For the first time in my educational career, this year I have been responsible for teaching my students Bible. Unfortunately I don’t have a Bible curriculum, but I do have a bilingual Jesus Storybook Bible and a random Bible activity book that have been doing us just fine. For the most part I have been doing one story from the Jesus Storybook Bible per week. We learned about Adam and Eve, Abraham and Isaac, Rachel and Leah, Jonah and the fish, and so many others. Lately, we have really been enjoying learning stories about Jesus’ life.
We memorized the names of the twelve disciples and talked about baptism. Recently, when we learned the story of how Jesus raised up Jairus’ daughter from the dead (and healed an old lady on the way), the students had SO MUCH FUN acting out the story. They loved cheering at the end when Jesus raised up Jairus’ daughter and whoever was playing the daughter always loved saying, “I am hungry.”
We weren’t quite up to the Easter story yet, but I wanted to do my best to make sure my students knew why we were taking a week off of school so we jumped ahead. We’ll go back to hearing stories about Jesus’ life after Spring Break but last week we were in the Easter story and I really wanted to get it right. I mean, this is THE STORY. The most important story in history. And it’s impossible to communicate the depth and breadth and significance and life-changing power of the whole story in just four 55 minute Bible classes, but I prayed hard and I did what I do – every day for Bible class, I just told the story.
In went something like this…
We all mess up, right? Sometimes we disobey or we push somebody or we say something that isn’t love. We all make mistakes. Even me! Right? Right.
Does God make mistakes? No. He doesn’t! God is good all the time. He always obeys. He always loves. He always does what He is supposed to do. He is always good. And guess what? God wants to be our friend! He knows that we disobey sometimes, but He STILL wants to be our friend because He loves us! He loves all of us.
But here’s the sad part. God is so good and so perfect that He cannot be friends with us because we disobey. But He WANTS to be friends with us. And so He decided to do something so that we could be friends and spend time with Him and so that He could help us learn to obey and to live our best lives and be happy.
Who is Jesus? Jesus is God’s son. That means that God put Jesus inside his mother Mary’s belly so that Jesus could be born like a baby just like you were and just like I was. Why did we celebrate Christmas? Because Jesus was born. Because God decided to become a little baby just like us and come away from heaven and be born on this earth to show us how to obey and how to love. Jesus is God and Jesus is man. It’s confusing and it’s hard to understand, but that’s who Jesus is.
So we’ve been learning about the kinds of things that Jesus did while He was living here. What did Jesus do when He was on earth? He obeyed. He healed people. He prayed. He had friends. He ate dinner. He had a family. He loved people. Yes! Those are all true. Did He ever mess up? No! Not once! Isn’t that crazy? He never disobeyed, not even once!
Do we disobey? Yes, we do, which means we cannot be friends with Jesus, who is God. But He wants to be friends with us! Okay, so, when we disobey there are consequences, right? When you disobey here in class you get a consequence. What is it? Right. You get on yellow and then if you continue to disobey you get on red, and your consequence is that you don’t get to play during playtime. Well, imagine all of the times you have disobeyed and all of the consequences you did get or should have gotten. Jesus took on all of those consequences so that we wouldn’t have to and so that we could be friends with God.
Jesus took on the consequences by being murdered on a cross. Did Jesus do anything wrong? No. Did He deserve the consequence of dying on a cross? No. So why did He do it? To take our consequences so that we can be friends with Him. So He did it. Because He loves us. Jesus died. And it was very sad. Remember all of his friends, the disciples? They were very sad because Jesus was their friend and now he was dead.
But! Remember what happened when Jairus’ daughter was dead? What did Jesus do? He said, “Get up!” And what did she do? She got up! Well, the same thing happened when Jesus died! Jesus died. He took all of our consequences for all of the times we disobeyed so that we could be friends with God. And He died. But then, three days later, God said, “Get up!” and He did! And now He is alive again! And where is Jesus now? Yes. He is in heaven! And now when we die we will get to go to heaven and be friends with God and spend time with God forever because even though we disobey, Jesus took our big consequence away.
AND not only do we get to go to heaven when we die, but Jesus is helping us right now! Because where is Jesus? Yes, He is in heaven, but His Spirit can always live with us and can help us to obey and to be happy and to love each other and to live our best lives! All we have to do is ask Him for help! We just have to pray, “God, I know that I disobey. I am sorry for disobeying. I want to obey and I believe that You have the best life for me. Please help me to obey.” And that’s it! He will help you!
And that’s why we celebrate Easter! Because even though we disobey God still loves us and wants to be our friend. He can’t be our friend because He is perfect and we are not. So He sent His Son Jesus to take on our consequences and die. But then Jesus rose up from the dead and now He is alive and can help us obey and be happy and have our best lives.
Isn’t that great?