[As this lessons begins, remind participants that everyone will be in a different place spiritually; therefore, as discussion is shared, encourage them to offer each other mercy and grace; especially during vulnerable moments or times of weakness. Our goal is never to fix anyone, but instead to listen and offer support when needed. Personal discussion, unless otherwise noted, should always remain confidential.]
Scripture: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be SAVED (John 3:17 KJV).
Lesson: Begin the lesson by sharing a brief history of the 1st century Jewish culture.
*It was required of Jewish fathers to teach their sons their trade at age 12.
*Joseph was a carpenter; therefore, because of Jewish customs, it can be rightfully assumed that he taught Jesus this particular trade when he became 12 years-old.
Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary…(Matthew 13:55)?
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary…(Mark 6:3 KJV)?
*Refer back to the original Scripture; John 3:17, and focus on the word “saved”.
*Explain that the word saved is translated from the Greek word sozo, meaning, to make whole, protect, or preserve (Strong’s Concordance G4982).
*Jesus came to make us whole, which begins through salvation; accepting Jesus as Lord of our life. If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NLT).
*Have a tub of toy bricks (Lincoln logs or Legos work great too) on the table, and begin building a house. Leave an opening for a door, and maybe use a piece of cardboard for the roof. Be creative. This will be used as a visual as you teach.
*Consider a broken house and the process that is required to fix it. Sometimes the old things have to be torn away before the new things can be added. Consider a house with broken windows. Explain that a broken window has to be removed before a new window can take its place. There may even be times when much deeper things need fixed like faulty electrical wiring or damaged plumbing. This process takes time.
*Just as Jesus used bricks and wood to fix broken houses, He desires to make us whole by using love to fix our broken souls.
*Spiritual healing is a process too. Often, we need healing that goes far beyond a fresh coat of paint on a dingy colored wall. Sometimes our brokenness, or unhealthy habits, fears, or believed lies, rest underneath the surface similar to the faulty electrical wiring or damaged plumbing inside a broken house.
*But Jesus is ready to be the carpenter of your soul. Will you let Him make you whole?
Additional Scriptures: In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation (1 Peter 5:10 NLT).
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again (Psalm 71:20-21 NLT).
Take Away: If Jesus cared so much about building with brick and wood, how much more does He care about building and restoring our soul?
Activity: Prepare several different colored and sized hearts in advance, but tear the hearts into many pieces. Give each participant a blank piece of construction paper and either a glue stick or a roll of tape, whichever is preferred. Instruct each person to piece the heart back together onto the construction paper. Ask them to then write, on the heart or paper, ways in which Jesus can heal them. They can share if desired, but they certainly don’t have to. Explain that piecing a broken heart together, or the mending of a broken soul, is a process that takes time. Mention that just as each heart that was pieced back together is a different color and size, the healing process is also a different and unique journey for everyone.
Goal: Encourage participants to begin praying for healing this week. Encourage them to talk with Jesus about what was written on their heart they pieced together during activity time. Remind them that healing is a process, and the first step in the healing process is spending time with our heavenly Father.