The following lesson has been around for a number of years in slightly different forms. I have, however, always found it very effective in ministering God’s love to children. Therefore, I will share it here for the benefit of those to whom it is new.
Every child will experience difficult or stressful situations at some time as they are growing up. However you can use the Easter story to show them that Jesus also had to go through many tough situations, especially at the end of his earthly life. In fact, because many of these were similar to those we may go through, He now understands how we feel at these difficult times. It is therefore a great comfort to know that when we share these hard situations with him in prayer, He understands exactly how we feel.
There are a number of circumstances Jesus faced that we could talk about, but I usually choose seven and write their titles out on cards. I then show the cards at the appropriate times as I tell the Easter story. Also, as you are telling the story, It is also a good idea to share a few personal examples of tough situations from your own childhood.
1. Being different.
As Jesus was growing up, he must have realised that that he was different from other children of his age – even though he may not have known exactly what his purpose on earth was while he was very young. But imagine how he felt when he found out that his purpose for being on this planet was to die for the sins of others!
It is never easy being different. Perhaps some of you here today think you are different from other children. For example, you may feel bad because you think you are too tall, short, fat, thin – – – – , or wear glasses, teeth braces etc. Perhaps you feel different because you don’t like most of the things the other children seem to enjoy? If you feel different, remember Jesus Understands, because he was also different.
2. Being let down.
Jesus was let down (or betrayed) by his friend Judas who sold him over to the religious leaders for thirty silver coins.
I am sure some of you have been let down sometimes. Perhaps someone has promised to give you something, take you somewhere, or do something with you – but they didn’t keep their promise. Or perhaps you have shared a secret with a friend – and then he/she has gone and told everyone in your class about it! It is never pleasant to be let down, but remember Jesus Understands, because he was let down in a big way by Judas – and by all his other friends who ran away when he was arrested.
3. Being unfairly blamed.
At his trial, Jesus was blamed for doing things that he was innocent of.
Perhaps something has happened at school or home, and you have got the blame for it, even though you were not guilty. It makes us feel very bad if we get the blame for something we haven’t done. If this has ever happened to you, please remember that Jesus Understands how you feel, because he also was blamed for things he didn’t do.
4. Being teased.
Jesus was handed over to the Roman soldiers, and they beat him and mocked (or teased) him greatly.
It is never nice to be teased. Maybe some of you have been teased, perhaps by being called nasty names – and that does really hurt people on the inside. There is an old saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ That is not true! Calling someone a nasty name could hurt them far worse, and for far longer, than hitting them with a stick or stone. If you are hurting on the inside because someone has called you names, remember Jesus Understands because he was also teased horribly.
5. Being left out.
Pilate wanted to release Jesus, so he brought out a murderer called Barabbas. He gave the crowd a choice of freeing either Jesus or Barabbas. And the crowd chose _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Barabbas! Imagine that. A murderer was chosen, and Jesus was left out.
It is never nice to be left out of something. Perhaps you wanted to join in someone’s game, but they wouldn’t let you. Or maybe you were hoping to be chosen for a team, but you weren’t picked. Or maybe there was a special task to be done at home or at school. You were sure you would do a good job if asked, but someone else was picked instead. It makes us feel bad on the inside when these things happen, but remember Jesus Understands. The crowd chose a murderer instead of him.
6. Being lonely.
On the cross, Jesus was completely alone. His friends had deserted him, and even his Heavenly Father had abandoned him because He couldn’t stand to look on sin.
Perhaps some of you are lonely at times. It could be because you haven’t any really good friends, or no brothers or sisters to play with? Being lonely makes you sad, but remember if you ever feel lonely, Jesus Understands. At the very time it seemed he needed his friends the most, he was completely on his own.
7. Being without a father.
The Bible records that Jesus’ mother, Mary, was at the cross witnessing his horrible death, but it doesn’t mention his ‘earthly father’ Joseph. It is thought that Joseph probably died while Jesus was still a child. Therefore, Jesus probably grew up without a father.
Perhaps some of you don’t have a father. Or maybe you don’t have a mother. It could be that someone doesn’t have a father or a mother. In these days many families break up, often leaving children with only one parent living at home. And this can often be a very tough situation. But remember, if you have only one parent at home, Jesus Understands what it is like for you, because he also probably grew up with only one parent.
If you have identified with any of these seven situations, why don’t you take a few seconds right now to tell Jesus about it. Remember, He understands exactly how you feel because he has gone through similar situations himself. If you are feeling hurt or upset, ask Jesus to take it all away and replace it with his love, joy and peace.
Concluding Prayer. Lord Jesus, I thank you that you know everything about each child here today. You know those who feel different from others, those who have been let down, those who have been unfairly blamed, teased or left out. You know about those who are lonely, and those who only have one parent. I thank you that because of what you had to endure at the end of your own earthly life, you know exactly how each child feels. So I ask you to take away every sorrow, hurt and pain, and replace them with your love, joy and peace. Amen.
by Maurice Sweetsur, http://objectlessons.blogspot.com/