Have arriving students remember a victory they have achieved in their life and invite willing volunteers to share about this victory with the large group once everyone arrives. Some examples might include: Competing in a spelling bee, presenting a project successfully in front of a large audience, winning a sporting event, performing flawlessly in a concert program, etc.
After students are all in place, call on volunteers to share their stories of victory. Be prepared to share your own story.
When sports teams win a game, they often take what is known as a “victory lap.” The players on the team grab a symbol of their sport, such as a soccer ball or country flag if it is an Olympic event, and the entire team runs around the edge of the field near the fans so all can celebrate the win together.
The video clip we’re watching today happened before you were born at the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta. The U.S. held a tiny lead over the Russians in a sport where the Russians usually dominated and the U.S. had never won. The first four American gymnasts landed their vaults, but were docked points for various errors; the next gymnast fell twice. Kerri Strug was the last gymnast to vault for the States. Strugs tore two ligaments in her ankle when she landed the vault, but her coach told her they needed her to go one more time. Let’s watch what happened.
Show your students this video [1:12]:
Kerri Strug Vaults at Atlanta 1996 | Epic Olympic Moments
When she landed the second vault, Strug said something in her ankle snapped again and it “felt like a bomb went off.” She collapsed in pain, but her effort cinched the gold for the U.S. Her coach ran over, snatched her up and carried her in a victory lap.
- If you had injured your ankle on the first jump, do you think you would have attempted to vault again? Why or why not? (Answers will vary.)
- What is memorable about Strug’s victory lap? (Strug was carried along in the arms of her coach; her coach, all of her team members, and all Americans shared in the victory that day.)
Strug did not let her injury stop her from pursuing victory. Her team was so close to an Olympic gold team medal, Strug knew she had to power through her injury for the good of her team. All Americans shared the victory that day.
Today we’re going to talk about a shared victory that affects everyone everywhere—a far greater victory than Olympic gold. Let’s see how this applies to us today.
Remembering Kerri Strug’s Vault into the Spotlight (on a Bad Ankle) at the 1996 Summer Games:
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In I Corinthians 15:3-7, Paul is encouraging the Corinthian church to live out the fact that Jesus rose: we share the victory! The Corinthian church was following Jesus and Paul wanted to encourage these church members in the truths that they already knew. Jesus rose and that is why, as believers, we can all experience victory in the Christian life.
As we saw in the video we watched at the beginning of today’s lesson, when sports teams win a game they often take a victory lap. As Christians, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is our victory lap! All credit goes to Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection, yet, we get to join in the lap of celebration because we have placed our faith in Him. What a celebratory lap that is!
Have a short time of prayer requests. If students feel comfortable, have them share something they are struggling with that could be handed over to Jesus so that He can have victory over it. For instance: a relative’s illness, stress over tests or projects at school, a sporting event, a non-believing friend’s lack of faith, a sick pet, a person who is being bullied, etc.
- How does Jesus have victory over all of these situations? (Invite students to share. Answers will vary. Help students see that Jesus’ resurrection gives us the ability to face adversity head on, with courage, because we know He is victorious.)
Watch the following video together [5:33]:
Victory is Yours (Official Lyric Video) – Bethel Music | VICTORY
Invite your students to think of a personal struggle they are going through. Ask them to think of ways they can “take a victory lap” with Jesus over this situation this week and in the weeks ahead. Examples might be to worship God in song declaring His victory, write a letter to Jesus thanking Him for winning the victory over the situation, pray about the situation thanking Him for having it in His control, draw a poster for their room or locker using symbols that declare Jesus victorious, etc.
If it seems appropriate, pair up your students and invite them to talk with one another over the next week about how Jesus can be trusted to be victorious in whatever situation they are facing. Students can text, call, email, mail or talk with each other this week to find encouragement in what Jesus has done on their behalf to give them victory in any and every situation. Be sure each student has a partner. If a few seem reluctant to connect with others, take down their contact info and communicate with them yourself some time during the week.
Close in prayer thanking Jesus for what He did for each of us in dying on the cross and in His victorious resurrection. Jesus rose: we share the victory!
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