School is rapidly coming to a close! Funny that it catches me off guard because it always ends at roughly the same time give or take a day or two every year. Deep down, I probably feel more urgency with my three Gospels classes than my two 8th grade sections because I'll get another shot, Lord willing, at the kids now in middle school. The rosters in my Gospels sections are filled out by youngsters I will never teach again. Back in September and October, the school years seems endless. As the calendar prepares to flip over to May, the time becomes incredibly brief. Intertwined with my curriculum and reviewing for finals, I'm also dealing with collecting/counting/sorting our Honduras/Haiti orphanage funds so I'm juggling lots of stuff. Good stuff, just a boat load of it.
On Monday, we will have Test # 10 covering three of the Savior's parables: The Two Sons, The Ten Virgins, and The Wicked Tenants. On Thursday, we spent the whole class on The Wicked Tenants. As I often do, I used a short film clip and I really liked the one posted below, relating the tenants to a modern day scenario. This is basically what I told them:
1. Jesus told this parable several different times with slightly different details.
2. This is told at the end of his ministry. Jesus view of messiah and that of many people in Israel was much different.
3. In the last week of His life, Jesus forces the issue of who He was.
4. There were many vineyards in Israel. It took much preparation to prepare land to be a vineyard.
5. The land had to be cleared, the ground had to be plowed, a hedge was built around the property, and a wine press was dug.
6. A tower was built so they could watch for trouble.
7. Often, the owners would rent the land out in return for a share of what was produced.
8. In this parable, the tenants continually refused to pay their rent and abused those sent to collect what was due. (There was quite a bit of this going on at the time in Israel.)
9. The tenants finally kill the son sent to collect the bill and the owner seeks revenge.
10. The owner is God, the vineyard is Israel, the tenants are the religious leaders, and the Son is Jesus.
a. Our responsibilities cannot be taken lightly.
b. God is patient.
c. We can’t be neutral about Jesus.
As we finished the notes in sixth period on Thursday, I heard Eme blurt something out from her desk by the mural. Eme is a junior and her twin brother, Ekwere, is also in that section. Eme is a player turned manager for our high school girls basketball team and one of the hardest workers I know. And this is what she said from her desk next to the mural:
"Now it all makes sense!"
Jesus often taught with these short stories. Sometime, they seem very straightforward and easy to grasp. Sometimes, the meaning takes some digging as Jesus' disciples asked Him for a bit of private interpretations. As a teacher, I deal with many kinds of students. Some learn the material because they want a good grade or they might not want to disappoint their instructor. But sometimes, and undoubtedly more than I realize, some youngsters are really trying to figure out what the Lord is telling us in His book, about life and preparedness, righteousness and eternity, good and evil. Eme is in the roll book of that group and her statement reminds me that she is not alone. Jesus told us not everyone would understand but I think the seekers will. Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week at WCS. We will be praised and thanked and gifted and gushed over. But the best appreciation for me was given by a sixteen year old girl who simply spoke what was on her heart. That's why you teach.
To watch the film clip of The Wicked Tenants, click on or copy/paste the link below:
Applicable quote of the day:
Everyone hears only what he understands.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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