Confirmation Circle Group Guide

God Raised This Jesus From The Dead

Introduction

Inform students that today we will be exploring the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection, Read to them this excerpt from the Brief Statement of Faith about it:

God raised this Jesus from the dead,

vindicating his sinless life,

breaking the power of sin and evil,

delivering us from death to life eternal.

Remind them that last week we heard 10 “propositions” about the Resurrection. See if any of them remember any of those propositions.

The resurrection in propositions? May the poets forgive me!

There are historical difficulties with the story

MYSTERY

Historical but not historically demonstrable; historically falsifiable but not historically verifiable.

Faith is the point

We’re talking about a body

The cross still matters

No vengeance

The resurrection wants witnesses

There is more to come

Inform them that today we’re going to spend time with one of the stories of the Resurrection from the Bible.

Also, please remind them that next Sunday is Easter, so there won’t be Confirmation again until April 8th.

Work

Divide your circle into three groups and have them gather in different parts of the room. Give each group one of the copies of Mark 16. Each copy is different--try not to let the groups notice that--so remember which group got the long one (v. 1-20) , the medium one (v, 1-9 ending with “eternal salvation”), and the short one (v. 1-8).

Instruct the groups to read Mark 16 together. Tell them that they will have 10 minutes to prepare to tell the story to the rest of the Circle from memory, without the paper.

As the groups work, move among them to see how they’re doing.

Call them all back together. Have the group with the shortest version go first, then the medium, then the long.

Note the groups’ reactions when they realize that they haven’t all been working with the same version of the resurrection story.

Once all the groups have gone, explain that they’ve each been working with a different version of the ending of Mark’s gospel. Some early manuscripts end with “for they were afraid,” while others end with “eternal salvation” and still others (most, actually) go all the way through “the signs that accompanied it.” So not only do we have four different resurrection stories from four different gospels, one of those gospels has three different endings!

Processing:

Work                Creative Writing/Drawing

Work with the “for they were afraid” ending of the gospel. Have someone in the group re-read it to everyone. Then instruct everyone to spend 5-10 minutes in a writing or drawing exercise:

Writing. In the persona of one of the Mary’s who went to the tomb and saw the person in white and were told to go share with his disciples that Jesus “has been raised” and that he will meet them in Galilee, write a note to the disciples describing what you experienced and advising them on what they should do.

Drawing. Imagine you are one of the Mary’s. In trying to share what happened to the disciples you just can’t get the words out you’re so terrified. But you can draw. So draw a picture of the scene you found in the tomb and what you think it means.

Summation

Ask students to share what they think the story of the Resurrection is, essentially, in 20 seconds or less.

Prayer

Close the time with this prayer:

Almighty God, through the rising of your Son from the grave, you broke the power of death and condemned death itself to die. As we celebrate this great triumph may we also make it the model for our living.

Amen.

Mark 16

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

Mark 16

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.

Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.