In this week’s Gospel passage, Jesus delivers a series of difficult teachings about being a disciple. Much like the parables of the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price, the cost of being a disciple, though it may be steep, is far outweighed by the value of eternal life. In this lesson, students will explore the cost and value of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and consider what stumbling blocks stand in the way of their own relationship with Jesus and what ways they can be better disciples of Jesus during this new school year.
Activity I, Gospel Passage
Directions: Read the Gospel passage aloud to your students as they follow along. Then discuss the focus and reflection questions with them as a class.
1. What does Jesus say about being His disciple? One must hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life in order to be Jesus’ disciple.
2. What does Jesus say about carrying one’s own cross? Whoever does not carry his own cross and follow Jesus cannot be His disciple.
3. What does Jesus teach that a person who wants to build a tower must do first? Why? They must sit down and calculate the cost to see if they have enough to build it. If they do not do this, and begin building but run out of money, they will be laughed at.
4. What does Jesus say a king marching into battle should do? Sit down and decide whether he can win the battle with the number of troops he has.
Activity II, How Much Would You Pay?
B. Read aloud to your students from “How Much Would You Pay?”, and then have them complete the activity. C. Review and discuss the answers together when they have completed the activity.
“How Much Would You Pay?” Focus and Reflection Questions:
1. In the parable what does the person do to keep the treasure he found? He sells all that he has. He does this joyfully because the treasure and the pearl are worth more to him than all of his possessions.
2. Jesus says the Kingdom of Heaven is like buried treasure. How do you find buried treasure? Accept reasoned answers. You have to search for it. Sometimes you follow a map that leads to the treasure.
3. Of all the things you own, which is your favorite? Would you give this thing up? Draw it in the box below Accept reasoned answers.
Activity I, Gospel Passage
Directions: Have students read the Gospel passage, or read it aloud to your students, and then answer the focus questions. You may have students answer them on their own or you may discuss them together as a class.
1. What difficult teaching does Jesus first give the crowd about being His disciple? One must hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life in order to be His disciple.
2. Words can have layers of meaning. We most commonly use the term “hate” today to mean extreme dislike to the point of desiring harm to someone. Do you think Jesus means that discipleship means we must “hate” our family members in this way? Explain. No. He means we must have our priorities in order, and be willing to lose others and even give up our own lives for the sake of our relationship with Jesus.
3. What does Jesus say about carrying one’s own cross? Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Him cannot be His disciple.
4. What does Jesus teach that a person who wants to build a tower must do first? What does He say would happen to that person if he did not do this? They must sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for completion. If a person does not do this, and begins building but runs out of money, he will be laughed out because he did not plan accordingly.
5. What does Jesus say a king marching into battle should do? First, sit down and decide whether he can oppose the enemy’s troops with the number of troops he has.
6. What does Jesus say a king would do if he determines he cannot defeat his enemy? Send a delegation and ask for peace.
Activity II, How Much Would You Pay?
Directions: Have your students read and complete the “How Much Would You Pay?” activity. Review and discuss the answers together when they have completed the activity.
Parable Focus and Reflection Questions:
1. In the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, what does the person do in order to gain the treasure and the pearl? Why do you think the person does this? He sells all that he has. The person does this (joyfully) because the treasure and the pearl are worth more than all of his possessions. Therefore, it makes sense for him to sell all he has for the greater value of the treasure and the pearl.
2. What question does the rich official ask Jesus? Do you think the official should be asking Jesus this question? Why or why not? Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Help students understand that this is a perfectly valid question to ask Jesus, in fact, it is a very good question to ask. We should all ask the same question: “how to do I get to Heaven?”
3. What does Jesus first tell the rich official to do? How does the official respond? Follow the commandments. He tells Jesus he has been following the commandments since he was a child.
4. What is the second thing Jesus tells the rich official to do? How does the official respond? Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor…Then come, follow me. The official is sad because he was very rich.
5. How is Jesus’ second command to the rich official similar to the parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price? In all three, Jesus makes the point that the value of the Kingdom of God, of being His disciple, is greater than all of a person’s possessions.
6. What does Jesus teach about a “rich person” entering the Kingdom of God? He says that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.
7. How, then, is it possible for anyone to be saved? By the power of God, with whom anything is possible.
8. What does Jesus say will be the reward for anyone who gives up or sacrifices their “house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God”? An overabundant return in this age and eternal life in the age to come.
1. How are you “rich”? In other words, what has God blessed you with? What possessions, talents, or relationships are the most valuable to you? Why?
2. What is one thing in your life that is a stumbling block in your relationship with God? Why? How can you “give this away”?
3. What are two specific ways this school year that you can become more of a disciple of Jesus Christ and seek the Kingdom of God in your life?