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This week’s resources are all about sacrifice and what greater example of sacrifice do we have than of Jesus who gave up His life for each and every one of us?

Our Music Resource will help us to think about what we need to thank Jesus for and our Picture Resource will help us to think how great that sacrifice was and how Jesus would have felt about the words that were being said about Him as He was nailed to the cross.

For our Action we have the opportunity to reflect on the journey that Jesus took to the cross by praying the Stations of the Cross. Through 14 images and pieces of scripture everyone will have their own opportunity to share their reflections on part of the painful journey that Jesus took to save us all from our sins.

The Video Resource reminds us of the sacrifice that we are called to make, even if if we give up an opportunity for success and glory.  We are all called to do the right thing no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

Finally, in our Scripture Resource we have the chance to reflect on the actions of Abraham who, when asked to sacrifice his only son, was willing to do what God had asked of him.

Throughout the week consider the things that you could sacrifice so that you can show more love to others and to strengthen your relationship with God.

Scripture Bank

If you would like to reflect on some more of the scriptures related to this topic then you can use some of the scripture references below.

Most of these are taken from Open Bible – you can use their Topical Bible Search facility to find lots more ideas! Just remember to change the Bible translation to ‘Good News Translation’ when you click on the link!

If you have found any pieces of scripture that you think link to our theme this week then please add them in the comments box below to share the Good News so that we can all enjoy them!

Romans 8: 18

Hebrews 13:16

Romans 12:1-2

John 15:12-14

John 3:16

Proverbs 21:3

Genesis 22:2

Philippians 2:4

Psalm 51:16-17

Hebrews 13:15

1 John 2:2

Ephesians 5:2

Acts 20:24

Psalm 54:6

Luke 22:42

John 10:7-17

Matthew 9:13

Galatians 2:20

Luke 9:24

Jonah 2:9

Ephesians 5:1-2

Luke 9:23

Mark 10:45

Acts 2:44-45

Click here for the Music Resource

This week’s song focuses on the great sacrifice that Jesus made for each one of us because He is our greatest friend who loves us.

Try to focus on the words and think about what they mean for us as we continue our journey throughout Lent.

Don’t forget to join in with the words and sing along too!

How does Jesus’ loving sacrifice of His life make you feel?

What would you like to say thank you to Jesus for?

Jesus gave His life to us as a sign of his great love. In what way can you give your life to others to show love?

Help us Jesus to appreciate the things that we have and the sacrifices that other people make for us.

Give us love in our hearts that is strong enough to help us to make sacrifices for people in need around us.

Amen.

Click here for the Picture Resource

Look carefully at this picture of Jesus on the cross. Read the scripture below to see how some of the people gathered around the cross, and crucified next to Jesus, treated him.

Jesus on the cross

(Matthew 27: 35-44)

They crucified him and then divided his clothes among them by throwing dice. After that they sat there and watched him. Above his head they put the written notice of the accusation against him: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then they crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.

People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! Save yourself if you are God’s Son! Come on down from the cross!”

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and the elders made fun of him: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Isn’t he the king of Israel? If he will come down off the cross now, we will believe in him! He trusts in God and claims to be God’s Son. Well, then, let us see if God wants to save him now!”

Even the bandits who had been crucified with him insulted him in the same way.

(Luke 23: 39-43)

One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

Making a sacrifice may mean that we experience some embarrassment or are persecuted by the words of others.

When Jesus was crucified he was placed beside two robbers who were being punished for a crime that they committed. Jesus was innocent but he was treated like a criminal. How would you feel if you were accused of a crime you didn’t commit?

As people gathered around the cross they teased Jesus and jeered at Him. How do you think that felt?

Sharing our faith with others isn’t always easy because not everyone will treat us with respect.

Have you ever found it difficult to share your faith and your beliefs?

Take some time to think about what it must have been like for Jesus to hear the words of those around Him.

Turn to Jesus and ask Him for the same courage and determination that He showed when He gave up His life for each one of us.

Click here for the Action

During Lent when we are preparing ourselves for Easter we may pray the Stations of the Cross.

