I am honored to lead the Resources Division at LifeWay and serve with a team of leaders who are passionate to serve the Church in her mission of making disciples. Each Wednesday, I share the heart behind one of the resources our team has developed. I then give readers an opportunity to register to win a free copy of that resource. This week’s giveaway is a collection of resources from The Gospel Project for Students. Our Students team helped write this post.
The Gospel Project is a Christ-centered Bible study for all ages that shows how all Scripture points to redemption through Jesus Christ and drives participants to be on mission. Today I want to share about how Jesus’ parables and miracles offer good news to our students.
Jeff’s heart breaks for the students he serves. He sees so much potential in them and is encouraging them as they take incremental steps toward living lives of holiness. But he also sees so many of them who are exhausted from trying to live double lives—students who are acting the way they think “good church kids” should while in group but are struggling to live for Christ during the week.
How can Jeff equip them to believe and live the truth, to tear down the pretenses and see the gospel transform and strengthen their hearts? One way to powerfully drive the gospel into their hearts is through challenging them with Jesus’ miracles and parables. Here are three ways Jesus’ miracles and parables strengthen students:
1. They confront the temptation toward hypocrisy.
In Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, He confronted religious hypocrisy head on. It wasn’t the Pharisee, the one who fasted regularly and gave of everything he had, who was found justified before God. It was the tax collector, the social outcast, the one who was aware of the depths of his sin and cried out, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). The Pharisee was a hypocrite, a man who acted as though he was close to God but his heart was farther away than even he realized. In the same way, our students need to be challenged to consider their own religious behavior: is their prayer and fasting and singing and working rooted in their love for Jesus or in a desire to be seen as faithful workers?
2. They give hope to those who are weary.
Jesus’ story of a good father with two lost sons (Luke 15:11-32) is good news for the “good church kid” and the student who doesn’t even pretend to live a godly life. Many of our students have squandered God’s good gifts, just as we all have. Many are clinging to their religious performance as their hope and running themselves into the ground. But the good news is that the Father pursues both—welcoming back the rebel and pleading with the religious.
3. They display the power of Jesus to meet our greatest need.
Jesus’ miracle of healing the paralyzed man (Mark 2:1-12) is a breathtaking display of His power. But what is so amazing isn’t simply that Jesus told the man to get up and walk, which he did. What’s so breathtaking is what is most scandalous to Jesus’ original hearers: He forgave the man’s sins. He met the man’s greatest need, reconciliation with His Creator. Giving him back the ability to walk—an incredible miracle in itself—borders on being incidental in comparison. And this is what we can’t forget: in His teaching and His miracles, Jesus isn’t simply giving new commands. He is showing us that Jesus is the only One who can meet our greatest need, the forgiveness of our sin.
These are the truths our students need to hear. No rebel is too far gone to receive His offer of grace and forgiveness. No “good person” is so good that he or she doesn’t need God’s grace and mercy. Jesus’ stories and signs are a powerful way to bring these truths to bear on their hearts and, Lord willing, continue to see them pursue life on mission.
This week, you can register to win a set of resources from The Gospel Project for Students’ upcoming study, Stories and Signs. Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, April 19. Winners will be notified via email. The winner will receive the following:
- One Student Leader Guide
- One Student Leader Pack
- Twelve Student Personal Study Guides
Enter here or in the form below by 11:59pm tonight, Wednesday, April 19 for the opportunity to win. Winners will be notified by email within the week.