Here’s an object lesson used for elementary aged kids, but it could easily be adapted to older students. It does very well at getting and holding their attention. I’m sorry I don’t have any pics or video of it. Maybe if anyone finds it on here and uses it, you could send me some. Especially video. (hint, hint) Allow yourself plenty of preparation time for this one.
You’ll need to select one of your students ahead of time to assist you in this lesson, and rehearse it well. I used a boy, but a girl could do it also. Make sure the child doesn’t have claustrophobia, for reasons which will become apparent.
When starting the lesson, ask the kids if they would like to have a magic show today. They’ll say yes. Have your helpers bring out a trunk big enough to hold a kid, and set it up front where everyone can see it. Say, “Would you like to see someone escape from this trunk?” You’ll really have their attention now. Ask your selected student to come forward. Then say, “I’m going to put “Billy” in this trunk and lock it. Then he will attempt to escape.” Open the trunk and tilt it forward to show that it is a regular trunk with no trap doors or escape hatches. Then ask Billy, “Are you nervous?” He should say something like, “A little, but I’ve seen this on TV before. It looks easy.” Then say, “OK, then, let’s get you inside.” Billy steps into the trunk and lays or crouches down. You then close the lid over him, and lock it with a padlock. Then say, “OK, in just a few moments, Billy will escape.” The child should then move around inside the trunk, making sounds like he is trying to get out. After a few seconds, ask, “Billy, aren’t you going to escape.” He keeps moving around and says, “I’m trying.” Wait a few more seconds and say, “Come on, Billy, we’re all waiting out here.” Billy should then stop struggling and say, “I thought I could get out by myself, but I can’t. I need help.” At this point, say, “Kids, this is exactly what the devil does to us. He makes sin look like so much fun, and that we can get out just as easily as we got in. Billy got into the trunk very easily, but now he’s locked in and can’t get out. That’s what sin is like. It’s so easy to get into, but we can’t get ourselves out of it.” Then read John 3:16 to the class. Say, “God knew that we were going to be trapped in sin, just like Billy is trapped in this trunk. He also knew that we would need someone to release us from sin’s hold. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to provide us with a way of escape. All we have to do is ask Jesus to release us from sin, and come to live in our heart.” Then turn to the trunk and say, “Billy, would you like to be set free?” He should say yes. Reach into your pocket and pull out a key attached to a large keyring that says “Jesus”. Hold it up for the kids to see and say, “Jesus is the key that sets us free.” Then unlock the padlock, open the trunk and let the child out. Ask the class to applaud him for asking Jesus to set him free.
[Ed. Note: Okay, I may be stating the obvious, but use your best judgment here. We don’t want to be locking youth in boxes that A.) have no holes from breathing and B.) we’ve lost the key to. The “trap” concept is good, but if you can, find a better “trap” than a trunk. My suggestion would be a child’s playpen that you can turn upside and sit on top of or something similar.]