The Stations of the Cross reflect on the journey that Jesus took to the cross and break it down into 14 sections.

Sometimes this is done by quietly reflecting and praying, whilst using pictures as a focus, but this can also be done by acting out the stations and sharing our thoughts, prayers and reflections with others too.

Below you will find the 14 Stations of the Cross complete with pictures and scripture to accompany the images.

Your job is to split into small teams who will each prepare a reflection on one of the fourteen stations.

You could act out your station or you could use the picture to help you to describe what is happening and how Jesus, and the other people in our station, would have been feeling. You could even use a song or liturgical dance to express the scene in the station.

Try to use the scripture and prepare a prayer for the end of the station.

When everyone has prepared their station reflections gather together calmly and quietly to share in this time of prayer as you watch and reflect upon what each group has prepared.

Jesus condemned to deathStation 1: Jesus is condemned

Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me and said that he was misleading the people. Now, I have examined him here in your presence, and I have not found him guilty of any of the crimes you accuse him of. Nor did Herod find him guilty, for he sent him back to us. There is nothing this man has done to deserve death. So I will have him whipped and let him go.”

The whole crowd cried out, “Kill him! Set Barabbas free for us!” (Barabbas had been put in prison for a riot that had taken place in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he appealed to the crowd again. But they shouted back, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate said to them the third time, “But what crime has he committed? I cannot find anything he has done to deserve death! I will have him whipped and set him free.”

But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices that Jesus should be crucified, and finally their shouting succeeded. So Pilate passed the sentence on Jesus that they were asking for. He set free the man they wanted, the one who had been put in prison for riot and murder, and he handed Jesus over for them to do as they wished.

(Luke 23: 13-25)

Jesus receives the cross

 

Station 2: Jesus receives the cross

The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor’s palace and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on his head. Then they began to salute him: “Long live the King of the Jews!” They beat him over the head with a stick, spat on him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to him. When they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

(Mark 15: 16-20)

Jesus fallsStation 3: Jesus falls the first time

“But he endured the suffering that should have been ours,
    the pain that we should have borne.
All the while we thought that his suffering
    was punishment sent by God.
But because of our sins he was wounded,
    beaten because of the evil we did.
We are healed by the punishment he suffered,
    made whole by the blows he received.
All of us were like sheep that were lost,
    each of us going his own way.
But the Lord made the punishment fall on him,
    the punishment all of us deserved.

“He was treated harshly, but endured it humbly;
    he never said a word.
Like a lamb about to be slaughtered,
like a sheep about to be sheared,
    he never said a word.

(Isaiah 53: 4-7)

Jesus meets his mother

 

Station 4: Jesus meets his mother

Jesus saw his mother and the disciple he loved standing there; so he said to his mother, “He is your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “She is your mother.” From that time the disciple took her to live in his home.

(John 19: 26-27)

Simon

 

Station 5: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross

The soldiers led Jesus away, and as they were going, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon who was coming into the city from the country.

They seized him, put the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus.

(Luke 23: 26)

Station 6: Veronica wipes the face of JesusVeronica

It was the will of the Lord that his servant
    grow like a plant taking root in dry ground.
He had no dignity or beauty
    to make us take notice of him.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing that would draw us to him.
We despised him and rejected him;
    he endured suffering and pain.
No one would even look at him—
    we ignored him as if he were nothing.

(Isaiah 53: 2-3)

The King will reply, ‘I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’

(Matthew 25: 40)

Station 7: Jesus falls the second timesecond fall

I am bent over, I am crushed;
    I mourn all day long.
I am burning with fever
    and I am near death.
I am worn out and utterly crushed;
    my heart is troubled, and I groan with pain.

O Lord, you know what I long for;
    you hear all my groans.
My heart is pounding, my strength is gone,
    and my eyes have lost their brightness.
My friends and neighbors will not come near me,
    because of my sores;
    even my family keeps away from me.
Those who want to kill me lay traps for me,
    and those who want to hurt me threaten to ruin me;
    they never stop plotting against me.

