A last chance to hear and understand

John 8 21-30

last chance to listenJesus tells us in St John’s gospel who he is and that he is going to die.

It’s not the first time.

But it will be the last time.

It’s almost as if he is giving us a last chance.

I heard a joke once about two little girls that tiptoed past their grandmother ‘Why is Granny always reading the Bible?’ asked Kate. ‘Ssh!’ whispered Lizzie, ‘we mustn’t disturb her! She’s cramming for her finals.’

Sometimes I feel like that when I am in church. The statistics of those coming to church reflect the average age of those attending to be 50 or over.

Is it that those under that age don’t believe in God anymore?

Is it that they don’t believe in organised religion? Church anymore?

Or is it that religion is seen as not relevant any more?

Is it that we are given so much choice that we don’t know which way to turn?

It was the same at the time of Jesus, only some believed and Jesus stood there in front of them. He performed miracles, he healed the sick in body, mind and spirit. He even raised the dead.

Yet not everyone Jesus met believed he was the Son of God. He has tried to teach them, but they still don’t believe and the time is coming where he won’t be there with them anymore. The Judeans’ do realise that Jesus is talking about dying. But they think he is going to take his own life.. They just don’t get it.. the message gets lost in translation.

They don’t realise what Jesus is saying to them, that it is them that will have him executed.

It doesn’t stop Jesus from trying to get his message across to them. In fact he keeps trying until the day they lifted him onto the cross. Even on the cross his words echoed out – ‘father forgive them, for they don’t know what they do?’

Today’s passage – tells me don’t give up trying to get the message Jesus brings across. It would be so easy to give up thinking people just don’t want to know. That the message of Jesus is irrelevant, out of date, or just for the elderly. But the message is just as relevant today as it was when Jesus was preaching it.

For children.

The message getting lost or being misunderstood is a good explanation of today’s passage for children. The people just didn’t want to know. They were like little children sticking their fingers in their ears and say ‘nah nah nah… I can’t hear you.’


A good game to start with is Chinese whispers – sitting in a ring – give a short few words of a message to the first child and get them to whisper the message to the next child, then they pass it to the next child. When you get to the end the last child has to deliver the message in a loud voice. Is the message correct?

You could cut up a bible reading, putting the pieces around the room, (perhaps putting the same reading on different coloured paper for different groups) and get the children to work in small groups to find different pieces and then working together to work out what the message is. 

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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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