From Rooted Reservoir: Greek Mythology and Freedom From Idolatry


One of the many practical features of Rooted Reservoir, our always-growing Illustrations Bank contains over 200 sermon illustrations to help you open up Biblical themes in your talks to teenagers. When teaching a Bible passage it can be helpful to use examples from culture (songs, movies, graphics, etc.) to further elaborate on the main point of the lesson. But, it’s not always easy to find an illustration that communicates what you want. Our illustrations will help you prepare your lessons and generate ideas. Illustrations are tagged by topic and/or theological concept, so you can find the imagery that fits your lesson — from common teen issues like anxiety and heartbreak, to foundational theology like the attributes of God, Jesus’s divinity, and grace.

Here’s a sample teaching illustration from the Illustrations Bank:

Greek Mythology and Freedom From Idolatry

Format: mythology

Description: In Greek mythology, the Sirens were a group of women who had the world’s most beautiful singing voices. When sailors would pass the islands where the Sirens lived, the Sirens would entrance them with their singing, causing the sailors to be overpowered with the desire to hear more singing, resulting in death either by shipwrecking (into one of said islands) or by jumping overboard. In preparation for passing these islands, Odysseus commanded his men to plug their ears with wax and tie him to the ship’s mast. In this way, only he could hear their beautiful voices. As they sailed by, he desperately begged his men to untie him, but they refused.

On the other hand, Jason and the Argonauts, in preparation for passing these same islands, chose to have Orpheus–the greatest musician in the world–play aboard their ship. They knew his beautiful music would prove more desirable than the Sirens’ song.

The comparisons of these myths offer a helpful example of how God works: He does not restrain us from doing the things we want to do. Instead, He offers us something better: Himself. Like Jason and the Argonauts, we as humans would succumb to temptation without God’s (like Orpheus’s) help. Following Jesus is ultimately not about rules, but rather it is about believing and trusting that a relationship with Him is far better than anything any idol has to offer. Furthermore, Odysseus’s craving is never satisfied (and neither is that of all the sailors who did in fact succumb to the Sirens), just like our worshipping idols only created dissatisfied hearts and addictions in us. (Illustration from Tim Keller.)

Tags: Human Depravity, Idolatry, Addiction, Unsatisfied Heart



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