As students arrive, have them join a large circle. Ask volunteers to stand and give their first name and last name and remain standing as students guess what their middle name might be. Be sure to take volunteers only as some may not care for their middle name or might not take it well if someone suggests something silly. Caution students to be kind and use only legitimate, appropriate suggestions. The volunteer may then reveal their true middle name. After several volunteers have taken a turn, ask: By a show of hands: who knows my first name? What about my last name or middle name? Call on students who raised their hands to answer the following questions:
- How did you know what my name is? (Probable answer: You have told us before.)
- Other than hearing me say my name, what other ways might someone figure it out? (Possible answers: You could hear someone else talking to me, you could ask my friends, or you could look at identification like a driver’s license or birth certificate.)
Asking “Who are you” is a simple question, but it’s an important one! We base all our interactions with other people on who we believe them to be. Sometimes, we act differently because of how others describe themselves. Knowing who another person is—well, that’s really, really important.
- How would you prove who you were to someone who had never met you before? (Possible answers: Introductions from mutual friends/parents or offering some kind of identification or paperwork.)
It isn’t always easy to tell for sure who someone is. In fact, it can be impossible sometimes! In the video you’re about to see, a very foolish young man decided to pretend to be someone he was not. He got in a lot more trouble than he bargained for!
Play this video for your preteens [3:01]:
Teen arrested for posing as FBI agent and stealing car from dealership
- Why do you think this young man tried to impersonate an FBI agent? (Possible answers: He was trying to play a prank; he was trying to steal a car.)
Knowing someone’s identity is vital in how we see them. The young man got away with this con as long as he did because the car salesman thought he knew who the young man was—but it wasn’t true. In today’s lesson, we’re going to talk about the true identity of one very, very important Person. How you choose to see this Person could be the most important decision of your life!
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
- Index cards (4 x 6-inch cards)
- Whiteboard and marker
As students are finishing their activities from the last step, remind them of the lesson focus. The identity of Jesus is, in many ways, the most important question in all of history. We know that Jesus was more than just a rabbi or a good teacher or a revolutionary leader; we believe He is God’s Son and our Savior—and that makes all the difference.
- Do you know what an acronym is? (Answer: A word that is formed by taking the initials from a string of other words, like NASA or ATM.)
One of the very first acronyms ever created was used by early Christians to identify themselves—something like a secret password. Many of you have seen a fish symbol on the bumpers of cars or in Christian images and logos; it came from an acronym about Jesus.
Most early Christians spoke Greek; the first letters of the Greek words “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” spell out the word ICHTHYS which is the Greek word for fish. It is said that the Christians used the symbol of a fish as a way to identify themselves to other Christians when they were being hunted down by authorities who wanted to put them to death. With that symbol, they were declaring Christ’s true identity: Jesus Christ is God’s Son and their Savior. The fish is still used as a symbol of Christianity today!
Pass out large index cards, scissors, and writing instruments to students. Draw the traditional ichthys symbol on the whiteboard.
Today we’re going to create ICHTHYS symbols to remind ourselves of Jesus’ true identity. Instruct your students to draw the fish symbol on their index cards. They can then cut them out. On one side of your fish, write who Jesus is. You can write, “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior” or you can write it as the acronym “ICHTHYS.” If students are interested in writing the actual Greek letters for the word, write those on the whiteboard as well: I, X, Θ, Y, and Σ.
Earlier in our lesson, we learned about many different prophecies that helped Jesus’ followers to know who He really is. Here is a list of 55 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.
Display using the following website:
55 Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus
Go through the list and allow students to pick a favorite; then have them write the verse reference on the back side of their fish symbol.
Take your Jesus fish home with you to help remind you of exactly who He is! If anyone asks what it means, be sure to tell them that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and our Savior!
Close in prayer.
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