Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
Chapter 33, Royalty and Ruin (Prophets and Kings)
The same fire that was rekindled in the heart of young King Josiah as he heard the lost and forgotten book of God’s law read to him is still waiting to burn today in the hearts of God’s people—young and old.
2 Kings 23:1-37
2 Chronicles 34:1-33
2 Thessalonians 3:10-12
Josiah walked in the path of righteousness from a young age, but He became fully convicted about the need for change in Judah when Shaphan stood reading from the Book of the Law. To Josiah it must have felt a little like a courtroom where evidence and arguments were being presented to show the guilt of the people of Judah. When a person is required to undergo a trial in court, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney present evidence and statements to either convict or acquit them. In our lives we find ourselves in a symbolic courtroom where the enemy, Satan, is trying to prove we are hopelessly guilty of sin. God’s Word contains all the instructions we need to receive acquittal and forgiveness for all our sins.
Conduct a virtual courtroom trial. (It can be done on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or in a group chat with friends if you are not yet having Sabbath School in person.) The trial will be an opportunity to discover Bible verses that defend the innocence we claim because Jesus died to pay for our sins.
You will need people to fill these parts:
Prepare for this activity by having each person make a small sign for their part listed above, i.e. Prosecutor, Witness, etc. They will hold the sign somewhere visible during the group chat or Zoom meeting so the friends who are watching know who is who. Before the virtual trial, explore verses that will show evidence that all have sinned, as well as verses that give evidence that Jesus saved us from our sins.
Before the trial begins, the Prosecutor and the Defense Attorney will use paper and pens to write down two to four verses from each perspective. They will also come up with two to three questions they want to ask the Witnesses. Also ask the Witnesses to write down their testimonies.
How to conduct the virtual trial:
Maybe thinking of Jesus in a courtroom is not your favorite way to imagine Him, but it is comforting to know that in the heavenly judgement Jesus stands in our place. We benefit from taking the concept of a courtroom experience and making it a personal conviction—we recognize our own sinful nature, collect evidence, and, rather than simply confirm our guilt, we take Jesus as our Source of transforming power. Josiah experienced deep personal conviction as a result of hearing God’s Word. In the Bible study we will explore aspects of our lives where we might find ourselves convicted of sin and seek the transformation that following Jesus brings.
Note to Leader: Read each Bible passage, then discuss the questions. If you are still worshiping from home, consider discussing one or more of the questions on social media, in a Zoom meeting, or in a group chat with friends.
Read Mark 10:17-23 (NIV).
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
10 For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 11 We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies. 12 Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the food they eat.
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.
Read Romans 13:8-10 (NIV).
8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Read Ephesians 4:29 (NIV).
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
The evidence Josiah found in God’s Word convicted him of the sins that were keeping the people from God’s blessings. He made a strong commitment to follow God’s Word and he kept it all the days of his life. Explore personal habits or experiences that can help you remain strong in your faith through all the days of your life. Consider doing the following:
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
Be sure everyone takes time for personal applications before you end your Sabbath School time together.
As the roller coaster of good and bad kings of Israel comes to an end, one of the final good kings in the southern kingdom of Judah was Josiah (see 2 Chronicles 34). We covered that in last week’s Relational Bible Study (“Like Father [Not] Like Son,” based on 2 Chronicles 33:1-34:33)[MOU3] .
The Cornerstone Connections lesson for this week focuses on one element during Josiah’s reign—the surprising discovery of God’s law in the sanctuary as it was cleansed. This emphasizes the importance and value of God’s revelation as found in the Bible.
In Old Testament times such as the ones we are studying, God’s people lived in a theocracy. That means God was the ruler. It turned out that religious leaders like Moses and Joshua told the people what God wanted. Later, when God’s people started having kings, they were still supposed to rule based on what God had revealed. During the coronation process of becoming a king, a scroll with God’s law was given to the king so they would rule based on God’s revelation (see 2 Chronicles 23:11, 2 Chronicles 1:7-10, 2 Chronicles 34:15-21).
In the New Testament, God’s people lived under Jewish rulers who were subject to Roman rulers. They often were at odds with each other, yet they worked together to kill Jesus. Our lesson for this week looks at the New Testament example of powerful rulers. We have to face such things ourselves today. How can Jesus be your king or ruler when you live in a democracy rather than a theocracy? How much does the type of government we live under actually affect our daily lives?
We’ll look at John’s record of the trial of Jesus with the religious leaders and Pilate. If you want to make some comparisons with the other Gospel accounts of this exposure of power and lack of power, check out Matthew 26:57-68, Matthew 27:11-31, Mark 14:53-63, Mark 15:1-15, and Luke 23:1-25.
Read John 18:28-19:22.
