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March 2012

Get Behind Me

For the Second Sunday in Lent

From “Sitting on the Rainbow” 

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Scripture Reference: Mark 8:31-38

Preparation: You may bring along a photo of one of your best friends and be ready to tell the children about your friend.

Raise your hand if you have a really good friend—a best friend—that you like to play with. Can you tell me about one of your friends? What do you like about that friend? (Let several children describe one of their friends.)

I have some good friends, too. (Here you may show the children a photo of your friend and tell them what you like about the friend. My example follows.) My best friend is my husband, Joel. One of the reasons I enjoy his company so much is that we can play silly games together. We used to play a game where we’d run around and try to catch leaves that were falling to the ground in our teeth. It’s a very difficult thing to do because leaves flutter this way and that way as they fall. It makes you laugh trying to do it, and it is very funny to watch! It’s fun to play silly games with friends.

Did you know that Jesus had close friends, too? The Bible talks about one of Jesus’ closest friends, Peter. Jesus called Peter a “rock.” Peter was a good friend; he was someone you could count on. Do you have a friend like that?

What would you do if your friend tried to get you to do something that was bad? How would you answer them if they told you to hit or tease someone? What if they wanted you to take something that wasn’t yours? If that happened to you, what should you tell your friend? (Let children answer.)

We like our friends, and we want them to like us, but if they want us to do the wrong thing, we need to tell them that we can’t go along with them. If they are true friends, they will remain your friends even when you say “No” to their bad ideas.

Peter once tried to get Jesus to do the wrong thing. Jesus told his disciples that he would have to die on the cross. That was what he came to earth to do. God sent Jesus to save us from our sins. But Peter did not want this to happen. He told Jesus not to go to the cross. Do you know how Jesus answered Peter? (Someone may offer the correct answer.)

To Peter, his very good friend, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Mark 8:33 nrsv). Satan is another name for the devil. Would the devil want Jesus to save the world from sin? No, he wouldn’t. Satan would try to stop Jesus, even if he had to use one of Jesus’ friends to do so. Jesus was showing Peter that it was wrong to try to stop him from dying on the cross. Maybe Peter’s feelings were hurt, but he didn’t stop being Jesus’ friend. He knew that Jesus had to do the right thing.

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for blessing us with good friends. Help us all to encourage each other to do the right thing—the thing that would please you. And if our friends want us to do bad things, make us strong to tell them “No.”

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