:23-32). Discuss the characters and the vineyard setting. Ask the kids why they think Jesus used parables to teach important lessons.
Consider using use props, visual aids, or even act out the story with the help of the students. Make sure to emphasize the contrast between the two sons' actions.
Discuss Obedience and Repentance:
After telling the parable, lead a discussion about the behavior of the two sons. Here’s some ideas:
Why did the first son initially refuse to obey but later changed his mind?
Why did the second son agree to obey but didn't follow through?
What do these actions teach us about repentance and obedience?
Note: Highlight the idea that people who think they are righteous and have it all together don’t need God or his forgiveness. It is those who know they are broken and in need that reach out to Jesus for forgiveness and healing.
(for some of the more mature children) Divide the kids into small groups and assign each group one of the two sons. Ask them to create short skits or role-plays that illustrate the actions and attitudes of their assigned son. Encourage them to reflect on the importance of both initial intentions and follow-through.
Application of the Parable:
Discuss how this parable relates to our own lives at home, at church or at school. Talk about situations where we might say we will do something but don't follow through, and vice versa. Encourage students to think about how they can be more obedient and repentant in their daily lives.
Bible Journaling and Art:
Provide art supplies and encourage students to create journal entries or artwork that represents the parable's message. This creative exercise can help them internalize the lesson in a personal way.
Challenge them to memorize key verses in this passage:
Choose a key verse from this passage (e.g., Matthew 21:31b) and have the students memorize it. Discuss the verse's meaning and how it ties into the parable.
Create a simple craft activity where the children ccan make "repentance and obedience reminder cards" to take home. These cards can feature key verses or a brief summary of the parable.
Guest Speaker or Testimony from someone in the congregation (use a teen or someone they look up to:
Invite a guest speaker or share a personal testimony of someone who experienced a transformation through repentance and faith. This real-life example can emphasize the power of God's grace.
Final Closing Prayer and Reflection:
Conclude the lesson with a prayer, asking for God's guidance in living a life of true repentance and obedience. Encourage the kids to reflect on what they've learned and how they can apply it during the upcoming week.