Two hands with open palms holding a twig cross which is the craft for this What Is My Cross? lesson plan on dying to self.

About This Lesson Plan on Dying to Self

This What Is My Cross? lesson plan on dying to self is based on Matthew 16:21-27. It helps teens understand what it means to “take up your cross” and gives them some concrete ideas of how they can do this.

This reflection would work well in conjunction with Stations of the Cross if time allows. If you will not be doing Stations of the Cross, spend more time discussing what the crosses in our lives might be.

Beforehand, gather up some twigs and twine to make small crosses to take home as reminders of this discussion.

Opening Game for What Is My Cross?

Start this lesson plan on service by playing Crossed Up Jam Up (see the complete instructions).

Follow up with a couple of questions:

  • Which command was the most difficult?
  • Did you have a strategy for getting through the middle?

Sometimes we know where we need to go, but getting there is a challenge. And other people can get in our way.

Jesus knew he had to go to Jerusalem and he knew he would suffer there. Let’s read more.

Scripture Reading for Lesson Plan on Dying to Self

Matthew 16:21-27 (Jesus talks about suffering) – the for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.

Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.”

He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

Matthew 16:21-27

Discussion for What Is My Cross?

Jesus was heading to Jerusalem, where he knew he would die. He did this willingly, out of love for us.

What does Jesus mean when He says we must take up our cross and follow Him? Sometimes we think that our crosses must be big things, like somebody is dying or having to move to a new city. But these aren’t things we all experience.

Crosses can be little things also:

  • Doing our homework
  • Changing the subject when someone starts gossiping
  • Getting chores done without being asked
  • Staying calm when siblings are being annoying
  • Staying away from inappropriate thoughts and words online

All of these things are difficult. But we know they are the right things to do. Jesus has shown us that love often involves sacrifice. We must let go of what we want to do in order to do what is most loving. That is what he means when he talks about dying to self.

Reflection Questions for the Dying to Self Lesson Plan

  • What are some of the crosses in your life right now?
  • Does it help to see our response to these challenges as an act of love instead of just doing them because we have to?
  • How can we support each other as we carry our crosses?

Challenge for the What Is My Cross? Lesson Plan

Have each teen make a small cross by fastening two twigs together with twine.

Take these crosses home and place them where you will see them. These crosses should serve as a reminder to carry our crosses willingly out of love. When you are confronted with something which you know you should do, but which is a sacrifice, look at this twig cross and remember to take up your cross.

Prayer for the Lesson Plan on Dying to Self

If time allows, pray the Stations of the Cross.

Otherwise, conclude by praying the Suscipe (Take Lord Receive) prayer.

More Resources

Dying to Live

Jesus tells us that unless a grain of wheat dies and falls to the ground, it will remain just a grain. Help youth consider the question of how death can lead to new life.

Lead Me To The Cross

This song goes really well with this What Is My Cross? theme.






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