The Journey to Jerusalem (March 3-31)

Teaching in General

Telling the Story
Kathryn Chapman, my Childhood Education professor, said that one of the most important tasks of a children’s Bible teacher was to tell the Bible story really well. Then she gave examples of how a Sunday School teacher at her church told the story each week in different ways that conveyed the story accurately and held the children in rapt attention. I think the same could be said for teaching adults. This unit contains five biblical stories that we can help bring to life for our class members.

Here are some thoughts on internalizing the story so that it can be retold. This article comes from GoTell, a group whose mission is to equip biblical story tellers (

Learning the Story “by Heart”
Amelia Cooper Boomershine, GoTell Communications

Prepare to enjoy
There are different ways to learn a story. You will find the ways that work best for you. It’s great if you have someone to teach you, or others to work with, but often you’ll be on your own. Here is one approach to learning a story by heart. The goal is to “internalize” the story, not just to “memorize” it. It is to have the story become a part of who you are so you can tell it naturally. This takes time, so give yourself time. Relax and enjoy the process. The Spirit gives breath for life and storytelling...Remember to breathe.

Learn the storyline
1. Read the story through, out loud, to get the sounds of it into the air.
2. Read it again. Say the words slowly enough that you can visualize the story in your minds’ eye,
pausing after each sentence in order to allow an image to form.
3. Decide what the structure of the story is: how can it be broken into “episodes” (scenes or episodes)?
4. Write or type the story in sense lines and episodes.
5. Give each episode a title; underline verbal threads; circle characters; draw squares around notices of
setting (time/place); list key words.
6. Create a simple storyboard outlining the structure of the episodes.
7. Stand up and move through the story, telling the basic story to an imaginary audience. Go all the way
through, even if you have to make up parts. Then your imaginary audience can prompt you, using the storyboard only (not the full written story).

Learn the words
1. One episode at a time, work on getting those words off the paper and into your head. Practice, repeat, do gestures, say it while you walk or drive, going to sleep or waking up. It does require mental work and time, but it really IS possible! If it is hard for you, just learn a little at a time, saying a sentence over and over and making a chant, song, drama or game out of it.
2. Pray the story or whatever episode you are currently working on. Breathe deeply; ask God for breath and peace. Tell God what you know of the story. God knows the rest so don’t worry if you forget something. Listen to what God might want to tell you. Thank God for the story.

Explore original sounds and meaning
Once you have a good handle on the storyline and its words, explore how the story would have been told by the original storytellers and how it would have been understood by the people who first heard it. Look up key words in Bible dictionaries, consult commentaries, study maps and other graphics. Check out the Internet for resources. The commentaries will be more interesting and easier to read since you know the story. Reflect on how the original sound and meaning impacts and perhaps amends your understanding of the story.

Connect with the story
Review each episode of the story and consider how it connects with your life. What were the dynamics happening for the people then and there, especially the spiritual dynamics? Explore how you said things when you were in a similar circumstance: e.g., afraid, angry, Are there ways these same dynamics have been present for you? What questions arise in the story and how would you answer them? In whatever way you process things, do so in creative response; for example, journaling, poetry, drawing, sculpture, music, dance.

Tell the story
Tell the story to yourself, to another person, or to a small group. There is nothing like telling the story to learn it in your heart.

Storytelling Helps and Audio Examples from GoTell for the Stories in this Unit
1.    March 3 (Luke 13:1-9):
2.    March 10 (Luke 15:1-3, 11b-32):
3.    March 17 (John 12:1-8):
4.    March 24 (Luke 19:28-40): None available
5.    March 31 (Luke 24:1-12):

Introduction to the Unit

Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem
Luke writes that, “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51). Jerusalem is the end of the road (crucifixion) and the beginning of the road (resurrection and birth of the church). Journey is a symbol. The journey is a physical and spiritual journey. This Lenten season is a great time for us to think about our spiritual journey.

Richard B. Vinson says this about the Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, “Here begins Luke’s journey section, wherein Jesus travels from Galilee to Jerusalem, a distance of approximately 85 miles and 408 verses, if you count the journey’s end at 19:28. But Jesus does not actually enter Jerusalem until 19:45, when Luke has him going into the temple. If we count that as the end of the journey, it has covered most of 10 chapters and 425 verses. By contrast, Mark’s Jesus takes the express train, covering the same distance in one chapter; Luke’s Jesus takes the local, stopping at every cattle crossing along the way” (Luke: Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys Publishing, 2008, p. 304).

Notable as we journey as a church toward Jerusalem:

•    Tommy is preaching a Lenten sermon series, “A Great Walk of Faith,” as we journey toward Easter.

•    Devotionals to aid you and your class members on this spiritual journey to Jerusalem can be found online, “Journey to the Cross,” at

•    Palm Sunday is March 24.

•    The Children’s Easter Celebration is Palm Sunday, March 24 at 2:00 (note this is a different day and time than in the past)

•    Maundy Thursday service is March 28.

•    Easter Sunday is March 31.