Message for Theophilus! – Advent

Bible base:

Luke 1:1-4

Teaching objectives:

To introduce the Christian belief that Luke’s Gospel is a true record of Jesus’ life.

You will need:

  • Two large sheets of paper.
  • Two marker pens
  • A copy of Luke’s Gospel
  • The words ‘What God has done’ on a large piece of paper

Optional:

  • Magazine about famous people;
  • Luke 1:1-4 on large cards

Introductory activity:

Imagine meeting a famous person and chatting with them! Who would you want to meet? (You may wish to have a copy of a magazine of famous people with you to give some examples of some of the people they could meet.)

Take some of the pupils’ suggestions, and choose two who have chosen very different people to come to the front. (Make sure that you choose two pupils who can write clearly; ask members of staff to help if in doubt. It would also be advisable to choose older pupils). Explain to the chosen pupils that they are going to write a letter to someone to tell them about their celebrity encounter.

Give each pupil one of the sheets of paper and a marker pen, and place them at either side of the assembly hall (the rest won’t see it until it’s read out).

Ask them to write down the following pieces of information in big letters. After writing each item, they should fold the paper down so that the words are hidden and then swap sheets with the other pupil, like a game of ‘consequences’. (You may wish to have prepared two sheets in advance, in the form of a letter, with the pupils merely filling in gaps, which will keep the activity moving quickly.)

They should write down the following information:

  • Who they are writing to (e.g. ‘Dear mum, dad, granny’)
  • Who they meet (e.g. a film star, a pop star, royalty)
  • What they say to the famous person
  • What the famous person says to them
  • What the result is

As they are doing this, ask the assembly to think of who they would put in the story if they were writing it.

Read out the ‘letters’, adding in the necessary words to make full sentences. They may be either funny or nonsensical: comment accordingly.

The letters are jumbled because they are a mixture of two different accounts written about imaginary encounters with two very different people. Neither of the pupils has actually met their famous person, so their accounts do not really help us get to know this person better.

Choose one of the famous people and ask the pupils how they would find out more information about what this person is like. Possible suggestions: Internet, magazines, newspaper articles, interviewing people who know them etc.

Two thousand years ago a man called Luke wanted to write a letter to his friend Theophilus about Jesus. How could he have found out more about Jesus? Without the Internet or international media sources, Luke went to the most accurate source of information – people who knew Jesus, or had met Him and had seen what He had done in His life. Once Luke had gathered all the information, he wrote it all down in a long letter to Theophilus. (If you have large cards of the opening verses of Luke’s Gospel, show it to the assembly now, explaining that this is how Luke begins his letter.)

Show the pupils a copy of Luke’s Gospel.

This is a copy of the letter that Luke wrote to his friend. Imagine if Luke had not written it all down, but had just told Theophilus all that he had discovered. We might never have heard all the stories that are recorded in this part of the Bible.

The New Living Translation refers to the eyewitnesses’ reports of ‘what God has done’. Show these words to the assembly. Christians believe that Luke’s story, and the whole Bible, is the story of ‘what God has done’.

Optional prayer time:

Thank God that Luke did write all his stories down, so that we can read them too and learn more about Jesus.

 

 

 

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