NBC Sunday School Manual For March 5, 2023 :Topic – PREVIEW FOR MARCH
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SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR YOUR PREPARATION
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL OUTLINE
Theme of the Month:
CALLED FROM THE MARGINS OF SOCIETY.
DATE: SUNDAY, 5TH MARCH, 2023.
PREVIEW FOR MARCH
The general theme for this month is “Called from the Margins of Society.” The theme highlights accounts when Jesus disregarded societal barriers and chose instead to reach people on the margins. Some of the key points we shall be discussing are:
● Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son.
● How Jesus emphasised the necessity of having childlike qualities in our relationship with God.
● Jesus’encounter with an outcast, a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.
● How Jesus healed a man possessed by a legion of demons in the Gospel of Mark.
BELOW ARE THE SUGGESTED TEACHING METHODS for the lessons. They can be used during the general opening or in the classes.
March 5 – Drama:
Two (2) class members should dramatise the prodigal son’s return and his father’s warm reception.
March 12 – Questions and Answers:
The moderator should carefully select one question under each sub-heading for discussion. There should be room for contributions.
March 19 – Drama:
Let two (2) class members briefly role-play the dialogue between Jesus and the Samaritan woman.
March 26 – Drama:
Let a class member dramatise the action of the healed man.
TOPIC: LOVE IN DIFFICULT TIMES.
“The Son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Luke 15:21
By the end of the lesson, class members should be able to:
● Discuss the importance of making right choices.
● State the different ways people waste resources today and the consequences.
● Affirm God’s readiness to forgive and restore those who genuinely come to Him in repentance.
Human beings naturally find it easy to love and care for those who show love and are obedient to them. The story of the prodigal son who lived an extravagant life and wasted his own part of his father’s inheritance is quite familiar. Having squandered all the resources, he began to suffer to a point that he had no food to eat. However, he resolved to go back to his father with a penitent heart. The father’s willingness to accept his son not as a servant as the son had purposed is truly a demonstration of love in difficult times. Similarly, God desires that sinners should come to Him in true repentance because He does not want anyone to be lost. Like the prodigal son in today’s lesson, no matter the wrong of a child or anyone; opportunity should be given for repentance, restitution and reintegration into the family or the body of Christ.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED…
A. AN INORDINATE REQUEST:
The story of the prodigal son or the lost son is the third parable in the chapter that focuses on something lost but was found. Jesus taught these parables in response to the criticism from some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law that Jesus welcomed sinners and ate with them (Luke 15:2). According to the parable, the younger son of a man demanded his own share of the father’s property. His request was undue because his father was still alive. Nevertheless, the father complied and did as the son had requested. The son sold his share of the property and relocated to a distant country, far away from home; there he squandered the money (v.13). Having wasted everything, he began to be in want because of the severe famine that broke out in the country. Eventually, he was hired as a keeper of pigs, a job that was not acceptable to Jews, because pigs are classified as unclean according to the Law of Moses (Deuteronomy 14:8). The hunger was so severe that he longed to feed on the pods the pigs were eating.
The importance of making right decisions cannot be over-emphasised. Usually, it leads to fulfillment, progress, peace and stability. The prodigal son thought he was wise and able to make choices for himself when actually he was foolish in his rebellion and selfishness. Perhaps he wanted freedom from the influence and ‘interference’ of his father and brother. Unfortunately, he lost everything and began to starve when a great famine arose in the land so much so that he accepted an employment that demeaned his family status in order to survive. His request in verse 12 shows that children can sometimes be moved by impulses and they want to experiment with some things without considering the consequences of their actions. Even today, some people waste God’s resources on things that are not valuable like drunkenness, elaborate ceremonies, expensive wears, buying unnecessary things perhaps to outshine other people or to meet up with the latest trend. Parents are duty-bound to guide their children to make good choices, especially because of their age and lack of experience.
1. Discuss some ways Christians behave like the prodigal son in today’s lesson.
2. Does the son really deserve the suffering he encountered?
B. THE DECISION TO RETURN HOME:
There is a common saying that ‘every experience in life teaches specific lessons either positive or negative. According to the passage, the young man later came to his senses, having suffered hunger and isolation, and resolved to go back to his father. He said to himself, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” (w. 17b-18). When he considered the gravity of his offence, and what he had suffered due to the choice he made, he proposed to go back to his father, not as a son but as one of his servants. He got up and went back to his father. The climax of the story is that the young man realised his mistakes and made the right decision despite the shameful and wasteful life he had lived. Unfortunately, not many people learn from their mistakes with the readiness to correct them by making better choices. Rather, they make their situation worse to a point of despair, frustration and suicidal thoughts. This young man decided to right his wrongs by going back to his father with the intention to confess his sins, plead for forgiveness and acceptance (vv. 17-19). This indeed was a step in the right direction. Christians should be humble and sincere enough to admit their wrongs, repent and ask for forgiveness, no matter the gravity of the offence. The beauty of it is that repentance heals wounds and makes reconciliation possible.
1. Why do some people find it difficult to admit their wrongs and plead for forgiveness?
2. Carefully examine the decision of the son in the passage and explain why it was the right thing to do at that time.
C. A HAPPY REUNION:
The decision of the prodigal son to return to his father was the best thing that ever happened to him. According to the passage, the reception was heartwarming. While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion (v. 20b). To prove his love and perhaps his long desire to see his lost son, he did three things:
● He ran to meet him from a distance.
● He embraced him.
● He kissed him affectionately.
Of course, these are indications that he had been longing moment of reunion with his lost son. The son on the other hand was repentant and sought for forgiveness from his father (v. 21). As he earlier proposed (v. 18), he said to his father, “I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son” (v. 21b). His father who was already full of excitement for the opportunity to reunite with his son instructed his servants to decorate him with the best robe, a ring on his finger, and shoes on his feet. Above all, they were to make a banquet because his son who was dead is now alive; and once lost but now found. Ordinarily, one would have concluded that the young man does not deserve such honour, but like Jesus said, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repents”. Thus, beyond the son’s expectations, the father was joyful as he was shown love, acceptance, and care. The passage clearly explains the compassionate nature of our heavenly Father who is ever ready to welcome anyone who genuinely comes to Him in repentance (1 John 1:9-10). God’s nature as seen in the text should encourage Christians to accept wholeheartedly those who have made mistakes but have repented genuinely.
1. What is the importance of family reunion?
2. Discuss some benefits of being reconciled to God after one has strayed.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity:
● Identify a particular family/parent either in your family, community or church who is worried about their prodigal child and pray for God’s intervention.
Take Home: State at least three main lessons you are taking home, based on today’s lesson:
Commitment: Express your commitment to always love even in difficult times.