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The Way: Youth Study Edition
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The Way: Youth Study Edition

by Adam Hamilton

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Travel with Adam Hamilton as he retraces the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Once again, Hamilton approaches his subject matter with thoughtfulness and wisdom, just as he did with Jesus’ crucifixion in 24 Hours That Changed the World and with Jesus’ birth in The Journey. Using historical information, archaeological data, and stories of


Travel with Adam Hamilton as he retraces the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Once again, Hamilton approaches his subject matter with thoughtfulness and wisdom, just as he did with Jesus’ crucifixion in 24 Hours That Changed the World and with Jesus’ birth in The Journey. Using historical information, archaeological data, and stories of the faith, Hamilton follows in the footsteps of Jesus from his baptism to the temptations to the heart of his ministry, including the people he loved, the parables he taught, the enemies he made, and the healing he brought.

Everything needed to conduct a 6-week study during Lent and Easter for ages 13-18. Use with the adult-level DVD.

Lent, Lenten, Lenten Resource, Lenten Resources, Lent Study, Lent Studies, Easter, Easter Study, Easter Studies

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Abingdon Press
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Way Series
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5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.20(d)

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The Way Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus Youth Study Edition

By Adam Hamilton

Abingdon Press

Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4267-5254-4


Baptism and Temptation

The Jordan River and the Wilderness

* * *

Getting Started

Goals for This Session

—Explore Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River and temptation in the wilderness.

—Understand that temptation comes to all people.

—Recognize that following Jesus can give strength in times of temptation.

Words to Know

Baptism: This word comes from the Greek word baptisma. It is a sacrament in the church and is a sign of purification or cleansing and signifies that one is a part of the family of God.

Temptation: This word comes from the Greek word peirazo. It means testing. To resist temptation means to pass the test or turn away from doing something that is wrong.


Temptations! Temptations are around us all the time. They are everywhere. Small and large temptations can stare you in the face every day. From the time we are children, we are warned about temptations, but as we grow, the temptations get bigger and can have significant consequences. Lying, cheating, drugs, sex, alcohol, and gossip are just a few of the temptations that seem to be part of life.

Think about the temptations you face daily.

• What are the temptations?

• If you give in to them, what are the consequences?

• How do you overcome them?

• Where do you find the strength to face them down?

Jesus knew all about temptations and how to fight them. And if you walk in his footsteps, you can find strength to face the temptations in your own life. Jesus knew what it was like to be tempted. He faced them in his own life. But something else happened first, and it was right at the beginning of his ministry. Jesus went to the Jordan River and was baptized by his cousin John.

Jesus' baptism showed that he was beloved of God, just as baptism is a powerful symbol for all Christians. When we face tough times—and we can be sure that we will—we can remember that we are beloved of God.

But baptism was only the beginning. Immediately after Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, he went into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. There he was tempted. He was tormented. His identity as the Son of God was questioned. He was challenged to skip the pain and the agony of the cross and was tempted to sell himself for wealth and power. These temptations come to all of us in some form or another. Because Jesus was able to face the temptations, so can we. It is not easy. Jesus spent time in prayer and focusing on God. If we do the same, we will find strength.

Exploring the Lesson

Biblical Foundation

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. (Mark 1:9-13 NRSV)

Video Presentation and Discussion (Optional)

On the DVD, watch Session 1: Baptism and Temptation.


• Qumran is the place where John the Baptist spent years studying and worshiping.

• A mikvah was a place of ritual baths.

• The Jordan River was where Jesus was baptized.

• The Mount of Temptation was the place in the wilderness where Jesus was thought to have spent forty days being tempted by Satan.


Jesus chose to be baptized by John, and it marked the beginning of his ministry. Immediately after this great experience he went into the wilderness and was tempted. Jesus' baptism prepared him for what was to come. Like Jesus' baptism, all Christian baptisms mark new beginnings and can offer strength to overcome temptation.

• How can seeing where Jesus was baptized help you?

• What are some ways that baptism, or the stories of it, can help us in our lives?

The very next place where Jesus headed was into the wilderness. On the Mount of Temptation there is a cave. Imagine Jesus sleeping in the cave, wandering in the wilderness, and facing the temptations presented to him.

• How can seeing the barrenness and desolation of the cave and the wilderness where Jesus was tempted help you when you face temptation?

• What types of temptation have you faced in your life, and how did you respond?

• Does it help to know that Jesus understands how you feel in the midst of temptations? How?

Bringing the Scripture to My Life

Seeing where Jesus was baptized and tempted can be a very powerful reminder of how to face life with strength and courage. Through baptism, followers of Jesus Christ participate in his life, death, and Resurrection. It doesn't mean our lives will be perfect or that we will not sin, but through baptism God can help you to lead a better life.

