Baptism of the Lord - Well Pleased

January 12: Well Pleased - Baptism of Our Lord
Matthew 3:13-17

Note the to Teacher

This lesson reflects on the sacrament of baptism. We begin with reflecting on baptism as God affirming us and being well pleased in us, and lead into a service of remembering our baptismal vows. This lesson could inspire a bunch of questions about baptism so be sure to take a moment to review the United Methodist understanding of baptism and touch base with your pastor around any questions you may have or anticipate receiving from your students.

Time    Description of Activity

10 Min. 1. Ice Breaker:

Give students paper and writing/coloring utensils. Tell them that they are going to create a fictional person in whom they would be well pleased.  They can give the person any attributes, qualities or gifts they desire, but it has to be a person in whom they are well pleased.

After a few minutes invite students to share about the person they created and what qualities that made them well pleased. If time allows, compare the persons created with Jesus. Why was God well pleased with Jesus? Are there similar qualities of the persons we created and that of Jesus or are they very different?

5 Min.  2. Read Scripture

This scripture passage shares the story of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. The heavens open up and the Spirit of God proclaims that Christ is God’s son, in whom God is well pleased. Read Matthew 3:13-17

15 Min. 3. Discussion:

  • What does baptism mean to you?
  • Invite students to reflect on their own baptism. Were they baptized as an infant or on Confirmation Sunday? If they were baptized as an infant, ask them how we can faithfully remember our baptism, when we cannot actually remember the day. If they were baptized during confirmation, invite them to reflect on what they remember.
  • Have you been a part of someone else's baptism that was meaningful for you?
  • Why do you think Jesus chose to be baptized? Did he need to be baptized?
  • What do you think it would be like to be John the Baptist baptizing Jesus?
  • After Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened up and the Spirit of God spoke, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This is part of what we proclaim at every baptism: that we are God’s children, God’s beloved and in whom God is well pleased. Why is it important that we proclaim this?

20 Min. 4. Activity and Discussion - Remember Your Baptism

The Baptism of Our Lord Sunday is a great time to do a remembrance of our own baptism. You can find a service designed for that purpose in the United Methodist Hymnal in the Baptismal Covenant IV: Congregational Reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant.

Begin by sharing with your youth that they are not being baptized but taking a moment to remember and reaffirm their baptismal vows. Receiving the water on their forehead in the sign of the cross is a reminder that we are the baptized. They are God’s children who are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

If possible, invite one of the pastors from your church to youth group and have them even lead this part of the evening. This can be a powerful way of deepening the relationships of the pastor and the youth.

If time allows, give students a Q&A time with your pastor after each of the vows to help them understand what they means in their real world. These powerful and loaded vows deserve proper attention and reflection.

If there are youth in your group who have not been baptized yet be in conversation with your pastor about how to approach this aspect of the evening.

50 Min.

Needed Resources:

Paper and pens/pencils, UM Hymnals for each person, water and baptismal bowl