So, this Holy Week, I'm pondering the Story That Changed Everything and rejoicing in the amazing, wonderful, incredible, breath-taking, inspiring, Wonder-Filled thing that Jesus did for you and me.
Here is that story, as I'll tell it to the kids on Saturday. Soak in it again … and be filled with His Wonder!
THE STORY THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
The story begins in a beautiful garden called Eden where God created the first people, Adam and Eve, to be in relationship with Him and to walk with Him in the garden every day and care for His creation. But Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, and their sin destroyed their relationship with God and corrupted all of creation. They had to leave the garden and live with the disease of sin within them … and we all have that same disease in us. Oh no!
Thousands of years went by. And then … something happened! In a small town called Bethlehem, God became a tiny little baby -- Jesus was born!! We celebrate that at Christmas. Then Jesus grew up. He cared for the poor, healed the sick, raised the dead, and welcomed children and blessed them. Jesus never, ever did a single thing wrong. He showed us just what God is like. And some people hated him because of it. They plotted to kill him.
So they arrested Jesus one night in a garden called Gethsemane. Soldiers came with their torches and their swords, and they took him! They took him to a place called Gabbatha, which means the Stone Pavement, the place of judgment. They beat him with whips and he stood there on the stone pavement with the governor, Pilate, and all the people yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
And that’s just what Pilate decided to do! They made him carry his own cross to the place called Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. And they put a crown of thorns on his head. And they laid the cross on the ground, and they laid Jesus on the cross. Then they drove the nails through his hands and feet. They lifted the cross up until it hung between the heavens and the earth. And they set it. THUMP! The sky turned black, like pitch, in the middle of day! And Jesus died on the cross that day. And all the people who loved him cried and thought all their hope was gone.
Why did Jesus do it? Why did he die that way on the cross when he could have called all the angels of heaven to rescue Him? I’ll tell you why! He did it for YOU! He took all the wrongs things you ever did and paid for them himself. Jesus died on the cross so we can walk with God again and know HIm and be in relationship with him. He paid for what we’ve done wrong! Isn’t that great news!!
But that’s not the end of the story. Who wants to know what happens next? Well, let me tell you. After Jesus died, one day passed. Two days passed. And very early on the morning of the third day, the ground shook. And the stone they had put in front of the entrance to Jesus’ tomb rolled away! Some women had come to put spices on Jesus’ body, and when they looked into the tomb, what should they see??
Not Jesus! They saw angels! And those angels said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He has risen!” Jesus was alive again! And that is the most wonderful, fantastic, incredible, amazing, beautiful, happy thing that has ever happened from the beginning of time until now!
Jesus rose from the dead. He defeated death for you and me! And because of that, he’s able to give us clean, white lives to replace our black ones. Who would like a clean life from Jesus? Our new lives are not just tickets into heaven, but tickets that allow us to have a relationship with God, for us to pray and talk to Him, and follow Him all the days of our lives. We don’t have to be all black and yucky inside anymore. We can be clean and white and with God every day! He loves us that much!
And that's what Easter is all about … Wow!