(Psalm 38: 6-12)

The Lord said, “They are my people; they will not deceive me.” And so he saved them from all their suffering. It was not an angel, but the Lord himself who saved them. In his love and compassion he rescued them. He had always taken care of them in the past,

(Isaiah 63: 8-9)

Women of Jerusalem

 

Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

A large crowd of people followed him; among them were some women who were weeping and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Women of Jerusalem! Don’t cry for me, but for yourselves and your children. For the days are coming when people will say, ‘How lucky are the women who never had children, who never bore babies, who never nursed them!’ That will be the time when people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Hide us!’For if such things as these are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

(Luke 23: 27-31)

third fall

Station 9: Jesus falls the third time

The Lord guides us in the way we should go
    and protects those who please him.
If they fall, they will not stay down,
    because the Lord will help them up.

(Psalm 37: 23-24)

Our High Priest is not one who cannot feel sympathy for our weaknesses. On the contrary, we have a High Priest who was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin. Let us have confidence, then, and approach God’s throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.

(Hebrews 4: 15-16)

Jesus is stripped of his clothing

Station 10: Jesus is stripped of his clothing

An evil gang is around me;
    like a pack of dogs they close in on me;
    they tear at my hands and feet.
All my bones can be seen.
    My enemies look at me and stare.
They gamble for my clothes
    and divide them among themselves.

(Psalm 22: 16-18)

…they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier. They also took the robe, which was made of one piece of woven cloth without any seams in it. The soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it; let’s throw dice to see who will get it.” This happened in order to make the scripture come true:

“They divided my clothes among themselves
    and gambled for my robe.”

And this is what the soldiers did.

(John 19: 23-24)

Station 11: Jesus is nailed to the cross

Jesus is nailed to the crossWhen they came to the place called “The Skull,” they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said,“Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.”

They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice. The people stood there watching while the Jewish leaders made fun of him: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah whom God has chosen!”

The soldiers also made fun of him: they came up to him and offered him cheap wine, and said, “Save yourself if you are the king of the Jews!”

Above him were written these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

(Luke 23: 33-43)

Station 12: Jesus dies.

Jesus diesAt noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. At about three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”

Some of the people standing there heard him and said, “He is calling for Elijah!” One of them ran up at once, took a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, put it on the end of a stick, and tried to make him drink it.

But the others said, “Wait, let us see if Elijah is coming to save him!”

Jesus again gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Then the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split apart, the graves broke open, and many of God’s people who had died were raised to life. They left the graves, and after Jesus rose from death, they went into the Holy City, where many people saw them.

When the army officer and the soldiers with him who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and everything else that happened, they were terrified and said, “He really was the Son of God!”

There were many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee and helped him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the wife of Zebedee.

(Matthew 27: 32 – 44)

Jesus is taken down from the cross

 

Station 13: Jesus is taken down from the cross

After this, Joseph, who was from the town of Arimathea, asked Pilate if he could take Jesus’ body. (Joseph was a follower of Jesus, but in secret, because he was afraid of the Jewish authorities.) Pilate told him he could have the body, so Joseph went and took it away. Nicodemus, who at first had gone to see Jesus at night, went with Joseph, taking with him about one hundred pounds of spices, a mixture of myrrh and aloes. The two men took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices according to the Jewish custom of preparing a body for burial.

(John 19: 38-40)

In the tombStation 14: Jesus is laid in the tomb

Pilate gave orders for the body to be given to Joseph. So Joseph took it, wrapped it in a new linen sheet, and placed it in his own tomb, which he had just recently dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there, facing the tomb.

The next day, which was a Sabbath, the chief priests and the Pharisees met with Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember that while that liar was still alive he said, ‘I will be raised to life three days later.’ Give orders, then, for his tomb to be carefully guarded until the third day, so that his disciples will not be able to go and steal the body, and then tell the people that he was raised from death. This last lie would be even worse than the first one.”

“Take a guard,” Pilate told them; “go and make the tomb as secure as you can.”

So they left and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and leaving the guard on watch.

