Needle & Haystack – Session 4 – At the Foot of the Cross

Introduction: This session is part of a 4 part series titled ‘Needle & Haystack’ about how to find God when things are tough which take young people on a journey. These were originally written for a residential weekend and so would work well under a residential context. You could also use them for 4 consecutive weeks.

Items Needed: Pens, Paper, Bible Studies (Click to Download), Bibles, bread and juice (if you’re doing communion), a creative reading of Psalm 22 (Like this one – http://youtu.be/gO2oajaiUck)

Introduction: So this weekend we’ve been looking at how to find God when things are tough and thinking about what we can do to find Him. We’ve thought about how we all find and connect with God in different ways, we’ve looked at 2 people in the bible who’ve been searching and waiting for God and we’ve had a bit of time out ourselves to try and seek God and make time for him.

This morning we’re going to be looking at how Jesus coped when things were tough. One of the things we often glimpse over when we think about Jesus being the perfect human and showing us how we should be is that on top of all the physical suffering we talk about Jesus also experienced silence from God and what separation from him.

Bible Studies: Split the group into 2 and give 1 group the study on Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane and 1 the study on Jesus’ prayer on the cross

Group: Bring the group back together and feedback on the bible studies…making sure you reread the passages.

Explain: Those 2 passages show us how Jesus reacted when things were tough. We sometimes forget that Jesus was human and would have felt the same things as us. There’s a quote that Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said in a speech that says ‘Even those who want to go to heaven don’t want to die’ and to an extent that’s true of Jesus. Jesus knows what’s coming…even the resurrection but he still isn’t looking forward to death.

Those 2 prayers of Jesus are essentially unanswered prayers as far as what the bible says is concerned. His prayer in Gethsemane is only answered by His death on a cross and biblically his prayer on the cross isn’t answered.

And so when things are tough for us we can find comfort in that Jesus found things tough too and when find it difficult to seek God in our relationships with Him we can come back to where started our journey, the cross.

Ask: What is the significance of Jesus death?

Explain: Jesus death on the cross and his resurrection is what allows us to have a relationship with God. The curtain tearing in half is significant beyond what we understand from reading the bible at face value

The Jewish temples would have been divided…there would have been some parts for men, some for women, some places that only the Rabbis could go and then the Most Holy Place which was a place where they believed God to be.  This is what the bible says about this place;

Bible: Hebrews 9:3-8

Explain: The only one allowed contact with God.

Which is why the curtain tearing is so significant because it’s like God was no-longer behind the curtain…no longer in a box but free for everyone to be with.

Ask: What do you think of that? Does it make sense?

Worship Song: The Splendour of the King

Explain: The reason our journey of seeking God this weekend ends this morning at the foot of the cross is because that is where God has ultimately saved us.

It’s through Jesus dying on the cross that we can have a relationship with God.

It’s through Jesus dying on the cross that all the things we do wrong that create a barrier between us and God can be forgiven and made new.

Sometimes when we find things difficult…when we feel like God is being silent we need to come and sit at the foot of the cross…we need to come before Jesus, just us and Him and we need to ask Him to come and be with us.

We need to reflect on those things in the past that remind us of when God has spoken to us and thank Him for those times.

We need to ask God to show us things we’ve done that are putting a barrier between Him and us and we need to ask Him to forgive us.

And when we’ve done that, that’s it…we’re forgiven no matter how bad you still feel about whatever it is God has forgiven you

Worship Song: Choose a softer worship song to play here

Response: We’re going to do communion together in a minute as a way of just offering ourselves to God and asking Him to remain with us as we come to the close of this weekend but first I’d like to play a song and invite you to join in with singing it but also to use this time to take a post-it note and write down what you’d like God to remind you throughout this week or what you’d like help with as you go back to school and home this week.  Once you’ve written one just stick it inside your bible.

Song/Response: At the Foot of the Cross – OneHundredHours

Prayer: Invite some of the young people to read out their post-it notes

Communion: If it is appropriate you may like to share communion here

Come back to Jesus prayer on the cross and the clips from Psalm 22 you’ve been looking at all weekend. Read through Psalm 22 and explain that this is what Jesus was quoting and how it describes what he was going through…His death that He had no control over is described in the bible years before it happened. (Perhaps use this YouTube video: http://youtu.be/gO2oajaiUck)

Ending the session: As this session is quite reflective and responsive it’s up to you how you finish, you may like to have a time of prayer or worship or some optional quiet space for those who want to hang around