Hi all. We are continuing the story of Easter today. Today’s story can be found in Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19.
Today is called Good Friday, though the story seems very very sad.
Jesus had been arrested because the leaders didn’t like how much the people liked Jesus. They were scared He would try to be more important than them. They took Him to the Israelite leaders and the Roman leaders and nobody could really decide what to do with Him.
Some of the leaders didn’t like that He said He was God’s son (even though He was.) Some of the leaders didn’t like how powerful He was (but remember, God can do ANYTHING!) Some of the leaders didn’t like how much the people loved Him (and how much HE loved them!!)
It was very confusing. Some of the leaders didn’t see any reason Jesus should die…but some of the others finally got the crowd all worked up and soon the people were yelling for Jesus to die.
(*parents of small children can edit this as needed) They hurt Him. They hit Him with sticks, they spit on Him, they took off His clothes and smacked Him with sharp thorny sticks. It was very very ouchy. But Jesus knew it had to happen. They made a crown from some thorns and put it on His head and laughed and laughed and said “HA! HERE’S YOUR ‘KING!'” They were making fun of Jesus. Finally, they got two big BIG pieces of wood and nailed and tied them together to make a cross. They made Jesus carry that big cross all through the streets. Some of the people in the streets (like the disciples and Jesus’ mom Mary) cried, because they loved Jesus, but most of the people were saying terrible things and were very mean to Him.
Finally, He went up a big hill and they put the cross in the ground standing up. Then they took nails and hammered through His hands into the wood (OUCH!) and they hammered His feet into the wood too. (OUCH!)
Some of the people laughed at Jesus and said, “If you are REALLY God’s son, you’d have enough power to get down off that cross!”
And that was true. Jesus DID have enough power to get off the cross. He could have asked for help from God, or for angels to help, or He could have just walked away, but He didn’t.
While He was on the cross, God put all our bad choices (sin) on Jesus. He felt all the pain and consequences for our choices. He did that so WE don’t have to. Jesus asked God to forgive us. You, your mom, your dad, your grandma, your cousins, His disciples, the Pharisees, “bad guys”…everyone. There were two other people who HAD made bad choices who were also dying on crosses on either side of Jesus. One of them laughed at Jesus, but the other asked Jesus to forgive him. And even though he was about to die, Jesus said, “Yes! I WILL forgive you. Today when you die, you will be with Me in heaven.” (It’s NEVER too late to choose Jesus!)
And the saddest part was, when He was taking our sin, God couldn’t even look at Him. (Because God is perfect, He can’t be around nasty sin…so He couldn’t be near Jesus) and that’s the worst thing…to be apart from God. God is all goodness and love so to apart from God is not feel any goodness, any love or any happiness. Our bad sin keeps us AWAY from God forever. But Jesus took that FOR US on the cross, so our sin doesn’t have to keep us away from God! We CAN live with Him in perfectness forever in heaven, because we are FORGIVEN by God…because Jesus took all that punishment, all those consequences FOR US. THAT is why it is GOOD Friday.
The sky got dark, there was thunder and lightning and an earthquake. God was mad. Do you know why? He was mad that Jesus was in so much pain. Do you know it makes your mom and dad very sad when you get hurt? And if they see someone hurt you it makes them mad. Because they love you! and they want everyone to be nice to you! When someone is mean to you, it makes them angry. God was angry that His son was so sad and in so much pain.
But an amazing thing happened. In the temple (the church) there was a big front room where everyone prayed. Then behind a GIANT curtain was a thing called the Ark of the Covenant (a special box where God’s Spirit was). When Jesus died, that curtain tore into 2 pieces, top to bottom and it was God saying “My Spirit will now live in EVERYONE who loves Me. Not just in the temple, but in everyone’s heart who loves Me and chooses Me.”
Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said “It is finished.” Then He died.
He meant His work of taking our sins was finished. He took it all. Every bad thing you can ever think of, Jesus died for that. It is forgiven if we just ask and decide we want Jesus to be OUR King. (1 John 1:9, John 3:16-17, Isaiah 53:3-5, Romans 5:6-10, Romans 3:22-24, 1 Peter 2:24).
You can talk with your parents/grandparents/pastor about this story and what it means to you. Maybe you’re ready to say “Thank you Jesus for dying for me! Please forgive my sins and be my King.”
We made cardboard crosses today, but mostly the discussion was our focus.
Thanks for joining us. Can’t wait for SUNDAY!! Happy Easter-love to you all!