Transfiguration Sunday - Listen to Him

February 23: Listen to Him – Transfiguration Sunday
Matthew 17:1-9

Note to the Teacher

This lesson explores the transfiguration of Jesus and that sometimes the only response we have is awe. Youth will be invited to create their own altar in the youth room as a reminder of the holiness of God.

Time    Description of Activity

10 Min. 1. Ice Breaker - Transformers

For a beginning group exercise ask the youth to create their own transformer. If they need examples you can highlight the Power Rangers joining together to make their mega machine, or the Transformers movies where they transform from cars to massive robots.

They can begin with whatever form they would like it to be and can have it take any form and have any abilities. This will get them engaged as we talk about Jesus transforming into something that left the disciples overwhelmed with awe.

5 Min.  2. Read scripture

Our scripture passage is the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. Peter, James, and John see Jesus transformed in front of them on top of a high mountain. We hear the words proclaimed: “This is my son, whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!”

Read Matthew 17:1-9

15 Min. 3. Discussion

  • Why do you think Jesus only took Peter, James, and John, and not all 12 disciples to see him transfigured on the mountain?
  • A voice from the cloud echoes the voice spoken over Jesus at his baptism, “This is my son whom I dearly love, I am very pleased with him.” But this time, the voice adds, “Listen to him.” Why do you think the similar words of his baptism are spoken again?
  • What is the significance of the addition, “Listen to him?’
  • Why do you think the disciples fell on their faces and were filled with awe?
  • Has there ever been a time where you witnessed something and were speechless?
  • Why do you think Jesus had to tell Peter, James, and John not to be afraid?
  • Jesus commanded them, “do not tell anybody about this vision until I have been raised from the dead.” Why do you think he wanted them to wait until after he was raised before this story was told?

20 Min. 4. Activity - Design an Altar

Jesus brought these three disciples to a holy space to encounter something beyond words. Peter’s response was to build three shrines as a way to remember the holiness and power they encountered that day. While Jesus did not tell them to follow through with that plan, there is often something holy and awe-inspiring about meaningful and creative altar spaces in our churches today. The altar can bring us into the presence of the holy and can use artistic expression to convey worship that is filled with awe.

For this activity, invite the youth to create their own altar to Jesus in the youth room. The youth can work together to build a space that will tell of God’s story in your youth group. Don’t feel the need to go out and buy a lot of supplies, encourage the youth to be creative with what they find in the church.

What in the church or youth room is meaningful to them? Are there items of significance from past trips that can be placed on the altar as a form of thankfulness? Do they want to create something new from art supplies your church already has?

Allow the youth to make this altar their own creation as a way of honoring the holiness of God and the presence of God in our midst. You can leave this altar up for the coming weeks and each week youth can bring more to place there and make a holy place to worship God with awe and gratefulness.

50 Min.