Note to the parent or teacher: Here is a 45- to 60-minute lesson plan to supplement “The Parables of Jesus: The Prodigal Son.” (It can also be broken into two or more smaller sessions.) It goes with the lesson objectives:
Read Luke 15:1–2.
Discuss why the Pharisees complained about Jesus spending time with the tax collectors and sinners. Explain that the tax collectors were looked down upon because they collected taxes for the Roman Empire that was governing their land. The tax collectors also often collected more taxes than they were meant to and pocketed the excess, so it’s understandable that the tax collectors were disliked.
Perhaps the Pharisees felt that if Jesus was to be a good religious example that He should only spend time with good people. They might have felt that if He spent time with tax collectors and immoral people, that would poorly reflect on His character as well, and they didn’t want it to appear that a teacher of the Scriptures was an immoral person.
Discuss making friends with “sinners” as Jesus did and how that differs from being friends with them and taking part in their activities. For example, Jesus ate, drank, talked, and probably also laughed with them. He honored them with His friendship, and He used those opportunities to teach them about the love of God and the kingdom of heaven. But Jesus wasn’t taking part in things they might have been doing that were wrong, such as getting drunk or belittling someone or gossiping or stealing or anything that was hurtful to another. He won disciples through building these friendships. Ask your child if they can relate that to friendships they have made or could make.
Read “Jamie’s Friends.”
Discuss how the story “Jamie’s Friends” relates to the example Jesus set by being friendly to the tax collectors and sinners of His day. Bring out how Jamie didn’t have to join in doing the same things the other children did, just the same as Jesus didn’t need to be a swindler or immoral like the tax collectors and sinners He befriended in order to be their friend.
Ask the child how they could portray an example of what Jesus showed us to do in befriending these people.
A tip for this second half of the class: Since this second half is largely discussion points, you might consider breaking it up into two classes or with a pause in the middle for time to color the coloring page that goes with this class and/or assembling the 3D picture.
Examine the different aspects of the story from the point of view of the prodigal son.
Examine the different aspects of the story from the point of view of the older brother who had stayed on to work with his father.
Watch the “Video: The Parables of Jesus: The Prodigal Son.”
Examine the different aspects of the story from the point of view of the father.
Explore with the child ways they can apply aspects of either of the sons’ lives to their own life.
Listen to the audio, “Forgive and Forget” (song #12).
Read the following Bible verses that relate to humility and pride, and talk about how they relate to the parable Jesus told about the two sons.
Celebrate the inheritance that our heavenly Father has given you through Jesus: love, compassion, forgiveness, eternal life, and more. Pray a prayer of thanksgiving for all God has done for each of you! And if applicable, you can include praying to be able to forgive someone who you felt has wronged you.
Compiled by My Wonder Studio staff.
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