(Matthew 27: 58 – 66)

Click here for the Video Resource

During Lent we are asked to sacrifice something, this is called fasting.

This act isn’t just to make us miserable, it is so that we can make a difference by making a change in our lives.

If you were running in a race it might sound strange to suggest sacrificing your place and deliberately finishing in last place but in this video we will see how for one girl this sacrifice was an act of love and kindness to someone that she had never even met before.

Watch carefully and think about what you would do if you were in this situation.

 

How does this video make you feel?

Why do you think Meghan gave up her place in the race and helped Arden?

How do you think Meghan felt after she had made that sacrifice?

How do you think Arden felt when Meghan made that sacrifice for her?

How did the crowd and the news reporters feel when they saw what Meghan had done for Arden?

What do you think you would have done if you were in the race?

Making a sacrifice for someone else can be difficult but it can have a very big and a very positive effect on those around us.Div III State Track

Even when what we do is a small sacrifice to us it can turn out to be a huge and inspiring action for everyone else to see.

Think about how you treat those who are alongside you throughout your day to day life.

Do you offer support to those who are struggling?

Do you make a sacrifice and put others first?

Do others see acts of love and kindness through the deeds that you do?

Make a special effort to be a person who makes sacrifices to help those in need.

Click here for the Scripture Resource

Making a sacrifice is a difficult thing to do because we may feel that we are missing out and we may really like or love the thing that we have to sacrifice.

In the Old Testament a man called Abraham had a choice of whether to make the most difficult sacrifice of all, to sacrifice his only son to God.

Read the story below to find out what happened.

A reading from the book of Genesis.

Some time later God tested Abraham; he called to him, “Abraham!” And Abraham answered, “Yes, here I am!”

“Take your son,” God said, “your only son, Isaac, whom you love so much, and go to the land of Moriah. There on a mountain that I will show you, offer him as a sacrifice to me.”

Early the next morning Abraham cut some wood for the sacrifice, loaded his donkey, and took Isaac and two servants with him. They started out for the place that God had told him about. On the third day Abraham saw the place in the distance. Then he said to the servants, “Stay here with the donkey. The boy and I will go over there and worship, and then we will come back to you.”

Abraham made Isaac carry the wood for the sacrifice, and he himself carried a knife and live coals for starting the fire. As they walked along together, Isaac spoke up, “Father!”

He answered, “Yes, my son?”

Isaac asked, “I see that you have the coals and the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?”

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide one.” And the two of them walked on together.

When they came to the place which God had told him about, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. He tied up his son and placed him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he picked up the knife to kill him. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham, Abraham!”

He answered, “Yes, here I am.”

“Don’t hurt the boy or do anything to him,” he said. “Now I know that you honor and obey God, because you have not kept back your only son from him.”

Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a bush by its horns. He went and got it and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place “The Lord Provides.” And even today people say, “On the Lord‘s mountain he provides.”

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time, “I make a vow by my own name—the Lord is speaking—that I will richly bless you. Because you did this and did not keep back your only son from me, I promise that I will give you as many descendants as there are stars in the sky or grains of sand along the seashore. Your descendants will conquer their enemies. All the nations will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your descendants—all because you obeyed my command.” Abraham went back to his servants, and they went together to Beersheba, where Abraham settled.

The Word of the Lord.

(Thanks be to God.)

Genesis 22: 1-19

As we saw in the video, it cannot have been easy for Abraham to think about sacrificing his son, that he loved very much, but he trusted in God and was willing to do what God had asked of him.

Abraham trusted that God would provide for them and he was right because when he looked around there was a ram to sacrifice instead.

We should trust that, no matter how much we sacrifice to give to others, God will provide for us and make sure that we still have enough to get by ourselves.

Have you ever had to make a difficult sacrifice?

When you are asked to sacrifice something do you agree straight away, like Abraham did?

What are you hoping God will provide for you?

 

Help us Lord to trust in You and to say yes when you ask us to do something, even if it is difficult.

Please provide for us the things that we need so that we can share our love with others.

Amen.

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