My husband had gone fishing and forgot to refrigerate his fish. This happened just before I was set to teach in our VBS the story of Lazarus. It occurred to me that the smelly fish might be a way I could explain why Martha was concerned about Jesus having the tomb opened after Lazarus had already been dead for four days.
The kids and I were outside for this lesson. I had the fish sealed in a styrofoam cooler. At the proper time I opened it to allow the smell to escape. It made quite an impression on the children! I quickly sealed the cooler and explained how powerful Jesus is to bring Lazarus back to life after he had been dead for four days. Most would expect his body to already be rotting by that time.
I then explained that Jesus would soon die on the cross and be resurrected. I shared the gospel with the children in this way: Jesus is Saviour of the world. Like a superhero He is so powerful He even has the power to bring himself back to life! Can a dead person do anything? But Jesus has power even over death. Why did Jesus need to die then? He died for us. We are sinful and our sins are offensive to God who is holy and perfect, just like the smell of a rotting fish is offensive and smelly to us. Our sins stink to God. But Jesus can change that. Jesus did the dying for us so that we can be forgiven of our sins and be clean for God. We just need to believe that he can do that and that he did that for you and for me…
I’m happy to say that we had a good response to the gospel that summer. One girl who came just that day as a guest of one of our children accepted Christ as her Saviour that very day! Praise God!