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June 2013

Impressing Jesus

Pentecost Proper 4; 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 7:1-10  centurion-bible-study-james

Do you know what it means to “impress” someone? (Let kids try to explain. Help them understand that this means to make someone think good things about us, to think we’re special.) What sorts of things might you do to impress your parents, for example? (Let children give ideas.) In order to impress you parents, you might clean up your whole room without even being asked. You might try really hard in school. If you practiced a musical instrument and enjoyed playing it, you would impress your parents. When someone is impressed by you, they admire you and are proud of what you did.

What might you do to impress your friends? (Let children share their ideas.) You might build a really cool fort and invite your friends over to play inside it. Perhaps you could create a really good painting in art, and your friends would admire it. Maybe you’d learn a new skateboard trick, and that would impress your friends.

Now, how do you think someone could impress Jesus? That’s a tougher question to answer, isn’t it? What would Jesus be most impressed by? (Let children express their ideas.) Would Jesus be impressed by someone who made a lot of money and had a huge house and lots of stuff? If someone designed a spaceship that carried astronauts all the way to Mars, would that impress Jesus? What if someone memorized the whole Bible from cover to cover; would that impress Jesus? Well, Jesus might be happy for people who could do these things, but none of these things would make Jesus think they were special people or make him love them more.

Today’s Gospel reading tells about a man who really did impress Jesus. He was an officer in the Roman army who was respected by the Jews because he did many good things for them. One of the servants in this officer’s house was very sick, and the officer cared very much for him. When the officer heard about Jesus, he sent a message to him. “I am not worthy to receive you in my house or even to come and meet you. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:6-7 NLT). When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. The Roman officer believed that Jesus was so powerful he could heal the sick servant just by speaking some words.

Jesus said, “I haven’t seen faith like this in all the land of Israel!” (Luke 7:9 NLT). What impressed Jesus was the Roman officer’s faith or trust in him. Faith—trusting God with all your heart and soul—that’s what impresses Jesus.

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, give us faith that is as strong as that of the Roman officer.

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