This is the time when we remember and celebrate the most world-changing event in all of history: the resurrection of Jesus.
The resurrection of Jesus has been the focus of Christian preaching and teaching for nearly 2,000 years now, and for good reason. The book of Acts gives an account of what happened with the first Jesus followers once they had seen the living and risen Jesus. You can find a reference to Jesus being raised from the dead in almost every single chapter. Every time they are speaking to a group of people, it is to testify that Jesus is no longer dead, but risen and alive.
The early church used the first Easter as the foundation for faith, and the great writer/missionary/church-planter Paul went as far as to say that if the resurrection of Jesus is a lie, then “your faith is useless” (1 Corinthians 15:14) and Christians are “more to be pitied than anyone in the world” for buying into a lie (1 Corinthians 15:19).
But thank God it isn’t! Jesus is alive, and because of that we know that nothing at all can separate us from God’s love. Easter means that sin is forgiven, death has been beaten, and our hope for life with God forever is sure. This is Good News!
If there was only one story you could tell your kids from the Bible, it should be this one. But again, if your family is anything like mine, it’s hard not to let that story get swallowed up by everything else that comes along with Easter. The struggle is real! If you find yourself in the same boat as me this year, here are three things I’m planning to do to keep the real reason for Easter fresh in the mind of my daughter.
1. Read the story for yourself, whether it’s for the first time or fiftieth.
When we pass along the foundations of faith to our kids, what we’re doing is called ‘discipleship.’ And any good leader will tell you that you can’t lead someone well if you haven’t ever been where you want them to go. As parents who want our kids to know and love Jesus, we have to make sure our own relationship with God is a top priority. Spend some time reading the Easter story for yourself each day, (and let your kids see you doing it if you can.) It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I’ve read it, there is always something that pops out to me as if it were brand new. Personally, I love reading through Luke’s account because he lays everything out very clearly and with great detail. Start with Jesus’ triumphal entry in to Jerusalem (Luke 19:38) and go from there. This way it will all be fresh in your mind as you think about going into the next two steps.
2. Tell the story “as you are going.”
In the Old Testament, God told the Jewish people to teach their kids of the things God had done for them any chance they got (Deuteronomy 12:19). These were the foundational pieces of their faith, just like the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of ours. We don’t have to wait for the calendar to officially tick over to Easter Sunday to start the story, and there are probably at least a few key times in your daily routine where you have a somewhat-captive audience: driving to or from school, sports practices, during breakfast, dinner time, or bedtime. Take advantage of those 10- to 20-minute windows and tell the Easter story in bite-size pieces. Use a kids’ storybook Bible or, better yet, your own re-telling of some of the key scenes like Jesus’ last supper with the disciples, the prayer in the Garden before his arrest, his words from the cross, and of course the shock of his followers when they finally realized Jesus is alive!
3. Tap into their sense of wonder.
The last week that Jesus spent on earth before Easter is filled with drama and emotion, and I think you’ll be surprised just how quickly they can get caught up in it along the way. As you see this happening, stay in that moment with them and engage them with questions that are designed to put them right into the story. Ask them: How would you feel if…? What do you think you would have done if…? Every person that shows up in the Easter story is an opportunity to tap into a child’s natural curiosity, so don’t miss it!