For Jesus, his baptism was a defining act. In that moment, he identified with sinners and heard God's affirmation that he was the Father's beloved son. He received the Spirit's power. And, it marked the beginning of his ministry. Jesus' baptism was an ordination in which he was set aside and empowered for his mission of drawing people to God inviting them into God's kingdom, demonstrating God's will, and ultimately laying down his life for humanity.

For us, as Christ's followers, baptism is also meant as a defining act. Through our baptism we are claimed by God, anointed with the Spirit, and set aside for God's purposes. Our brokenness is recognized and God's grace is promised. And in our baptisms we are initiated into, and become a part of, God's covenant people. We are meant to remember our baptisms each day. Even if we don't remember the act itself, we remember that God has promised to forgive our sins, that we are called to ministry that the Holy Spirit resides in us, and that we are God's children.

—From The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, by Adam Hamilton

Going Deeper in Truth

Read Matthew 26:41 (CEB)

"Stay alert and pray so that you won't give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak."

• What does it mean when Jesus says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak?

• Is it hard to pray when you are in the middle of a trial or temptation?

• How do you think prayer can help?

Read Matthew 6:13 (CEB)

"And don't lead us into temptation, but rescue us from the evil one."

• How do you feel evil in your life?

• From what temptations do you need to be delivered?

Read 1 Corinthians 10:13 (CEB)

No temptation has seized you that isn't common for people. But God is faithful. He won't allow you to be tempted beyond your abilities. Instead, with the temptation, God will also supply a way out so that you will be able to endure it.

• How has God been faithful to you when you were being tempted?

• How can you help someone who is being tempted?

Experiencing Life in Community

Discuss the idea, practice, and meaning of baptism. Talk about the different ways people can be baptized, such as sprinkling, pouring, or immersion, and about some of the differences among infant, youth, and adult baptism. Then take a bowl of water and pass it from person to person and let them dip their fingers into the water, remembering Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River and, if appropriate, their own baptism. Before you pass the bowl, offer this prayer:

Dear God, as we look at this water and touch it with our fingers, help us to recall Jesus' baptism. Help us to remember that all of us have been washed by your grace and that we are your children. Fill us with your Spirit and help us to live each day as faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Making It Personal

Here are two ways to put what you've learned into action in the coming week and beyond:

1. Spend time reflecting on baptism. Think about what it means to be a child of God. If you were baptized as an infant, ask your family about your baptism. If you haven't been baptized, think about ways your life might be changed day to day if you were.

2. List all the people in your life who you know are facing temptations. Spend time each day praying for the people on your list. Ask God to give them strength.

Wrapping Up

Listening for God

Gather as a group for prayer. Each person should think about the temptations that are faced in daily life. Think about how Jesus would have handled the temptations. Close the session by giving thanks to God for sending Jesus so he can show us the way in our lives.


The Healing Ministry


* * *

Getting Started

Goals for This Session

—Explore the Gospel stories of how Jesus healed people.

—Understand that Jesus still heals today.

—Recognize that Jesus needs stretcher-bearers to help in his healing ministry.

Words to Know

Healing: This word means to become whole or healthy.

Stretcher-Bearer: In this chapter, a stretcher-bearer is one who is willing to bring a friend to Jesus for healing.


Look at the world around you. Does it seem to be in good shape? There are definitely some good things in the world, but there are also things that are not so good. Some obvious problems involve our physical health, for example:

• Cancer

• Multiple sclerosis

• Parkinson's disease

• Injuries due to traumatic events

There is a great need for healing in our world. It is true today and it was true in Jesus' day. After Jesus was baptized and tempted, he returned to his hometown of Nazareth. There he was not well received, and his own people sent him away. So he wandered along the Sea of Galilee. As he traveled he began to heal people. Eventually he made his way to the town of Capernaum. There, Jesus taught in the synagogue, preached the good news, and healed hundreds of people.

What kind of healing did he do? Jesus healed people of their physical illnesses, and the Scriptures say he "cast out demons." These demons may have been what we now know to be neurological disorders or psychiatric illnesses. They may have been evil voices or temptations that people could not overcome on their own. Regardless of the causes, Jesus brought healing and deliverance to the people around him.

Jesus came to save the world, to heal the broken and the sick. The Scriptures tell us that he called the disciples to help him. Besides the disciples, Jesus had other helpers, whom today we sometimes refer to as "stretcher-bearers," people who carried their friends to receive healing from Jesus. Jesus said the healing took place not so much because of the friends' faith, but because of the stretcher-bearers' faith.

Who are your stretcher-bearers? For whom can you be a stretcher-bearer?

