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 (Desire of Ages)
Chapter 14 - We Have Found the Messiah
Although the Jews desired the Messiah’s coming, they misunderstood His mission and purpose. Thus, they missed Him—just as we can.
Have you ever really stopped to wonder when God began? Has God always been? How old is the universe? Does the Bible really tell us who created life? These are foundational questions for Christians to understand and today’s lesson will go a long way toward locating the answers.
OPENING ACTIVITY: FINDING LIGHT
Each person needs to have a source of light. Encourage them to be creative in selecting it. Then ask each student to show and describe the source of light they have chosen.
So far, we’ve been discussing physical light. Our scripture passage today talks about the “light” of the world. Have you ever thought about how on different levels those two kinds of light are the same? One is physical and the other is spiritual, but both are required for life.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
Read John 1:1-5.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Read John 1:6-8.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Read John 1:9-13.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
Read John 1:14.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Read John 1:16-18.
16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
Read John 1:29-34.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
This passage states and restates that God has always existed and that through God everything was made. He is the Light that sustains all life. It’s a difficult concept to grasp because the finite has a difficult time grasping the infinite. God has always been and is the Creator of everything. Life began by His command.
John recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and he also recognized our need for a Savior. Jesus came to give us something that was promised, but hadn’t yet been fulfilled—a personal glimpse at the nature of God. In addition, Christ promised that all those who believed in Him would be adopted into the family of God with all the rights and privileges that brings. What a wonderful message of hope that it.
During the coming week, read John 1:35-50. Put yourself in the place of the disciples Jesus called by asking the following questions:
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.
Encourage 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.
John’s Gospel does not say much about the calling of Jesus’ disciples, but the remainder of chapter 1 introduces several of them. The spotlight falls on two of John’s followers, quite possibly one of them the author of these words. Upon hearing their leader announce for the second time that Jesus was God’s Lamb, they both left John and followed Jesus, only to have their motives challenged. It would seem from the text that these two disciples spent the evening with the Lord (the tenth hour would have been 4 p.m.)—an evening which led to their affirmation that He was indeed the Messiah. The evening also led to witnessing, since Andrew began his ministry with family evangelism by bringing his brother to Jesus. Andrew was characteristically the man who was prepared to take second place. Again, and again, he is identified as Simon Peter’s brother. It is clear that he lived under the shadow of Peter. People might not know who Andrew was, but everyone knew Peter; and when men spoke of Andrew, they described him as Peter’s brother.
At this point in the story Jesus left the south and went north to Galilee. There, perhaps in Cana, He found and called Philip. Philip, like Andrew, could not keep the good news to himself. As Frederic Louis Godet said: “One lighted torch serves to light another.” So, Philip went and found his friend Nathanael. He told him that he believed that he had discovered the long-promised Messiah in Jesus, the man from Nazareth. Nathanael was scornful. There was nothing in the Old Testament which foretold that God’s Chosen One should come from Nazareth. Nazareth was an undistinguished place. Nathanael himself came from Cana, another small Galilean town, and, many such were known for petty rivalries and feuds. Nathanael’s reaction was to declare that Nazareth was not the kind of place that anything good was likely to come out of. Philip was wise. He did not argue. He said simply: “Come and see!”
So, Nathanael came; and Jesus could see into his heart. “Here,” said Jesus, “is a genuine Israelite, a man in whose heart there is no guile.” That was a tribute that any devout Israelite would recognize. “Blessed is the man,” said the Psalmist, “to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit, there is no deceit” (Psalm 32:2). Nathanael was surprised that anyone could say that after just meeting him, and he demanded how Jesus could possibly know him. Jesus told him that He had already seen him under the fig tree. Fig trees were ideal places for meditation and prayer. No doubt as he sat under the fig tree he had prayed for the day when God’s Chosen One should come. No doubt he had been meditating on the promises of God. And now he felt that Jesus had seen into the very depths of his heart.
Jesus assured Nathanael that he would see even greater supernatural events in the future. Jesus’ statement may have referred to the miracles performed in His earthly ministry; it may also refer to the future glory of Christ as the coming Son of Man. Jesus also described the “greater things” (John 1:50) in terms of Jacob’s ladder at Bethel (John 1:50–51; Genesis 28:11–17). Jesus was making the point that He was the revealer of heavenly things and the medium through whom heaven and earth would meet. Jesus was the one who would fulfill Jacob’s dream, providing access and communication between God and people.
He Is The Man!
