Christ’s Sacrifice

Reading: Isaiah 53:4-9 (older children can read the entire chapter)

Imagine that you are a young prince in the Middle Ages. What are the many advantages that you would have? I think one of the best ones would be your own personal whipping boy. Imagine not ever getting punished for anything, but instead having someone around to stand in for you and receive your punishment! “Yes, Father, you are right, I did steal a cookie…. Mickey, hold out your hand for Father to spank.”

Now tell me, if that were happening today, who would you pick to be your whipping boy? Do you have someone in mind? Would you pick your best friend, a stranger, or an enemy? What if you were someone’s whipping boy? For whom would you be willing to do that service?

These verses in Isaiah show us the punishment that Christ received in place of men. We cannot compare Him to a mere whipping boy, because the punishment He received was far greater, and led to His death. Yet He received it willingly. How do these verses describe what happened to Him? How do they describe His willingness?

Can you imagine a prince being a peasant’s whipping boy in the Middle Ages? Yet Christ the King took the punishment for man, whom He created.

I hope that today you will think hard about the sacrifice that Christ made for men. When sin lies heavily upon our hearts, there is a wonderful hope waiting for us: the knowledge that Christ has already borne the punishment for it. These verses in Isaiah are dark and sad, but they also contain a wonderful, saving message.

For Further Study:

  • Read Isaiah 53:1-3. Christ did not have the kind of face or body that seemed “kingly.” In fact, most people who knew Him on earth were amazed at how “ordinary” in appearance He was. Read Matthew 13:54-58; John 1:45-46; and Mark 15:16-20. What do these verses tell us about the power of the gospel? What do they tell us about the faith of Christ’s followers? What do they tell us about the way we should think of appearances, family ties, and worldly accomplishments?
  • Read the account of Christ’s trial & crucifixion from one of the gospels today: Matthew 26:47-27:56; or Mark 14: 43-15:41; or Luke 22:54-23:49; or John 18:12-19:30. Note how the prophecies in Isaiah 53 were fulfilled.
  • How willingly do you (or don’t you) receive punishment? How would you feel and act towards your sibling or friend, if they willingly and silently received punishment that was intended for you?
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Why so many names?

Reading: 1 Chronicles 9:1-9

“It is very tedious,” said Jenny, “to read a long list of names from the Bible. I have trouble pronouncia-ting all of them.”

Her father smiled and said to her, “You did a very good job with those names, Jenny.”

Jenny’s brother William said, “I should like to know why these names are all listed here, Daddy.  There seem to be so many.”

“Do you recognize any of those names, son?” asked his father.

“I recognize some of them.  I recognized Adam, of course, and Jacob.”

“Yes, there are some famous ones there.  And some not-so-famous.  There are great men and wicked me, rich and poor, kings and scoundrels.  Do you remember why God made such a great nation of people?  What was God getting ready to do?”

“They were getting ready for Jesus Christ, father,” said Jenny, for she remembered that the theme of the Old Testament is: Christ is coming.  “The baby Jesus would be born from a family of Israelites.”

“That’s right, Jenny.  And because there were lists of names like this, people could see that Jesus Christ really did come from the family of David and the tribe of Judah, just like the Scripture prophesied.  After all, they needed to be sure that He was the true Messiah spoken of by the prophets.  There was no question that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for.”  Father smiled at his children.  “Do you think God remembers all these names?”

“I should think he does,” said William, “for God does not forget anything!”

“You’re correct.  And when we read these names, preserved in this Book, we can remember that God knows who are His.  He knows the names of all His little lambs, just like you know the names of all your precious pets, dolls, and friends!  He does not forget anyone.”

“He will not forget me, will He, Daddy?” asked Jenny.

Her father nodded.  “Just as surely as you know the names of all your special loved ones, God knows His loved ones as well.”

 

For Further Study:

  • Look over Matthew Chapter 1. It starts with Abraham and goes through the ancestors of Christ until Joseph. Do you recognize some of the names in the list? What do you remember about them?
  • Do you know that God has written down the names of all His faithful children? They are in the Book of Life in Heaven. You can read about this book in Revelation 3:5, 13:8, and 20:12.
  • Have you ever written down the names of your ancestors? Can you name your grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins? How far back can you go?
    Now write down your spiritual ancestors: who is teaching you the gospel (include parents, Bible class teachers, preachers, and others who influence you in Godly living)? Who taught them? Do you know who taught those people? Perhaps you can find out. It’s wonderful to learn how the gospel was taught from one person to the next in God’s spiritual family. We have a wonderful spiritual heritage in His kingdom!
Posted in Church, Family, Loves children, Prophecies concerning. Comments Off on Why so many names?

God wants men to repent

Reading: Judges 2:1-14

“Boys, we’re going to do some digging today,” said Daddy. 

Matthew and Michael looked up from their breakfast.  Daddy pointed out the kitchen window and said, “That little pecan tree I planted in the spring has finally given up.  I’ve tried every kind of fertilizer I could think of, but nothing’s helped.  It’s lost all of its leaves and has just about shriveled up to nothing”

Matthew looked out the window, which was just next to their kitchen table. “It’s too bad, Daddy,” he said.  “You planted two trees at the same time, and that other one seems to be doing just great.”

“It could be the tree, or it could be the soil,” said Daddy.  “Either way, that tree’s not any use to us now.  I might get another small one to replace it, or plant one a little farther out, where it might not be so rocky.”  Daddy drank the rest of his coffee and sat back in his chair.  “Son, do you remember the parable of the fig tree that Jesus told in the book of Luke?  He talked about a man who decided to cut down his fig tree because it wasn’t bearing any fruit.”

“I remember that story,” said Michael.  “The man’s gardener asked him to wait another year and give the tree another chance.  If it didn’t bear fruit the next year, they would cut it down.” 

Daddy nodded.  “God wants us to have healthy souls that bear fruit for God.  Our fruit is the good things we do and the way we show Jesus to others.  You remember that the Israelites did not follow God’s law for them.  He gave them many chances but finally had to punish them.”  Daddy looked out the window again.  “It’s a very sad thing to have to cut down a tree.  And it makes God sad to punish His children.  That’s why He gives us so many warnings, and He waits eagerly for us to repent.”

 “I’m going to be like that healthy tree, Daddy,” said Michael.  “One that is strong and fruitful for God!”

For Further Study:

  • Even when there were many Israelites doing wrong, there were still some who followed after God. He was able to find good judges, prophets, and kings to teach the people. Sometimes it feels like there are just a few people doing right and so many doing wrong. But don’t you know, that’s how it’s always been? How many were saved in the ark? How many came to see baby Jesus when He was born? Read Matthew 7:14; Luke 17:15-18; and Revelation 3:4.
  • Do you remember that God was willing to save Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find ten righteous men in it (Genesis 19:32)? If you had lived there, would Abraham tell God about you? Our shining lights are noticed by our Father! Think of all the people in your city that God is giving time to repent. Consider our nation, our government, and other countries in our world. Write down the names of people you know who haven’t obeyed the gospel. Pray for them, and for open doors to teach them.

…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Posted in Government, Idols, Love, Patience, Prophecies concerning, Repentance & Forgiveness. Comments Off on God wants men to repent