Hello, Youth Leader!
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that our young people today are stressed. If you spend any time with teenagers, you are well aware! They’re stressed about everything from terrorism to science tests, and often, they just don’t know where to turn to find hope.
This Bible study uses the story of the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24 to help our youth find hope in Jesus. Yes, it’s the Sunday school answer – and that’s okay! The fact that we have hope in the risen Christ truly trumps any of our problems, and allows us to be a light in the darkness of our scary world.
You will want to have a local newspaper or two on hand, along with Bibles. Some leader notes are included in the study guide. Please adjust this study as necessary for your group. Every group is different.
Introduction – Newspaper Headlines
- The world is a scary place, and often, the news headlines just serve to scare us more. These are some New York Times headlines from April 2017. Do any of these stress you out?
- “U.S.-Led Strike Mistakenly Kills 18 Coalition Allies in Syria”
- “Police Believe New York Judge’s Death Was a Suicide”
- “North Korea May Be Preparing Its 6th Nuclear Test”
- “Why the Syrian Chemical Weapons Problem Is So Hard to Solve”
- “Turkey’s Purge of 130,000 Workers Has Caused Chaos”
- “Do Your Shoelaces Keep Coming Undone? Engineers Explain Why”
- “Has Coffee Gotten Too Fancy?”
- Maybe the last two aren’t quite as stressful (though they are real headlines!), but the rest of them are certainly stressful. They tell us that the world we live in is not safe. Bad things happen all over the world – including in our own backyards.
- In your local newspaper, what are some of the more stressful headlines?
- If you were writing a newspaper for your school, what would be some of the more stressful headlines? What about for your church? Your home?
Into the Bible – The Road to Emmaus
- Whether we’re looking across the ocean or just into the next room, stress can be found all around us, and it can be hard to have hope. In Luke 24, we find a couple of friends who are very stressed.
- Read Luke 24:13-14.
- What were “all these things that had happened?” The details can be found in the previous two chapters of Luke.
- What do you think the two men might have been thinking? Feeling?
- Would they have had any hope for their future? For the world’s future?
- Have you ever been in their shoes?
- Read Luke 24:15-35.
- Who showed up to relieve their stress?
- How did Jesus relieve their stress?
- Even after Jesus left them, did they have hope? Why?
Into Our Lives – Our Roads
- We have that same hope, even in our scary, stressful world. How can we apply that hope to some of the stressful headlines that we read earlier? Focus especially on the closer-to-home headlines the group came up with.
- Read Philippians 4:5b-7, starting with “The Lord is at hand.”
- Why does Paul tell us not to be anxious?
- What does he tell us to do instead?
- What does he say the peace of God will do for us?
Conclusion – Make Your Own Headlines
- Newspapers like to scare us. Scary headlines sell better than nice, happy headlines. But no matter how many bad things are happening in the world, there are always good things happening, too.
- Earlier you were asked to come up with stressful headlines in your school, church, and home. Now, come up with some positive headlines. What are the good things that have been happening?
- Everyone we know is stressed for some reason or another. Read John 13:35.
- How can we spread the hope that we have?
- Try to get each person to come up with a tangible way in which they can love another person this week.
- Close with a prayer, asking God to help us spread hope in stressful situations. In addition, pray for any stressful situations that might have come up earlier in the study. Use whatever prayer habit your group has.