There are three segments to our Legacy Lesson:
2. Legacy Lesson–Bible point: God is kind to us!
3. Wrap-up: Apply the message to our own lives; work on memory verse
Recap from last week:
This month has been all about love, kindness, and compassion! Kindness can range from being friendly, considerate, or generous to doing good acts for others. Compassion is a stronger form of kindness. It’s feeling concern for others; it’s a tug on your heart to help out in some way. Kindness and compassion are both expressions of love.
As Christians, kindness is a fruit, or proof, that the Holy Spirit lives inside our hearts. It’s one of the qualities that defines us as believers of Jesus Christ, the kindest human of all.
Last week, we studied how King David showed kindness toward Mephibosheth, a man who was crippled in both feet. We also saw King David show forgiveness toward King Saul (Mephibosheth’s grandfather) for his murderous attempts on David’s life. (I bet that wasn’t easy!) King David knew that if he didn’t forgive King Saul, it would affect his relationship with God…and he did NOT want that.
Our memory verse for last week was from Ephesians 4:32:
Forgiving others is also a form of kindness. We forgive others not just because Jesus expects us to, but because it affects our relationship with Jesus Christ. Unforgiveness is a sin, and sin separates us from a Holy God. It’s a tough truth, but it is a truth the Bible shows.
I. Icebreaker: God’s Kindness
We started off our month of kindness with this question: Is God kind? So, to wrap up our month, let’s end with how we began.
Discussion Questions to get your people thinking about today’s topic:
● Is God kind?
●What has he done for you to show kindness?
●One way we can show kindness is through forgiveness. Forgiveness is just plain hard. Can you tell me about a time it was tough to forgive someone?
Three simple questions…yet 3 potentially tough responses!
2. Transition over to Legacy Lesson:
You will need a Bible to read our focus story. Feel free to modify for your sphere of influence. Add, revise, or delete sections that would help keep attention for 30 minutes or less. (For younger audiences, I would aim for 10-15 minutes!)
For our lessons today, we will look at Jesus as an example of God’s kindness. If you ever want to know the nature of God, look at Jesus. Jesus was God in the flesh.
For this lesson, I want you to put yourselves in the shoes of Peter the disciple.
What do you know about Peter?
➤He was one of the first followers of Jesus.
➤He was strong-willed, enthusiastic, yet impulsive.
➤He saw Jesus heal his mother-in-law from a sickness.
➤He walked on water to Jesus, until he took his eyes off Jesus and sank into the water.
➤He saw Jesus resurrect a girl who had died earlier that day.
➤He saw Jesus transform from his earthly body to his heavenly body.
➤He cut off a soldier’s ear when they came to arrest Jesus. (Perhaps he was aiming for the head and got the ear?)
Wow! That is quite a track record! Which one of those details about Peter stands out to you?
Now that we know a little more about Peter, let’s step into his shoes for a bit and see how this very passionate Christ-follower put his Messiah to the test.
I. Our Promises:
We all make promises to Jesus. Statements like:
“I will act better for you, Jesus!”
“I will stop ______ for you, Jesus!”
“I will start ______ for you, Jesus!”
I think it’s in our nature to want to do better for Jesus. Peter was no different. He, too, makes a promise to Jesus.
II. Broken Promises:
You are still in Peter’s shoes. You just made a HUGE promise to Jesus. Many times, our promises are put to the test, especially if they involve our faith. Peter was no exception. Read the story below and see how Peter was tested in his promise.
⭐ What disciple denied knowing Jesus? Peter
⭐ How many times did he deny knowing Jesus? Three
⭐ How did he feel after he realized what he had done? Wept bitterly (That tells me he felt pretty bad!)
⭐ What was his promise earlier to Jesus? “I will not fall away. I will lay down my life for you.”
After this, Jesus was whipped and beaten badly. He had to carry his cross weighing a couple hundred pounds to outside the city upon a hill, where he was nailed upon that same cross. He suffered on the cross for 6 hours until it was time for him to die. Upon his death, He was buried in a tomb. For 3 days, the disciples were afraid to go outside and be seen for fear that they too would be arrested. Then, on that Sunday, they received word that he was not in his tomb, that he had risen from the dead. I would guess that the disciple who wanted to see him most was Peter….because Peter had some unfinished business with Jesus.
The thing I love about Jesus is that the story isn’t done there…and thank goodness!
III. How Jesus treats our broken promises:
If you want to read this, go to John 21: 15-25 (CEV translation).
⭐ What did Jesus ask Peter? “Do you love me?”
⭐ How many times did He ask Peter this question? 3 times
👉 Each time Peter said he loved Jesus, Jesus gave Peter a command:
“Then feed my lambs.”
“Then take care of my sheep,”
“Feed my sheep.”
Interestingly, Peter denied Jesus 3 times, and that is exactly the number of times Jesus had Peter affirm his love for Him. Talk about a do-over!! #thankyouJesus
👉 This is what Peter was saying to Jesus: “If you love me, you will obey my commands. Now, here they are:
#1: Teach the children of God.
#2: Lead the people of God.
#3: Teach the people of God.
Jesus not only forgives Peter, but He gives Peter a job to lead Jesus’ people!! Peter wasn’t fired by Jesus, he wasn’t sent back to being a fisherman, nor was he sent away in shame; instead, Jesus offered Peter GRACE (an unearned favor) by forgiving him and giving him an even more important job. IF THAT’S NOT KINDNESS, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS!
3. Wrapping-Up: Applying it to our lives
Peter had been with Jesus for 3 years. He did life with Jesus. Just when Jesus needed Peter most, Peter denied knowing the man he vowed to never leave or reject….yet, that is exactly what he did.
Peter learned a hard lesson those 3 days. But, he saw what true kindness looks like: forgiving someone who has let you down.
That is why when it comes to extending kindness to others, we all need this reminder:
God is in the business of restoring sinners. That takes a whole lot of loving-kindness on His part. But, we’re not just meant to be forgiven by Jesus. We’re meant to go out and celebrate our forgiveness by telling others about Him, using our own unique voice and approach. We’re never meant to be silent about this crazy beautiful thing called restoration. We’re meant to live it out loud. It’s like Jesus is saying to us: “I forgive you, child. Now, go out in that world and show me you’re sorry. Stay away from making the same mistakes. Live differently. Live like you love me.”
And that’s just what Peter did. I am willing to bet he was more gentle toward others after his restoration, able to forgive because Jesus forgave him. As a result, he became a powerful preacher, performing miracles through Jesus’ power and leading thousands to Christ…all because he was forgiven and restored.
May we always be willing to do the same in our own lives.
Copyright © 2021 by Amber Spencer @lionesslegacymama. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.