28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. 29 Pilate then went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”
30 They answered and said to him, “If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”
31 Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,” 32 that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.
33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”
36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.”
Second Roman Trial Before Pilate
39 “But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
40 Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
19 So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. 2 And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.
4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.”
5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”
6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.”
7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar’s friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.
The Crucifixion of Christ
17 And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and
Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:
JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS
20 Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
21 Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ”
22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
What’s an example of a rule you follow, but only because something bad might happen to you if you don’t?
1. Why did the religious rulers take Jesus to the Roman governor Pilate?
2. Why didn’t Pilate think Jesus was guilty or deserving of death?
Jesus wasn’t guilty.
3. What did Jesus mean by “My kingdom is not of this world” (vs. 36)?
4. What is truth (vs. 37-38)?
5. Rank (1-8) these people from most powerful to least powerful, and what gives each their power:
NAME WHAT GIVES THEM THEIR POWER?
____ Pilate _____________________________
____ Roman soldiers _____________________________
____ Religious rulers _____________________________
____ Jesus _____________________________
____ Christ’s disciples _____________________________
____ Barabbas _____________________________
____ The crowd _____________________________
____ Other: ___________ _____________________________
6. Why was “King Jesus” crucified?
7. In which kingdom do you live?
8. Where is Christ’s kingdom right now? How do you know?
Different kingdoms! When a person rules, there are always consequences to their rule—for others as well as for themselves. But the image of those in power is sometimes only an image and not reality. The rulers of the Jews and the rulers of the Romans killed Jesus. And yet those who killed him are all dead, and Jesus is alive! The Jewish rulers and Roman rulers were simply pawns in the hand of Satan. And Satan seemed to have won, but in reality he lost! Jesus started His ministry by announcing that the kingdom of God was “at hand” meaning “it’s right here—you can touch it!” At the end of His earthly ministry He claimed to be a king of a kingdom that was not of this world. Those who follow Him today are subjects in that kingdom. In whose kingdom do you live? Who rules in your life, and how do they rule?
Who has power and who rules in your life? Often teens feel as if they don’t have as much power as those older than them. But influence is a type of power, and teens certainly influence people—even people they don’t think they influence (those older, younger, and the same age). There are several ways to apply our Relational Bible Study this week. Here are a few examples to get your started. Use one or two of these, or let these prepare you for the Holy Spirit to impress you how to live this Scripture this week.
By Steve Case and Hubert Cisneros
A Place to Belong outlines the essentials for creating a great youth group. It features six chapters ready-made for youth leadership conventions or training in the local church. If you’re a youth director, here’s a resource you can use to train youth leaders in your conference. If you’re a youth leader in a church, you can use this yourself. And if you’re a young person, you can be a youth leader right now. Use this resource and put it into practice.
Jesus told his disciples that they would “be witnesses” when they received power from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Their witnessing would happen right where they were, and would spread out like the rings when you throw a pebble into a pond. That happens when you take the words of Jesus and relate them to your Youth Sabbath School outreach and mission.
To the Ends of the World
Your Youth Sabbath School
The Community Around Your Church
The World Beyond Your Community
We’ll suggest options for these four target groups. You may choose to follow all four or maybe start with one this month.
A. Your Youth Sabbath School
Personalize your Youth Sabbath School room. This means decorating and possibly constructing props or a set. Be sure to get permission from church leaders. Present your ideas to the church board, get feedback, and adjust. If your space is shared, this could call for more cooperation. Use your creative skills and some hard work to craft something unique for your Youth Sabbath School.
B. Your Church
After personalizing the Youth Sabbath School space, offer your talents and skills for one of your church’s children’s Sabbath School classes. Work with their leaders to help create special decor related to their theme for the next quarter.
C. The Community Around Your Church
Coordinate with some of the handy people in your church and offer to do some special projects in the community. Contractors may know of people needing assistance with minor construction or repairs. Offer to coordinate a Sunday project where Youth Sabbath School members help with the grunt work for a project. Another option is to join a Habitat for Humanity project.
D. The World Beyond Your Community
For low involvement but high response, join Maranatha’s $10 Church project by donating $10 per month. Enough people are donating that one or two churches are constructed each month.
If you want to go all out, join Maranatha’s Ultimate Workout summer mission trip for teens. It’s best if you get your whole church involved in sponsoring your group. Then you will not only represent your church, but you’ll also report back to them when you return. You could also gather a multigenerational group to join one of Maranatha’s family mission projects.
#Playbook Youth & Young Adult Leadership Convention
You are invited to join the North American Division Youth Ministries Department for networking and leadership training from September 3-5, 2020 in Albuquerque, New Mexico! This event is open to all local church, conference, and union youth and young adult ministry leaders. It will feature a wide variety of seminars plus training for youth Sabbath School, Master Guide leadership, and much more.