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Bible work – on the path with Jesus

This bible works directs itself towards the life of Simon. Simon experienced highs and lows, joy, grief and despair, loss of direction, braveness, fear and failure. Despite all of this, he was on Jesus’ path. Jesus had to show him the red card quite often. Simon once failed completely – but he learned from this, he stood up and carried on the path with Jesus.

The idea for this bible work comes from the exercise book by the Brunnen-Verlags publishers "Auf der Strecke" (On The Way) by Horst Escher. Unfortunately this book does not seem to exist anymore. We have led this bible work on many a group camp. With the help of self-made traffic signs, we needed around 10-20 minutes to present each sign.

First of all, all of the situations which Simon finds himself in are explained (see the passages of the bible relating to each sign) and the relationship to the traffic sign (main thoughts) provided. In conclusion the traffic signs are opened up to the listeners: "What would you have done?", "Would you have reacted in the same way?", "Have you already experienced such a thing?", "How was it?" This bible work can be run in 3-4 sections, or as a “thought of the day” with one traffic sign per day.

The "learning target“ should be presented at the end in a conclusion of the fact that everyone, who dares to take Jesus’ path, or who is already on the path, should reckon with highs and lows, ups and downs, but despite everything, he should continue and learn from the experiences with Jesus. Simon used his time similar to an apprentice "from the apprentice to master", but he did not give up in the middle.

Conversion (Luke 5, 8-11)

Simon decides on Jesus and leaves everything behind. Jesus now sets the direction. Simon has opened himself up to Jesus and trusts him. Can we open ourselves up to Jesus today? Can we change our lives just as radically as Simon (or allow it to be changed)? Do we allow ourselves to be ruled? Do we allow ourselves to be shown the way?

Experiencing wonders (Matthew 8,14-17)

Simon is still impressed by Jesus. Simon experiences many a wonder with Jesus. Simon is full of joy. Simon is on the “right of way” street at the moment. Do we have joy with Jesus? Do we also experience (little or large) wonders with Jesus? Are you just as impressed and joyful about the whole thing as Simon was? Do you emit joy?

Fear (Matthew 14,26-32)

Oops Simon has suddenly become fearful and unsure. Just like it was before. Doubt and insecurity appeared and he got into a spin. Today we often face similar situations and believe that we have to master these situations ourselves. We often lose the overview and allow ourselves to be cornered by problems and other things. In situations where we were confident and placed our trust in God, we now become scared and insecure. Simon learned that Jesus held his head above water in this situation. If the trust in ourselves is greater, we often get into a spin.

Discussions, questions and insights (Matthew 15,15 und 18,21-22)

Simon was an inquisitive person. He often questioned Jesus. He wanted to know everything. Jesus often gave him answers, which he did not want to understand. When we ask for Jesus, if we stay in touch with him through prayer and read his word, it is similar to a telephone receiver. We speak with Jesus and we listen to him. If there weren’t any conversations, no peaceful and quiet times – how could we stay connected to him? These conversations were important to Simon. He had won a lot of insights – even if some of them only became clear later.

Triumphs and defeats (Matthew 16,15 und 19,21-23)

Simon is God’s road builder. Jesus said to him that he would build bridges and roads. He will go to the people and bring God’s word and tell them about the joy in following Jesus. Jesus had also showed him that it can sometimes become difficult. There is no motorway to get there quickly and no fast lane. No – it can become difficult and troublesome. The opponent of God – the devil – tries to hinder the road building. It is therefore not so easy to employ yourself for Jesus. What do you "work as" for Jesus? How does your building site look? Have you also experienced such bottlenecks before?

Defeats (John. 18,1-10)

It now goes downhill. Simon grabs for a sword. In his eagerness to do everything for Jesus and to engage himself 100% for Jesus, Simon reaches for his sword. Jesus says "stop - not like that!" You will never be able to win someone for Jesus with violence or tricks. In history there were, and still are, many religious wars. Jesus would also say "stop - not like that!". In our over eagerness it can happen that we also do things, which Jesus does not call good. The defeat is pre-programmed. Can you recognise your own "stop" sign?

Penance, mercy, forgiveness (John.18,15-18 und Matthew 26)

Simon had now landed in a dead end street. Simon betrays Jesus – three times and after Jesus’ prediction. Afterwards he was in such despair and totally "down". He was sorry. He was allowed to experience the complete forgiveness of Jesus. The whole story was an important experience for Simon. This had to happen to him, the one who had followed Jesus so eagerly. There are still situations today in which the cock crows. We get involved in things which God does not like. You might say now "that surely won't happen to me!" (Simon had also claimed this), but if you really think about it, maybe you will discover one or two events which were similar to Simon's. How did you manage afterwards? Was it similar to Simon's experience?

Reversal and forgiveness (John. 21,1-19)

Simon goes fishing again. He has hit rock bottom. Should he carry on? Jesus asks him three times "Do you love me?" Jesus also asks you "Do you love me?" What is your reply to this question? If the answer he yes, something is happening in your life. Just like Simon, your life takes an up turn, something happens and moves in your life. There might be many difficult phases on the road with Jesus, we often reach rock bottom. Then the deciding question comes: "You ..... , do you love me?" Depending on how you answer this question, your direction will change. If you can reply 3 times with “yes” then it can really go on with Jesus.

Authority (Apostel 2,14ff)

At Whitsuntide Simon comes of age. In other words he receives his “master craftsman certificate”. It was a long a steep climb to this point. Simon did not achieve this easily but by falling down and standing up, falling down again and standing up again. Coming of age has a lot to do with “growing up in belief” and becoming more adult and more mature in your belief. What does your authority look like? What are your specific talents which Jesus gave you and which you could employ for him (Think about the parable with the entrusted money. Make something of your talents)?

Prayer, trust and leadership (Apostel. 4,8 und 12,5-7)

Simon is prepared to go to jail for Jesus. There must have been unbelievable pressure on him, but he faces this pressure, suffers for Jesus and goes to jail for Jesus’ sake. In his prayers he learns of God’s safe leading (a safe way across the street. His trust in Jesus leads him safely along. When you pray, do reckon with something happening? Do you trust Jesus that he will bring you safely across to the other side of the street? "Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this" (Psalm 37,5).

Pastoral care (1.Petrus 1,15-16; 2.Petrus 3, 10.13.18)

Simon had stood up in service for Jesus until his last breath. He had to experience some difficult highways. If we follow the path again from the beginning, every single station was important for maturing our beliefs (to become adult in our belief) and to receive the “coming of age” from God. There had been so many situations and stations along the way, where we might have given up (lots do this), but he carried on.

Following Jesus means: experiencing triumph, standing up after a defeat, learning from Jesus, atoning and turning around (the most important turning point is: "Do you still love me?"), be at peace and listen to Jesus, and follow, be fulfilled, know, mature, trust and promise. Are you on the way?

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