Who is your favorite celebrity to follow on social media? Why are they your favorite?
Read John 1:35-51.
35 The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
37 When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38 Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?”
They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?”
39 “Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”
So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.
40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).
43 The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44 Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.”
1. Who were the first two disciples with John?
2. What did Jesus ask these two disciples and what was their response?
3. What did Andrew say to Peter as he led him to Jesus?
4. What did Jesus call Andrew’s brother and what is the meaning of his name?
5. What did Philip and Nathanael share about Jesus?
6. What did Jesus and Nathanael share with each other?
7. What makes it (easy or hard) to be a witness for Jesus?
8. How can you be a better disciple of Jesus?
The relevance of these paragraphs of scripture to our present experience is obvious. Christ the risen King continues to say, “Follow me!” It echoes around the world today through the witnesses of Jesus among the nations. It reaches to overshadowed folks like Andrew; explosive, potential leaders like Peter; withdrawn, struggling characters like Philip; earnest, ingenuous souls like Nathanael; and to every other conceivable classification. It must also make a personal connection with us too. This allows us to share our experiences with Him, to others with passion and purpose. Everyone in our sphere of influence needs to know that Jesus is still the meeting point between heaven’s fullness and earth’s need, even in the midst of the bustle and noise of our postmodern world.
Relationship and discipleship are two words that are so connected they are almost synonymous. As we read John 1:35-51, we see relationship and discipleship at work in unity. As we come to know Jesus, sharing Him with others becomes irresistible. Sometimes this can be challenging if we don’t have a launching pad. Below, find some application activities to add to your toolbox. These are simply to provide ideas you can use, or to invite you to imagine and create some of your own, as you impact the lives of teens for God’s glory.
Write down 30 facts about yourself, as simple as you can make them. You can include facts like the color of your eyes, the color of your hair, your favorite ice cream, your dream car, etc. Quiz your family members and friends about these aspects of your life and dreams. Check off on your list how many they get right. Then give them a little talk about Nathanael and how Jesus knew him even before he knew Jesus knew him (John 1:43-49). Then ask them to pray with you so that you all will get to know Jesus better.
Create a virtual treasure hunt with members of your class. This is much easier than you may think. You can go to a bunch of different websites and purchase or collect small, inexpensive items from them (like juice, candy, socks, etc.). Then open up a chat space on Zoom, Google, etc. and invite them to join. Give them some hints about where they can find these items. Allow them to race to search for the items. Each time someone finds the items you have chosen, let them know that you will give them one of the treasures the next time you meet in person. Then discuss what it must have been like for the disciples in John 1:35-41 to have found the greatest Treasure, Jesus Christ.
How do I “bring them to Jesus”? Here is a simple 5 step plan that I use to connect with my friends who may need to see Jesus. You can feel free to move things around as you desire. After all, it is your witness. Share with your class, pastor, family, or other trusted Christian friends about the results.
The Thriving Ministry Leader
By James L. Black, Sr.
Knowing how to get off to the best start and maintain success in all areas of ministry should never be kept a secret. In this guide, Pastor JB covers issues from A to Z as he makes himself vulnerable and transparent in offering his best counsel to a new generation of leaders. Veteran leaders can learn a few principles as well.
About the Author
Pastor JB has served in youth ministries leadership for nearly 30 years. He is the former youth/young adult ministries director for the Southwest Region Conference, president of the Black Adventist Youth Directors Association, and the former Youth/Young Adult Ministries director for the north American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, a position he held for nearly 17 years. He is the author of 18 books and resources, a sought-after international speaker, and a leadership training facilitator/consultant.
Currently, he serves as the chaplain and director for Prayer and Reconnecting Ministries for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Love reading? Use your reading and acting skills to bring joy to children and seniors. Create a funding page, select a few books, go live on Instagram, Facebook, or broadcast on YouTube.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Express your appreciation and encourage people on the front lines. Use your imagination to create encouraging cards for essential workers.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help feed the hungry. Give your canned food drive a twist. Build and display structures with the cans to encourage people to give.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Help children transition to a new home with dignity. Purchase and decorate duffle bags for children who are placed into foster care. Place items such as towels and personal hygiene items in the bags.
Cost: $25.00 – partner with a business to defray costs
5. Appreciation Gift Bags for Essential Workers & Teachers / Hero Candy Bars Say thanks in a fun way. Make appreciation bags with food or care items for teachers, essential workers, hospital staff, first responders, etc.
Cost: Less than $5.00