This is the fifth study in the Genesis to Jesus series, exploring the key people and stories of the Old Testament, and how they point the way to Jesus.
You will need: rolls of toilet paper, large sheet(s) of paper, pens, tape/blu-tak
Beforehand, draw brick shapes on the paper to make it look like a large brick wall. Tape/Blu-tak this to a wall in your meeting room.
All wrapped up: an object lesson
Choose two people (girls work best here). Have one of the girls wrap 2-3 layers of toilet paper around the arms of the other. Then ask to see if the wrapped-up girl can break free. She will be able to easily break free.
Now invite more people to wrap up the girl with LOTS of toilet paper. If you have enough people, split them into two groups and make it a competition, giving them 4 minutes to wrap the girls. If at the end, she can’t break free, they win.
If they cannot break free, say something like, “That’s funny. She had no difficulty breaking free from the toilet paper a moment ago. It’s weird how something so small, and easy to break, can totally imprison us if there are enough layers.”
If one or both of the girls can escape, say, “That’s funny. She had no difficulty in breaking free from the toilet paper a moment ago. But this time it took a lot more effort for her to break free.”
NOTE: This will NOT work if they try to make the girls look like mummies. They only need to wrap the toilet paper around the girls’ arms, thus restraining them, and not around their entire bodies. Tell them to focus on the torso. If they try to wrap the girls’ entire bodies up, they will run out of time, run out of toilet paper, and not have enough layers to make your point. If the wrappers focus their efforts, the girls will not be able to break free.
Then say: “Toilet paper has hardly any power at all when it is wrapped around us only two or three times. But when many layers are wrapped around us, we saw that it was difficult-maybe even impossible-to break free. The same is true of sin. When we allow ourselves to be wrapped up in sin, we soon find that we cannot break free!”
Sin wall & discussion
Spend some time discussing sin with the group.
- What is sin? (e.g. When we do things our way instead of God’s way. He’s laid out a great plan for us, but we try to do things our own way. That’s sin.
As you discuss these next two questions, get them to write those sins on the paper ‘bricks’ to form a sin brick wall.
- What are some of the “sins” that you think are common in the world today?
- What sins are common for people your age?
Now stand back and look at your ‘sin wall’. Ask:
- How do you think God feels about sin?
- How does God feel about us when we sin?
- How does sin trap people (like in the game)?
- In what way can sin create a ‘wall’?
The Israelites & sacrifice
Say: “In the Old Testament, God gave his people a way of dealing with their sin – sacrifice. There were lots of different types of sacrifices for different types of sins.”
Get someone to read Leviticus 4:27-31 as an example of what was required for a sin sacrifice.
- Why do you think that God said they had to sacrifice animals for sin? (there needed to be a blood offering to pay for their sins)
- Why did they place their hand on the head of the animal? (to connect themselves with the animal being offered in their place)
- Why not sacrifice humans – surely that would be more effective? (God values human life and despises human sacrifices. Other cultures at that time commonly offered human sacrifices as part of their worship of their gods. The fact that the Israelites didn’t offer humans as sacrifice made them very different from the other cultures.
jesus & sacrifice
Explain that it wasn’t just enough to make the sacrifice, they had to repent and change their hearts too. Even then, the sin offering didn’t actually remove their sin, but God made it good enough for that time.
However he had an even greater plan in store for dealing with their sin – once and for all. And that plan was Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Ask: What was it about Jesus that made him the perfect sacrifice to take away our sins? (He was pure, holy, without sin, the son of God but also one of us)
Read Hebrews 10:8-10
- unlike the animal sacrifices which couldn’t take away sins (see v4), Jesus’ sacrifice for sin was actually effective in taking away our sins (v10).
- Jesus’ sacrifice abolished the need for us to keep making sin sacrifices (v9b) – he changed everything. Because his sacrifice was once and for all (v10)
Look at your sin wall again (from earlier) and explain that sin is like a barrier, separating us from God. But when we put our trust in Jesus and his sacrifice for our sin, he destroys that barrier once and for all. We are no longer separated from God.
Then get them to rip up and destroy the wall!
After the wall has been ripped up, get them to take one piece of the destroyed wall as a reminder that Jesus has destroyed the power of sin. Invite them to write a prayer on the reverse side of that piece, thanking Jesus for his sacrifice that has dealt with their sin, once and for all.
You might also like this interactive prayer resource, ‘The Wall’