Don’t you love those teaching moments with your kids when you realize they truly get it? Like when Christopher was 3, and he had heard all about Jesus dying on the cross, but I was there for the moment that he realized that Jesus had risen from the dead . . . “You mean He’s ALIVE?!? HOOORRRAAAYYY!!!” His genuine exuberance brought tears to my eyes.
This morning, I was reading Romans 5 to the kids when we came across these verses:
Romans 5:6-8: For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
I asked Christopher–and told him not to answer out loud–what he would do if a bad guy came into our house with a gun and told him that he was going to either kill him or his brother. Who would he choose? It would be a tough choice, wouldn’t it? I told him that I would die for them, because they are my children, and I love them that much. But there aren’t a lot of people I would die for.
Then I asked another question: “What if a bad guy broke into our house and stole all our stuff? He would be our enemy, right? And then what if another bad guy brought that bad guy in and gave you a choice. The second bad guy would either kill you or the guy who stole all your stuff. What do you choose?”
Christopher got excited. He knew the answer to this one. “The bad guy!” he said enthusiastically, “He would definitely have to kill the bad guy, not me!”
The great thing about kids is that they rarely see where the illustration is headed until you lower the boom.
“Christopher, you are the bad guy. That’s what these verses are saying. We are sinners, and we were God’s enemies. But Jesus said to the Father, ‘Kill me, not them.’ He died for us even though we were the bad guys.”
He was speechless, and I was almost in tears. Hit with my own reminder of the unfathomable nature of the Gospel. The crazy, true story in which the perfect, blameless Son of God dies for a bunch of wretched sinners like you and me. The most amazing love story of all.