At the start of our Who is Jesus lesson, which I’ve had the privilege of teaching this week, someone from the team introduces themselves and makes a claim. For me I always say “My name is Geoff and I once was a gymnast for Team GB!”
Then the fun starts, as the young people work out the various options for this claim, leading to three alternatives.
I was telling the truth
I was lying
I was crazy (I thought I was but I wasn’t)
I am always encouraged by how many people think I am telling the truth, but unfortunately, it’s one of the only times I genuinely lie in a classroom. I did, however, go to Loughborough University to study Sports Science and I was coached by a GB gymnastic coach in a gymnastics module. I wasn’t quite good enough to make the national team though!
We then consider the claim made by Jesus- that he was the Son of God, the Messiah - that he was God himself, coming to Earth on a rescue mission. Jesus’ claim has the same three options- it’s the truth, he was lying or he was crazy. The rest of the lesson explores the life of Jesus and various opinions about Jesus, so that the students are provided with enough information for them to make their own mind up.
The young people get to hear that Christians are people who look at the miracles of Jesus, his life, his death and his resurrection, and come to the conclusion that he was telling the truth. His actions lead Christians to believe his claim in the same way that had I been able to perform a triple somersault in the classroom and produce a perfect dismount after swinging from the light fittings, maybe my claim could have been true as well.