Note: It is recommended that the word document provided in the "related assets" below should be used when printing the Leader's Edition of the I AM series.
I AM Leader’s Edition with Instructional Notes
Title: I AM Session 7: I AM the Resurrection and the Life
Age: 8 to 12 years
Liturgical Time: Any
Doctrinal Content: “I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” John 11:25-26
Direct Aims: The I AM series aims to help young people understand their relationship to Christ and to others based on the I AM statements.
Indirect Aims: An additional aim is for young people to understand specific ways that they may emulate Christ.
Materials for the Lesson Plan:
I AM Participant WorkbookOrthodox Study Bible Bible
No Man Ever Spoke as This Man: The Great I AM’s of Jesus by Fr. Anthony Coniaris
How does Christ’s Resurrection change our lives?
How can we make sure to live our lives so that we can benefit from His sacrifice?
15 minutes: Quickly review past sessions, then spend a minute introducing today’s theme with the quote below. Read the section about examples of Christ raising people from the dead and have participants try to remember examples.
John 11:25 – 26
Jesus said to her, “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
Resurrect: to bring back to life after death
Sin: actions that go against God’s instructions, making wrong choices, missing the mark
Life: being alive, breathing, acting, thinking,
Examples in the Bible
Jesus performed many miracles, including raising people from the dead. Can you think of any examples from the Bible in which Jesus saved someone from dying or raised them from the dead? Make a list here.
Participants may describe the funeral procession that Jesus stopped and raised the widow’s son from the dead, or the story of raising Jairus’s daughter. Jairus was a leader in the synagogue and while many were skeptical, the parents believed in Jesus’ power to bring their daughter back to life. Save Lazarus’s story for last if the participants bring it up.
10 minutes: Read the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead and discuss the special circumstances surrounding Lazarus’s resurrection. (John 11: 1- 44)
Lazarus was one of the people who Jesus raised from the dead. His story is special for several reasons. Lazarus was a special friend and relative of Jesus. When He came to see His friend who had died, Jesus wept. Lazarus had been dead for four days when Jesus came to see him. People at that time believed in resurrection, but only at the final judgment. When Lazarus’s sister Martha says, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day,” Jesus tells her, “I am the Resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Jesus is telling Martha that HE is the Resurrection, they do not have to wait for the final judgment any more.
Discuss with the class what the Final Judgment is. Younger classes may have more difficulty, but the important thing to understand is that Jesus’s death and resurrection open up the gates of heaven to us now. We have no idea when the final judgment will be, but we do not have to wait for it any longer.
10 minutes: Make sure participants have a basic understanding of Christ’s Resurrection. What happened? Did the disciples believe in his Resurrection? To whom did Christ appear?
The Resurrection and the Life
What does it mean that Christ is the “Resurrection and the Life”? We are told that if we believe in Christ, if we live by His example, live by His rules, we will live with Him eternally. The goal is to live with Him forever in heaven. Sin is a way of pulling away from Him a little each day. But, we have been given a way to “Resurrect” with Him through repentance. Through the Sacrament of Holy Confession/Reconciliation, we are resurrected into a new life and a new chance every time! What a gift!
Have you ever seen a caterpillar become a butterfly? Let's watch and see. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AUeM8MbaIk
After watching this transformation, why do you think that the butterfly has become a symbol for Christians? The butterfly is a symbol of Christians because Christ died and was resurrected. We are like the butterfly in that, we start one way and through a life like Christ, we must "die" or transform into something better and more beautiful. We are "born" into a new life. Can you think of something that happens to you in church that is similar to the lifecycle of a butterfly? The Sacrament of Baptism! When we enter the water we are one person, and are submerged three times because Christ was three days in the tomb. When we emerge after three submersions, we are now born into Christ with a new promise to life eternal!
The butterfly can be seen as the insect who ‘dies’ as a caterpillar, is buried in the cocoon for a length of time, and emerges in a new life, that as a creature who has the ability to transcend the ordinary and take flight into the heavens. In many spiritual circles the butterfly represents the spirit or soul. --Denise Handlon
- Caterpillar to Butterfly Craft: http://www.daniellesplace.com/HTML/bible_themes_s.html (about half way down screen)
- Resurrection Cookies: http://www.orthodoxmom.com/2012/04/11/resurrection-cookies-recipe/
- Paschal Icon: Utilize a Paschal Icon and walk through the icon explaining its meaning. http://lent.goarch.org/holy_pascha/learn/ http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/resurrection_icon.aspx
- Fun Snack ideas for after this session: Butterfly cookies:
- Butterfly Snack bags: http://www.twosasters.com/2012/06/butterfly-preschool-snack.html
20 minutes: Work through the Paschal Sermon, stopping as needed to summarize and clarify. Have participants make notes in the margins about passages that are related to the power of Christ’s resurrection.
The Paschal Sermon Of St. John Chrysostom
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
Written by Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Kira Senadak
Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
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