‘Washed clean’ involves a simple chemical reaction which provides a great object lesson for young people. It can be used as part of an Easter presentation and provide a stimulus for further group discussion.
It’s important to practice this first and build your confidence in the science, to allow you to focus on the talk. I have included a simple outline talk as a basis for creating your own presentation.
For the demonstration you will need a large clean glass bowl, 1.5 litres of water, tincture of iodine, spray starch, photographic fixer, a clean white cloth, a piece of clear plastic and a table on which to conduct your science!
Tincture of iodine is readily available from most chemists. Spray starch from a supermarket. Photographic fixer is available from good photographic stores or can be purchased on-line. In the UK, Ilford rapid fixer (ammonium thiosulphate) is a good choice.
Before your presentation cut out a large heart shape from the white cloth. This has to be submerged in the water, so scale the size of the heart appropriately.
The cut another heart shape (the same size) from a piece of thin clear plastic. Use a paperclip or staple the two hearts together, so that the cloth retains its shape when wet. Spray the cloth heart with the starch and leave to dry.
Dilute some of the concentrated fixer solution by 1 part to 4 parts water (20% volume) and have it ready beside your demonstration.
What’s so special about Easter? Why did Jesus die on a cross? What does it mean? Was it a big mistake? Is it important? How does it affect me?
- Place the glass bowl on the table and pour in the water from a jug.
Christians believe that God created us to know him, to be connected to him, to have a friendship with him. This was to be perfect, like clear water, pure, unspoilt and unpolluted.
But mankind turned away. Our pride led us to think we were self-sufficient, we rebelled against God’s ways of living, and in our selfishness we threw God’s love back in his face. And we're still doing it today.
- Pour some of the tincture of iodine into the bowl and gently mix. The iodine turns the water an opaque brown colour.
This has blurred our understanding, polluted our relationship and broken the connection to God. It has spoilt our lives and it makes us unacceptable to a holy God.
- Place the cloth heart in the bowl. The starch reacts with the iodine and the heart turns black. Remove the heart.
There is absolutely nothing we can do to change it and the consequences our rebellion and sin, the penalty we pay, is complete separation from God in life and in death.
Ref: Isaiah 59: 2, Isaiah 64: 6, Mark 7: 21-23, Romans 3: 23
Jesus dying on a cross was no accident, not some terrible mistake. In his life, his death on a cross, his return from the dead, God himself provided the solution to restore a broken relationship.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5: 6, 8
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4: 10
- Pour in the clear solution of diluted photographic fixer until the liquid in the bowl becomes clear again.
The proof that God loves us is seen in death of Jesus. What we can’t do ourselves, God has done for us. Only the death of Jesus could satisfy the need for justice and demonstrate God's love and forgiveness. Jesus’ life was a sacrifice made by God himself to secure our freedom from the penalty of sin.
- Place the blackened cloth heart in the bowl and watch it turn white again. Washed clean!
This is the good news of Easter. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5: 17
Ref: 1 Peter 1: 18-19, Romans 3: 23-26
If you want to follow your demonstration with a small group study, check out different creative ways you can do this with the free downloadable eBook ‘Creative Bible Study Methods for Youth Leaders’
Or, explore the meaning of words used in any Bible text you may have referenced in your talk. For example,
What does ‘redemption’ (redeem) mean? How does this apply to what Jesus did? What does this mean for me?
- To buy back, to repurchase
- To rescue, ransom, or liberate from captivity
- To pay an equivalent for a debt
- To deliver, rescue or save in any manner
- To make amends for, to atone for
- To deliver from sin and its penalties by a sacrifice made for the sinner
What does ‘justify’ mean? How does this apply to what Jesus did? What does this mean for me?
- The word ‘justify’ is a legal term which means ‘to declare not guilty’. While borrowed from the legal system, it goes far beyond what any human court can do. A human court may extend mercy to someone who has been found guilty. But no human court may actually declare a defendant not guilty after he or she has been convicted of a crime. Yet this is exactly what God has done for us. However, God is not just ‘letting us off.’ In the sacrifice of Jesus the demands of the God’s justice were fully satisfied. The heart of justification can be remembered by the phrase ‘just as if I’d never sinned.’
Or, prepare a series of small group ‘open’ discussion questions. For example,
- What do you think the Bible means when it talks about sin?
- What do you think are the consequences in the world of a broken connection to God?
- Is there anything we need to do in response to the death of Jesus? (1 John 1: 8-9, John 3: 16-21)
- Why do you think the resurrection of Jesus is so important?
Build a simple wooden cross from 2 pieces of wood.
Give everyone a nail. Ask them to hammer their nail into the cross to represent getting rid of things they know to be wrong in their lives and laying them at the foot of the cross.
Invite each young person to take a stone from a bucket you filled earlier. The stone represents the weight of something they no longer want to carry in their lives. In the quietness invite them to put the stone down at the foot of the cross.
MORE EASTER IDEAS AND TALKS
For more, click on Easter ideas and talks in the category list on the sidebar.
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