Tent Time Devotions
Hop Into the Greatest Story Ever Told
Do You Have Ears to Hear?
Gather Bible and Tent Time Devotion, pitch your tent, bring any other items you would like to use to make this family time special.
• Take off your shoes
• The “password” to enter is to tell God something you are thankful for.
• Once everyone has entered, give God a compliment! Praise Him!
• Open in prayer. Keep it simple. Something like…
Dear God we thank you for this time that our family has come together to worship you.
We invite your Holy Spirit to join us here in this tent.
Please give us ears to hear what you would like to tell us through your word.
We love you! Amen
Listen to God’s Word – This portion of our devotion is to tell the story or set the stage to what is happening. You can read this to your children or have them read some to you. Feel free to also tell the story in your own words or just read part of the Scripture depending on their ages.
A little bit of history.
Before man was created in the beginning of time, God had a plan that He would set into motion if man chose to disobey Him and let sin into their hearts. The plan was that Jesus would come to the earth as a man and take the punishment for sin on Himself by dying on a cross. He wanted to guarantee that we could live with Him forever.
Man did sin…and many years later Jesus would come to earth as a baby. He lived and grew older until the time had come to show the world who He was and to complete His mission. When Jesus was 30 years old, He began to teach and preach in order to let the world know who He was. He chose 12 men to be His closest friends and followers. They were called the disciples. The stories of Jesus’ life were written down in 4 main books of the Bible called the Gospels. These books are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Each of these books of the Bible tells the same story in different ways.
Jesus tries to tell His friends what is going to happen.
As the time was getting closer for Jesus to die, He tried to tell the disciples and warn them about what was going to happen. The book of Mark reports three times Jesus tried to tell them.
Mark 8:31-38. Jesus tells the disciples that the leaders of the church would reject Him (call Him a liar) and kill Him. Once Jesus died on the cross, He would be dead for three days and then would come back to life.
Did they listen to Him?
NO. One of his closest friends, Peter, even told Jesus tjat He was wrong! Jesus told him to back away from Him because Peter was not thinking about God’s plans but just his own.
Then Jesus taught the rest of the people in verses 34 – 38 that whoever wants to save their life must lose it. What He is saying is that it is more important to give up the things this world thinks are important and to put the things God says are important first.
2. Mark 9:30-35. Jesus tells His disciples a second time
For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later” But they did not understand this statement, and they were afraid to ask Him.
They still didn’t hear what Jesus was trying to tell them because they were afraid and also too worried which one of them would be the greatest in God’s New Kingdom.
He began to question them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.
So Jesus taught them again and said, if you want to be first, then you must make yourself last. The greatest is the one who serves others.
Mark 10:32-45. Jesus tries to tell the disciples for a third time.
And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”
Jesus just tells His closest friends how He was going to go through something terrible. The leaders of the church were going to say bad things about Him, hit Him with a whip until He would bleed and then kill Him. Next Jesus tells them He will be dead for three days and then will come back to life.
That was some pretty scary and also amazing stuff. One would think that the disciples would have asked questions like these…
Why do the church leaders hate you? Is there anything we can do?
How are you going to come back to life? Are you afraid?
What kind of questions would you have asked to show Jesus you were listening and cared about Him?
What did the disciples say next?
In the very next sentence two of his disciples, James and John, came up and asked Jesus a question. They didn’t ask about what He had just said; instead they wanted to know if Jesus would let them be the greatest when they got to heaven. They asked for the best seats! One wanted to sit on Jesus’s right side and one wanted to sit on His left. When the other disciples heard what they had asked they all became jealous and angry. So Jesus had to pull them all together and teach them the same lesson for a third time.
Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Discussion – Use this time to talk about what you have read. How did the story make you feel? What was happening or not happening?
What was the important thing that Jesus was trying to tell his disciples?
He was trying to tell them how He was going to die. He also wanted them to know the good news that He would come back to life.
Were the disciples listening? No
How would it make you feel if you kept trying to tell your friends something very important that was going to happen to you and no one would listen?
What if they just wanted to talk about themselves instead and how your problem might make them look good. Would you think they were very good friends?
What were the disciples more concerned with when Jesus told them his story?
They were more concerned with which one of them would be the greatest or have the most power when Jesus came back to rule on the earth again.
What did Jesus have to keep trying to teach them?
The one who will be the greatest is the one who puts others first. It is more important to be a servant and help others than to demand that you should always be served.
Application – What can we learn from this story? How can we take what we learn and use it to make a difference in our family?
Everyone wants to be first.
We all love to win! We all like to be recognized for doing a good job. Is it ok for us to feel that way? Yes! Because that is how God made us. God wants us to do our best and to feel confident in ourselves when we succeed. What He doesn’t like is when we brag or boast to others about how great we are or make others feel bad if they don’t win.
Jesus told His followers that the ones who will be the greatest in His new kingdom would be those who serve others instead of demanding to be served.
How can we be a servant to others?
Serving others doesn’t mean that you have to become everyone’s slave and do whatever they say. It does mean that you are kind and helpful to others, you encourage and do things for others, and you don’t make others feel that you are better than them.
What if you are in charge of others? Can you still serve them?
What if you were a King or Queen?
Even a boss can be a servant to those who work for him or her. A good boss or teacher will help employees to be their best, give them encouragement, and be kind.
- What are some ways we can serve others at home?
- What are some ways we can serve our friends?
- What are some ways we can serve those who are not friendly to us?
Pray and Listen – Spend a quiet moment in prayer and ask God to speak to you about what you learned in Tent Time.
Are you using your ears to hear?
Jesus often told stories called parables to the people to help them understand a lesson He was trying to teach. Sometimes the people would understand and other times not. To this Jesus would say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Everyone has ears, but some of us don’t want to listen.
A person who has ears to hear is ready to learn and respectful of the one whom is teaching. We have ears to hear God when we read the Bible and pray to ask God to help us understand it. He knows that we have heard what He was saying when we obey His instructions.
Spend just a minute or two with your eyes closed and ask Jesus to show you something you can learn from His Word today. Is there someone in your life you could be more kind and helpful too? Are there times when you are more concerned about being first than caring for others? Ask Jesus to forgive you for times you were selfish and to show you a way you can put others first.
There are several ways you can close your Tent Time Devotions. Use all of these options or choose the way that is best for your family.
1. You can end with a time of sharing what you heard.
2. Encourage each person to write down what God told them in a journal.
3. Sing a praise chorus together.
4. Share prayer request with one another.
5. Ask if any member of the family needs help with something. How can you serve them?
6. Speak a blessing that God would give each person “Ears to Hear”.
A miracle ear story – Encourage your kids to look at this story on their own sometime this week.
Did you know there was another time when Peter was not listening to Jesus that he got so mad he cut off a man’s ear? It’s true! Look up this passage of scripture and find out what Jesus did.
Look tomorrow for Lesson 2.