Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Catechizing Through John 1-5

When my kids grew old enough to have a conversation, I began teaching  them some basic catechism's of our Christian faith. We're not Catholic, but I found that asking my children the same questions and having them give me a memorized answer, produced hidden truths into my children's hearts. These hidden truths would come out later on in random conversations we would have. I would see their memorized answers ramble out of their mouth in response.  A few times I've seen a little "light bulb" come on as they discovered revealed truth in their lives. Now, at ages (almost) 4 & 7, they are able to articulate and logically put together their own responses to my questions - which is a a great way of teaching. So,  a few months back I began teaching them through the book of John over breakfast. Abby sits and listens and tries to chime in with the few words she knows - like pray and Jesus!

Why did I pick John? I chose the book of John because it is written in story form, just like the epistles of Matthew, Mark and Luke. This form of writing is easy to read aloud and the adventures of Jesus are very exciting to little adventurous boys!  The book of John is all about Jesus and His 3 years of ministry. I also picked the book of John because we've had lots of questions lately about Jesus and who He is and why he came to die for our sins. One of our catechism questions is "How many God's are there" and the answer is "There is only 1 true God." This truth is very hard to comprehend once you introduce them to Jesus - even though they know the answer to "How many person's in the One True God" they still grapple, just as  do, with the whole understanding of 1 God in 3 persons. So John was a great book to introduce so they can see human attributes to this big God we pray to and talk to each day.  When children are small they equate Jesus as the answer to all Sunday questions. As my boys were "growing in wisdom and stature" I realized it was time to reveal Jesus and his role in the trinity. I  wanted them to see that God the Father and Jesus are one God but perform different roles. It is a complex subject, one that I don't fully comprehend, but I will say it makes more sense with a child like faith! I'm anticipating our next book to be Acts so they can fall in love with the Holy Spirit.

When I was little we had a man come to our church who had memorized the entire book of John. For many years he would come and perform a 1 person skit using the entire book of John. I fell in love right then and there with the book of John and many years later also fell in love with a human, God created man named John. We then named our first born son John. Just a side note, my best childhood friend Bethany also married a John and named her first son John!I guess we're all just in love with the attributes of John which means "God is gracious."

So our breakfast look a little like this - picture oatmeal or smoothies on the table with lots of moving and shuffling and silliness. Then add three kids all talking at the same time. Then you might get a close representation what our morning Bible time looks like most mornings. Normally we review for about 5 minutes and then I read the next paragraph in my bible and then ask the boys about what I just read. In total we spend between 10 & 15 minutes working on Bible in the mornings. It has become the boys favorite part of the day, mostly because they get to race to see who can answer the question first. Our ever quick Gabe is catching on very quickly despite his 3 year age difference .  Here are some of the questions I ask for the first few chapters of John.

Question: Who wrote the book of John?
Answer: The Apostle John  

Question: How does the book of John begin? (Hint: it begins like in Genesis 1:1)
Answer: "In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. "

Question: What does John 1:1 mean?
Answer: Jesus was in the beginning with God!

Question: Who is John The Baptist?
Answer: He is Jesus' cousin and the trumpet telling the people about Jesus. He also baptized Jesus and heaven broke free and the Holy Spirit descended onto Jesus.

Question: How many men did Jesus pick to be His disciples?
Answer: (1:35-51) Jesus picked 12 disciples.

Question: Why did God send his Son Jesus?
Answer: (3:17) God sent Jesus to save the world, not to judge the world, Jesus will come back at the second coming and bring judgement.

Question: What does the term Messiah mean?
Answer: (1:41) Messiah means Jesus.

Question: What was Jesus first miracle?
Answer: Turning the water into wine at the wedding

Question: What other miracles did Jesus perform?
Answer: He healed the officials son and healed the sick man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus told the sick man to pick up his pallet and walk.

Question: What day of the week did Jesus heal the sick man?
Answer: He healed on the Sabbath.

Question: What happened when Jesus healed on the Sabbath?
Answer: The pharisees were angry and try to put him in prison.

Question: What happened when Jesus went to the temple?
Answer: He got angry because the people were making His house a place of business. 

Question: What did Jesus say he would do to the temple?
Answer: He said he would tear if down and raise it back up in 3 days.

Question: Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God (1:29)? (normally the boys enjoy telling the passover story again and how Jesus saved the first born sons from the angel of death by killing a spotless lamb and putting the blood over the doorpost.
Answer: Jesus is the lamb that was slain for our sins symbolizing the New covenant.

Question: Who did Jesus meet at Jacob's well in Samaria and tell me what happened? (ch4)
Answer: Jesus met a woman at the well and he offered her living water. She accepted the water and brought the whole town to hear from Jesus.

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