Junior Youth: Genesis to Jesus 7: Isaiah & The Prophets

Contributed by: Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

This is the final 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. This study looks at Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus.

You will need: Bibles, charades ideas, laptop, projector, speakers, Isaiah 53 video, printed copies of Prophecies handout

Game: Butt charades

(Optional) Beforehand, write some words of cards and place these in a bag/bowl. Break up your group into two teams. Get a volunteer from each team to draw a card and spell out that word by moving their hips – spelling the words with their butts! If their team does not figure out the word after two spellings, the other team gets to guess.
If your youth aren’t feeling brave enough to spell with their behinds, then a more traditional version of charades will also work!

Link: it can be hard to get your message across! This was a problem faced by the prophets…

Telling the Future

Brainstorm together different ways of telling the future/fortune telling (e.g. astrology, pendulum reading, spirit board reading, reading tea leaves, cards, tarot reading, reading a crystal sphere, face reading and palmistry).

Ask: The Bible tells us that God hates these things – why do you think that is?

Someone may have suggested prophecy; if not, then add it now to the list.

Discuss what prophecy is. Ask: How is prophecy different from fortune telling?

Prophecy in the Old Testament

The messages of the prophets make up a huge part of the Old Testament. Get each person to look at the contents page of their Bibles and point out that the books of Isaiah through to Malachi are all the stories and messages of God’s prophets.

Explain more about prophets in the Old Testament, including:

  • The word prophet means “spokesperson”.
  • When the word “prophet” is spoken, we often think of predictions of future events, or fortune-telling, like predicting the outcome of a rugby game, or who we will marry, or some other form of gaining truth that was previously unknown to us. The Old Testament prophets acted as God’s mouthpiece for speaking His message to people, kings and entire nations.
  • In the Old Testament, a prophet was a person who was chosen by God, and speaks as a representative of God. Their messages were often to encourage the Israelites to change their ways in order to be obedient to God’s law.

Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus

Say: Isaiah was one of the main prophets in the Old Testament.  He lived almost 800 years before Jesus was born. God gave him a lot of messages for his people, and many of them were about Jesus, and what he was going to do in the future.
We’re going to watch a clip all about Isaiah 53, when God told Isaiah about how Jesus would die for our sins. As you watch, look out for things that you notice that Jesus did or fulfilled.

Discuss what they noticed in the video. You may like to get them to look up Isaiah 53 in their Bibles as well.

Give each person a copy of this Prophecies handout which shows a list of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. Allow enough time for them to look over it.

Ask: What do you think the odds would be of one person fulfilling all those prophecies?

Say: In 1944, a professor of maths & astronomy, named ‘Stoner’ (!) took on the challenge of calculating the probability of one man fulfilling only a handful of the over 300 Messianic prophecies. He figured out that the probability of one person fulfilling just eight of the specific prophecies was one chance in 1017 – that’s one followed by 17 zeros! What about the probability of that one person fulfilling just 48 of the over 300 prophecies? He calculated these odds at one chance in 10157…  there’s no way this was just chance! How incredible is that?
What’s more, there are still a lot of prophecies which Jesus hasn’t yet fulfilled, but he will when he returns. We can really look forward to that!

Prophecy today

Together, read 1 Corinthians 14:1, 3. Then ask:

  • According to these verses, who can be a prophet now?
  • What do these verses tell us about the main purpose of prophecy?
  • What are some ways God speaks to us today?

Close with prayer – you may like to spend some time asking God for a prophetic word or picture for each other, either in pairs or as a group.