Why present Jesus in the context of His times?

Why is it important to present Jesus in the context of his times?

“If we settle for a superficial understanding of who (Jesus) was and what he intended, we end up preaching a superficial gospel. The ‘everybody knows’ version of Jesus too easily carries an individualistic, consumer-oriented appeal… this makes worship superficial, for we miss the grandeur of Jesus’ character and ministry. Jesus would never have recognized faith lived apart from history and place and neighbors – and neither will we, if we are grounded in his life.” – Tim Stafford, Surprised by Jesus

“…our proper relation to the Bible is not that we examine it from the outside, but that we indwell it…we live in the biblical story…and from within that indwelling try to understand and cope with the events of our time and the world about us and so carry the story forward…This is our story, and it defines who we are.” – Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society

The purpose of my Jesus curriculum is to embed the events of Jesus’ life and His teaching into the context of His times in order to show how God revealed His love through Jesus.

My hope is that by seeing and hearing Jesus in the world of ancient Palestine, students and their teachers will be deeply touched by the profound beauty of God’s love and that they will better understand “how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is” (Ephesians 3:18).

During this thirteen-week study, I want the children to see that God revealed His love by:

  • coming to be with us as a human
  • experiencing what we experience
  • letting himself be tempted just like we are
  • inviting us to come and see for ourselves
  • sending His Son not to blame us but to save us from blame
  • letting us know anyone can worship Him anywhere
  • promising to help people who are ignored, mistreated, and disrespected
  • forgiving sin
  • sending Jesus to show what God is like
  • giving people hope that His love is for everyone, everyday
  • loving even His enemies

-adapted from the Introduction to Jesus: His Life, His Times, His Message, a Bible class curriculum for ages 8-11. © Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.