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.
Humble Hero - Chapter 84
The Resurrected Christ Appears
Humble Hero - Chapter 85
By the Sea Once More
Drained from grief and in need of encouragement after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Thomas chose to doubt, and Peter distanced himself from the group. How would Jesus bring them back to unity?
Jesus calls us to believe in Him, while He ever seeks to restore us to full relationship with Himself.
Password is a game in which two people play per team. One player is given the password, which they try to get the other player to guess by giving them one-word clues. The clues cannot contain any form or portion of the word, such as “ball” for “basketball.” Each clue must be a single word, with the only exception being two words that are always said together, such as “hot dog.” Players may use as many single-word clues as it takes to help their teammate guess the password . . . but time is running out.
Players may not use their hands to communicate, such as gesturing or pointing at another object. If a player is stumped they can ask for a new word.
Select as many teams of two players as you may have willing to play. Give each team 30 or 60 seconds to play, then see how many passwords each team can correctly guess. Use words from the list below, or substitute your own, with each word written in large letters on a piece of paper or index card. Alternately, you might put each word on a computer screen visible to those not playing, but not to the player attempting to guess the password.
Golden Gate Bridge
We’re all a little like Thomas.
Maybe we’re not all as inclined to skepticism as Thomas, who had the nickname Doubting Thomas. But none of us witnessed Jesus returned from the dead. We all learned the story of Jesus from somebody else. We all have to take the story of Jesus on faith.
The last people to have seen Jesus were from the apostles’ generation. Everything we know about Jesus comes from their writings. The apostle John wrote his gospel last of all, as late as fifty or sixty years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. His readers had little, if any, memory of Jesus. Like Thomas after the resurrection, they were learning about Jesus secondhand.
Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
TO DOUBT IS HUMAN
The 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and His ascension are rather mysterious. Jesus comes and goes, sometimes walking and talking with people who don’t immediately recognize Him. He appears to followers, family members, and even large groups of people, but big chunks of time pass where no one knows where He is.
The story of Thomas’ struggle to believe in Jesus’ resurrection notes that a week has passed since Jesus last appeared to the disciples as a group. Whatever Thomas has been doing in this time, thoughts of Jesus are surely never far away. In the roughly ten days since the Last Supper, Thomas has learned that Jesus was arrested, put on trial, tortured, executed, and buried in a tomb—and then, he hears the incredible stories of His resurrection. The ten other living disciples all tell him that Jesus is alive, but after everything, he just can’t accept this news—no matter how much he wants to.
Read John 20:19-29.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The Sea of Galilee, where Jesus met many of His disciples, is several days’ walk from Jerusalem. By the time Jesus met up with seven of His disciples there, some time had passed since His resurrection, probably at least two weeks. By now the disciples at last understood Jesus’ true mission, but on the relational level, they still had some unfinished business. And here they were, back in their old neighborhood, doing what they used to do before they even knew Jesus. Yet this was where Jesus had found them, and He was about to do it again.
If you’re trying to distract yourself from your regrets, a stressful night of fishing is either the perfect or the worst way to do it. Peter had no end of regrets about his actions before, during, and after Jesus’ arrest. While Jesus was on trial, Peter had hung out nearby, but when asked if he was with Jesus, he swore that he didn’t even know Him. In fact, he didn’t just do it once—given three opportunities to claim and stand up for Jesus, Peter denied knowing Jesus all three times. He’d carried that shame ever since.
Yet here’s the thing about Peter. Even though he might have been ashamed to even look Jesus in the eye, we still see him grabbing his outer garment, jumping out of that boat, and swimming toward Jesus. And though Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” three times to make a point, Peter’s actions had already signaled his devotion.
Read John 21:1-22.
1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 “I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
Jesus Reinstates Peter
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”
2Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him? ”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
The stories of Peter and Thomas are the stories of all of us, to one degree or another. At some point, we’ve all failed to live up to what we believe. We’ve all doubted whether Jesus is truly who He says He is.
The good news is that Jesus is just as willing to forgive us and meet us where we are, even as He calls us to a deeper relationship with Him. Consider:
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.
Fncourage 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.
As the story of salvation comes to a gorgeous close, we see Jesus spending His last days on earth with those who loved and cherished Him the most. After resurrecting from the grave and triumphantly providing us all salvation, He finds His disciples still having a hard time believing that He is truly with them again. In verses 33-34, we see the realization dawning on the two unnamed disciples on the road to Emmaus that their Teacher was the one speaking to them.
Previously, Jesus had appeared to Peter (and Mary Magdalene), but had yet to reveal Himself to the rest of His disciples. As the two men from Emmaus excitedly told their story, Jesus appeared seemingly out of thin air and spoke the cherished words, “Peace be with you.” Again, the disciples stared at Him as if He were a ghost, and even gave Him something to eat while they watch closely.
This is not the first time the disciples acted as if Jesus was a ghost; that night during the storm they also thought there was a ghost moving on the water. Jesus took the time to prove His existence to them and explain (one more time) the prophecies that predicted His death and resurrection. Once they were sufficiently convinced and overjoyed, Jesus proceeded to give them the final task: the command that applies to all believers and disciples of Christ—not just the chosen eleven. The message must be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem. The message is as follows: “There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.”
Before leaving, He made sure to leave His flock in capable hands to do this work, handing over their care to the Holy Spirit, and instructing them to remain in the city until the Holy Spirit arrived and anointed them. This command is meant for all of us today as well. We must be the living proof of our salvation in the blood and in repentance, first to our own people (in our own “Jerusalems”), and then to all that surround us.
The Final Days
Describe a time that you were in disbelief.
Read Luke 24:33-48.
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38 He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate it in their presence.
44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
Many may think that the story of salvation ends with Jesus’ ascension—that the work was finished. But in reality, the work was just beginning. Jesus’ appearance to the disciples was meant to explain the work that they (and we) have in store as believers. However, Jesus was not going to desert them or us; He sent the Holy Spirit to guide us as we are missionaries for Him. Beginning with those who are near to us and then spreading far and wide, it is our mission to share the hope of salvation and repentance, so that each and every soul can have the chance of receiving this awesome gift provided to us by the Cross.
The final moments and words of Jesus on this earth are vital to our lives as believers even today. It is always a necessary part of studying to sit back and meditate how a story applies to us today as youth. Below you will find three applications that can benefit the youth in your group and help them meditate on the word shared today. These applications work both individually and in a group.
As a youth group or by yourself, devise a way to carry out the command Jesus left behind.
The Man Who Became a Beast
By Andrew Jamel & Wayne Jamel
Daniel has returned to warn an unstable ruler, King Nebuchadnezzar, of an unsettling future. In the beautiful land of Babylon, something dark is soon to occur. A man will lose his grip with reality and become a beast. He must then find a way to regain his sanity. This is the fourth in the 12-book series of comic books chronicling Daniel’s Adventures of Danger and Dreams.
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00