Do you know someone who is very powerful? Does that mean he or she is physically strong? Or does power mean something else? We can see power depicted in superhero movies or on an athletic field, but sometimes a person’s power can be used to rescue the weak or forgotten. One powerful man in Africa used his influence to do something merciful for a group of helpless people.
Share this video with your students [1:17].
32 Ethiopians Return Home After Being Freed in Egypt
When you’re finished viewing the news story, discuss the following questions with your class:
- How did the freed prisoners react to their rescue? (They were grateful, relieved, and excited to be going back home after their ordeal.)
- Can anyone define the word “mercy”? How did this prime minister use mercy to intervene in this situation? (Mercy means “having the power to punish, but showing compassion or forgiveness toward someone instead.” A political leader might have the power to harm others, but this time, we see someone powerful reaching down to rescue a desperate group instead.)
- Can anyone share when someone of influence has shown you mercy? (Answers will vary, but students might recall a teacher, parent, coach, etc. who withheld punishment and was able to extend forgiveness and care toward them.)
It might seem that mercy and power are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but we’re going to explore the amazing ways that Jesus demonstrates both.
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
- Internet access
- Dumbbell printouts cut apart (1 per student; template found here has 2 per page)
Before class, print out enough dumbbell graphics so that each student has one (the template can be found here; note that there are two graphics per page). Cut each page in half.
One of the most fragile things around is an egg. Sometimes we are a lot like eggs—we need gentle care and handling to keep our fragile selves safe and secure. God is very powerful, but He also shows mercy toward His children. Let’s see if an egg can withstand a powerful force without cracking.
Share this video with your students [0:59]
Impossible Egg Crush
After watching the video, share the information given on the website to explain this phenomenon. When you’re finished, discuss the following questions together.
- How can we see God’s character reflected in this experiment? (He holds us in the palm of His hand, He has the power to destroy, but He never allows more than we can bear, etc.)
- Do you ever stop to thank God for His mercy? Do you think we ever take it for granted? (It is easy to forget how He has rescued us—and does it daily. We must remind ourselves that His power and mercy are infinite.)
- Does God’s mercy mean that He never disciplines us? (Like a good parent, God disciplines us for our own good. That does not diminish His mercy; in fact, discipline is mercy to keep us from going the wrong way and doing great harm to ourselves and others.)
Give your students some homework for the coming week. Hand out a copy of the dumbbell graphic to each student. Instruct them to label one end of the dumbbell MERCY and the other end, POWER.
Even when we don’t realize it, people are showing us mercy every day. This week I want you to take home this dumbbell and write on it. When someone shows you compassion, like giving you a second chance to finish a school assignment or your sister does a chore for you, write it down on the MERCY side.
When you’re reminded of something God has done for you in His amazing power and strength, write it down on the POWER end of the dumbbell. For example, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, write down how His sacrifice has saved you. If He answers a prayer for you or someone you know, write it down. If He protects you from a dangerous situation, write it down. If you see a display of His power in creation this week, write that down, too.
Before class is dismissed, remind them to bring back their mercy/power papers next week to share with the class. Consider choosing two students to close in prayer by thanking God for each of these amazing attributes.
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