I am involved with an after-school Bible club that meets at a local public school each week. Some of the children who attend come from solid Christian homes with a close church connection, others come from situations of little or no church. One little girl, I’ll call her Jeannie, who came a couple of times some weeks ago was at Club again today. Jeannie knows little about the Bible but announced that she “really likes the stories about Jesus”! At the beginning of the story time, I made sure that both Jeannie and the rest of the children knew that the stories we read about in the Bible are different from other stories because they are all true, the events really happened.
Our story was about Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin and Pilate; we had gotten to the part where Pilate was trying to talk sense to the Jews in hopes that they would release Jesus. I told the children that Pilate next tried to appease the Jews by having Jesus flogged and that they would then let Jesus go. Jeannie blurted out, “I hope they do let him go ’cause if they don’t I’m gonna cry.” And she started to hide her face as the story went on. I had to tell the children that they didn’t let Jesus go and Jeannie was so visibly disturbed that I also had to tell them the story does have a happy ending. All of those things were taking place because of sinners acting in a sinful way but the end of the story tells us of God’s plan to deal with sin, not just for those people but also for us.
As this was all happening, I thought how stark the contrast is between Jeannie and so many others. Jeannie was nearly overcome with emotion at the thought of Jesus being treated so shamefully and the story she heard was the highly edited version for eight-year olds. And yet we who have a much fuller understanding of how Jesus was treated and what He experienced can hear or read that story with dry eyes. I pray that Jeannie’s emotion was more than simple human compassion and evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in her young heart.
I also pray that along with our fuller understanding of Jesus’ experience we would gain a fuller understanding of our own sinfulness. I pray that we would be moved to tears of real sorrow when we think about what our glorious Savior had to endure in our place. Let’s learn a profound lesson from the mouth of a little child.
By His grace,