Exploring the Lesson

Biblical Foundation

Now when Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and made his home in Capernaum by the sea. (Matthew 4:12-13 NRSV)

They went to Capernaum; and when the Sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!" (Mark 1:21-25 NRSV)

As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. (Mark 1:29-32 NRSV)

Video Presentation and Discussion (Optional)

On the DVD, watch Session 2: The Healing Ministry.


• The site of the synagogue in Nazareth

• The Sea of Galilee

• The town of Capernaum

• The synagogue in Capernaum

• The home of Peter, where Jesus healed Peter's mother as well as many others, including the paralyzed man whose friends lowered him through the roof


Jesus first went to Nazareth, the town where he had grown up, to proclaim his identity and begin his ministry. However, he was rejected by the townspeople. He left Nazareth and traveled along the Sea of Galilee, toward the town of Capernaum.

• How do you think Jesus felt as he walked away from Nazareth?

• How does seeing the seashore along the Sea of Galilee help you to focus on Jesus' ministry?

As Jesus walked, he began to heal people. When he arrived in Capernaum, he taught at synagogue and healed many, many people.

• What does it mean for your life to see the places where Jesus walked, talked, preached, and healed?

• When you see the remains of the house where the paralyzed man was lowered to Jesus for healing, how does it help you imagine what happened?

• What effect can you have on another person's healing?

• Who has helped to carry you when you were sick?

Bringing the Scripture to My Life

Throughout the Gospels there are multiple stories of Jesus casting out demons, forgiving sins, and healing people. Jesus had deep compassion for those who were sick. He also healed those who had spiritual or psychological problems, such as guilt or shame. As we read about the healings, we learn that we are all in need of stretcher-bearers.

Jesus still heals hearts. He still forgives sins. He still heals our bodies, casts out demons, and sets people free. And we still need stretcher-bearers, people who will carry us and pray for us and have faith for us when our own faith is weak or nonexistent. —From The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus, by Adam Hamilton

Going Deeper in Truth

Read Luke 5:18-19 (CEB)

Some men were bringing a man who was paralyzed, lying on a cot. They wanted to carry him in and place him before Jesus, but they couldn't reach him because of the crowd. So they took him up on the roof and lowered him—cot and all—through the roof tiles into the crowded room in front of Jesus.

• What does it mean to have Jesus forgive sin?

• What sins do you need to have forgiven so that you can be healed?

Read Acts 5:14-16 (CEB)

Indeed, more and more believers in the Lord, large numbers of both men and women, were added to the church. As a result, they would even bring the sick out into the main streets and lay them on cots and mats so that at least Peter's shadow could fall on some of them as he passed by. Even large numbers of persons from towns around Jerusalem would gather, bringing the sick and those harassed by unclean spirits. Everyone was healed.

• How does it make you feel, knowing that the disciples were able to heal the sick after Jesus died, rose, and ascended into heaven?

• How do you think Jesus can use you to heal others?

Read Matthew 25:36-37, 39 (CEB)

"'I was sick and you took care of me. I was in prison and you visited me.' Then those who are righteous will reply to him, 'Lord, ... when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'"

• Who cares for you when you are sick?

• How does it make you feel to have others caring for you?

• What does it mean that when we care for the sick, we are caring for Jesus?

Experiencing Life in Community

Stretcher-Bearer Relay

Set up a relay course with obstacles of chairs, cushions, tables, and other objects. At the end of the course, put a cross. Divide into two equal teams. Teams must choose one person to be the friend, and the rest of the team will be stretcher-bearers. At a signal, the teams will work together to carry the friend through the obstacle course to the cross. Afterward, discuss how it felt to be the friend and how it felt to be a stretcher-bearer.

Helping the Stretcher-Bearers

Make a list of groups in your community who are stretcher-bearers. The list might include nurses, firefighters, and police. Think of ways you could help these groups. For instance, you might hold a toy drive so police can have toys for children who have experienced abuse. You might plan games to play with seniors at your local nursing home. You might bake cookies and take them to the fire station. Think of many different ideas; then select one activity that your group will do.


Excerpted from The Way Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus Youth Study Edition by Adam Hamilton. Copyright © 2012 Abingdon Press. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.


Meet the Author

Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, one of the fastest growing, most highly visible churches in the country. The Church Report named Hamilton’s congregation the most influential mainline church in America, and he preached at the National Prayer Service as part of the presidential inauguration festivities in 2013 and was appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Hamilton is the best-selling and award-winning author of Creed, Half Truths, The Call, The Journey, The Way, 24 Hours That Changed the World, John, Revival, Not a Silent Night, Enough, When Christians Get It Wrong, and Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, all published by Abingdon Press. Learn more about Adam Hamilton at AdamHamilton.org.

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