Junior Youth: Light vs Dark

Contributed by: Charlie Baker, Diocese of Auckland

‘Light vs Dark’ is the fourth session in a teaching series called ‘Light/Dark’. Throughout this series, your youth will discover more about Jesus as the Light of the World, his victory over darkness on the cross, and the transforming power of his light in our lives… all through the lens of Star Wars!

In this session, you will explore Jesus’ victory over death, sin and darkness through his death on the cross.

Key Scripture: John 1v5

You will need: tables, cups, paper for the game (optional), AV equipment, images of Jesus’ life, Bibles

Game – Stacker Battle (optional)

Divide your group into two teams within a square playing area. Each team has a table, a stack of paper or plastic cups and a couple of old newspapers. Each team designates two ‘builders’. The rest of the team become ‘throwers’ or ‘defenders’ within the area. Teams must attempt to build the highest stack of cups possible within the time limit while fighting off paper balls. The builders build, the throwers try and knock over the other team’s stacks and the defenders stand in the middle taking the brunt of the paper.

Introduction

Briefly recap the topic the topic of Light/Dark and the key verse for the series “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1v5).

Watch this epic battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.

EPIC BATTLES

The moment Jesus came into our world, the most epic battle of all time began. Light v Dark. Good v Evil. The Light of the world versus the prince of darkness. Jesus v Satan.

From when Jesus was born, Satan did everything he could to take him out. He wanted to put an end to this God-man, this shining light that he couldn’t stand. And so began a series of epic battles between light and dark.

Display images for each of the following battles. Ask your group to identify the ‘battle’ from the image and add any extra details to help them understand  how this was a battle between light and dark:

  1. BABY/ESCAPE TO EGYPT: When Jesus was born, he had Herod command all the baby boys to be killed – but God protected Jesus and he escaped to Egypt with his parents.
  2. TEMPTATIONS: When Jesus was about to begin his mission of sharing the good news about God, Satan tempted him with everything he could think of to get him to reject the light and choose the dark side, but Jesus rejected his ways and chose God’s ways.
  3. ANGRY CROWD/LEADERS: When Jesus started teaching and performing miracles, he turned the religious leaders against Jesus, they tried to stone him and turn people against him. And when that failed, they plotted to kill him.
  4. JUDAS: One of his closest friends Judas betrayed him, and handed him over to the authorities
    (Build up to the cross, saying: The battles kept on escalating as the prince of darkness tried to extinguish the light, until the final, most epic battle of them all…)
  5. THE CROSS: They falsely accused him, sentenced him to death and nailed him to a cross.
    Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 27: 45: “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

    • Also read John 19:30: “Jesus said “It is finished”. With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
  6. THE TOMB: They buried him in the tomb… There was crying, confusion, despair. The light of the world had been extinguished. It looked like darkness had won… But then Easter Sunday happened.
    • Ask a volunteer to read Matthew 28:2-4: “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.”
  7. THE EMPTY TOMB: Jesus rose from the dead.

Say: Remember what John said? “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” God fought back. What looked liked death and darkness’s victory was actually their downfall – Satan had never had the upper hand at all.  It was all part of God’s rescue plan, God’s plan to save us.  God used it to get his victory. Through Jesus’ death on the cross, God conquered death and darkness once and for all. The Light won.

the battle has been won

This was where Satan got it wrong: he thought he had a chance, he thought he could actually beat God. But light and dark aren’t opposite and equal sides. It’s not like Star Wars, with the Rebels and the Empire, the two equal but opposite sides of the force.  That’s not how it is with God. Where there is light, the darkness can’t exist. Darkness stood no chance against God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, through everything that happened at Easter, he completely conquered sin and death and darkness.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:57: “In a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!”

Now where Jesus is, Satan has no power, sin has no power, death has no power; God has the power, God has victory.

Read James 4v7: “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.”

So in our world, there is not an ongoing struggle for power between light and dark – there is a clear winner. And when Jesus comes again, he will completely put an end to the darkness forever. So when we choose the light, we choose the winning team. The darkness doesn’t have a chance, it only has power if we choose to let it. The battle between light and dark has been won.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

prayer – Let there Be light

Wherever you see darkness, invite Jesus into that situation to shine his light, because where his light is, the darkness has to flee. The situation may not change in an instant, but we know who will win in the end, because the battle has been won.

Write a prayer to God about darkness in your world (you may like to give some examples, or refer back to the situations they came up with in Light and Dark in the World), asking Jesus to shine his light. Play ‘Let There Be Light’ in the background while they write their prayers.