The Season of Lent begins 46 days before Easter Sunday and ends on the Saturday before Easter.
Lent provides an opportunity for leaders and students to set aside time and reflect on their relationship with God.
Use this Youth Group Lesson on Lent, based on Matthew 4:1-11, to encourage students to draw close to God and resist the temptation to sin.
– Nick Diliberto, Ministry to Youth
YOUTH GROUP LESSON ON LENT
Written by Eric Mendoza
Bible: Matthew 4:1-11
Bottom line: Draw close to God and resist the temptation to sin.
- 2 Hand towels
OPENING ACTIVITY: TOWEL TAIL SNATCHERS
Divide your students into two teams of equal size.
Have each team form a straight line and give each team a hand towel.
HOW TO PLAY THE GAME
Say: This is going to be an exciting game that will require cooperation and teamwork from your entire group.
Go ahead and grab the person’s wrist in front of you and the person behind you.
The person at the front of your line will be “the grabber,” and the person at the end is going to be “the tail.”
The last person in line will tuck a hand towel into their belt (or pants).
The object of the game is for the person at the front to grab the towel tail from the end of the other line.
Everyone has to stay connected throughout the entire game.
You will have one minute to strategize before we begin the game.
The first team to remove the other team’s towel tail wins the game!
Play as many times as time allows.
Say: Today, we are going to talk about Lent.
Lent is a time set aside to examine where we are in our relationship with God… to take a look at areas of in our lives where we might be allowing sin to take root.
Sin separates us from God, so it’s important to realize when we have sin in our lives.
Lent is a period of time right before Good Friday and Easter Sunday when we celebrate what Jesus did on the cross to defeat the effects of sin and allow us to be free.
During this time, we reflect on what Christ did for us.
The concept of Lent is to open our hearts to God through prayer, fasting, confession and giving to those in need as we await the Holy Week to begin.
Traditionally, Lent lasts forty days and is taken from the passage of Scripture we will read today found in Matthew.
These verses talk about the forty days that Jesus fasted in the desert. Let us go ahead and read our passage.
Read Matthew 4:1-11.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
Ask: So, tell me, what did Jesus do for forty days?
Allow a few responses from students.
The Bible does not tell us exactly what took place during that forty days.
What the Bible does tell us is that Jesus was baptized and then immediately the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness.
For forty days Jesus fasted.
Fasting is abstaining from food (or some other necessity) to grow closer in your relationship with God and is practiced by many Christians.
Fasting is a way of denying ourselves a fundamental need to live to remind us that our true life source is found in Christ.
You can fast, but I recommend speaking with your parents or pastor to gain better understanding before you practice this discipline.
In the verses we just read, Jesus spent forty days praying and drawing closer to God.
I challenge you to take this period of Lent and draw closer to God.
Spend time in prayer and confession, allowing God to refine you – to reveal the areas of your life where you may not be depending on Him and trusting in His strength.
Remind yourself what Christ did for you on the cross and prepare yourself to receive the grace you don’t deserve as we approach the Easter season.
Ask: What do you think it would be like if you didn’t eat for forty days?
Jesus fasted for forty days, and after those forty days, the passage tells us – He was hungry.
That’s no surprise – of course, He was hungry!
But then, we see Satan come into the picture.
Satan is the ultimate deceiver and his plan was to tempt Jesus to sin, but we know that Jesus is perfect and without sin.
Satan tempted Jesus and it is very crucial that we understand how Satan tempted Jesus because Satan is still trying to do the same thing thousands of years later.
- Satan tempts by trying to meet our physical needs and desires.
In verse 4, Satan told Jesus that if He was the Son of God He could turn stones into bread.
Satan was pretty much saying, prove you are God by turning these stones into bread and then you won’t be hungry anymore.
Jesus had just spent forty days fasting and communicating with God, so he answered Satan by quoting scripture to him.
In verse 6, Satan says if you are the Son of God throw yourself off the temple and surely God will save you.
Satan tried to use Scripture against Jesus this time, but Jesus knew his schemes.
Jesus answered back with even more scripture.
Satan will do his very best to deceive you.
He might even try to trick you into testing God.
Maybe Satan is already doing this in your life right now.
Don’t let him deceive you.
This time of Lent is a great time to look at your life and ask yourself if there is an area where Satan is leading you astray, then turn from his deception.
Turn to God’s Word and turn to God in prayer.
- Satan tempts us with possessions, power, and pride.
In verse 8, Satan took Jesus to the very high mountain and said that all of this could be His if he would fall down and worship Satan.
Jesus answered back to him by telling him to go away and once again fires back with more scripture.
Then Satan left, and angels came down to Jesus.
There will be times in your life where Satan will deceive you into thinking you need more than what you have.
Satan might deceive you into thinking that power is all you need, or money, friends, or possessions.
Satan will try to push your emotional buttons and cause you to lean on your pride.
This is a fact of life because it happened to Jesus.
Ask: So, what can you do, knowing that Satan is going to try an deceive you?
Do what Jesus did.
Look to your Bible for answers and if you know something goes against God’s standards, don’t do it.
Remember that we have Jesus who was the perfect sacrifice and can empathize with you.
Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin.
Instead the perfect man Jesus went to the cross and died for your sin.
It is only fitting that we take this time of Lent and examine ourselves.
This time of examination should cause us to turn away from sin and turn to Jesus.
We need to be reminded of what He did for us.
We shouldn’t rely on our physical needs or desires.
We need to depend on the promises of God by turning to Him.
Close in prayer.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
- What is Lent?
- What is the purpose of Lent?
- What can you do during this time of Lent?
- Why is it necessary to examine our lives?
- Why is it significant that Jesus didn’t eat for forty days?
- How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptation?
- What are some things that Satan tempts you with?
- How can you know that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice?
- What are some things that you need to turn away from?
- Where should we turn to if we need help during this time of Lent?
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