Holidays: Easter Isn't About Bunnies
Narrator: Robbie and Duke have been talking about Jesus. They just got back to Robbie's house after the big Bunkleyville potato festival parade. Duke never paid much attention at church so he has a lot of questions.
Robbie: So Jesus went to Jerusalem and the people all cheered but they thought He was going to be their king. They wanted a king that would fight for them.
Duke: That's too bad. Jesus wasn't a fighter, He was like real gentle wasn't He?
Robbie: Yep. He was the kindest, gentlest man who ever lived. But most important, Jesus was the Son of God!
Duke: Hold on. He was the Son of God? How does that work... I mean how can a person on Earth be God's son?
Robbie: Jesus was born in Bethlehem because an angel came to His mother and said "You are going to have a baby which will be God's own son, his name will be Jesus."
Duke: Whoah. Heavy duty. Was Mary pretty freaked out by that?
Robbie: Yeah but she got over it quickly because of what an honor it would be to be Jesus' mom. She told God that whatever He wanted was fine with her. Good idea.
Duke: I'll say. So Jesus knew all His life He was going to be the chosen one? God's Son?
Robbie: That's right, Duke. And He also knew that when He went to Jerusalem, that would be His last week on Earth. You see, He knew what would happen to Him in Jerusalem.
Duke: Ok, dumb question time! What happened in Jerusalem, Rob?
Robbie: Well, Jesus did some miracles when He first got there but toward the end of the Week, He got really quiet. He had dinner with his 12 closest followers...
Duke: Oh, yeah. His disciples!
Robbie: Right. And they met in the upper room which was their favorite place to get away from it all.
Duke: Righteous! Everybody needs a place to crash and just like... hang out. Was there a pool table? How about Playstation? Was there a Playstation in the Upper Room?
Robbie: Uh, no. But there was a table. And they all sat around by the table and ate dinner.
Duke: (Sounding unimpressed.)Sounds really great.
Robbie: It was. This was where Jesus first told everyone that they should drink grape juice and eat bread as a way to remember him. Today we call it...
Robbie: Duke, I thought you didn't pay attention at church.
Duke: Dude, it's a little hard to miss when you get to like eat and drink stuff in church. I'm not that dense!
Robbie: Oh. So Jesus was telling them He would be leaving soon but the disciples didn't understand what He meant. He was talking about His death.
Duke: Huh? Is this a sad story? Dude, you didn't warn me that this was a sad story.
Robbie: Well, yes and no. You just have to listen. Jesus also said at this dinner, called "The Last Supper" by a lot of people, that one of them would turn him in to the Roman soldiers.
Duke: A traitor? A skunk in the henhouse? A mole? A dirty dog in sheep's clothing?
Robbie: Yes, but actually his name was Judas. He left dinner early because He wanted to tell the soldiers where to find Jesus.
Duke: Dirty rat! What for?
Robbie: The religious Jews promised Judas 30 pieces of silver to take them to Jesus so they could arrest him.
Robbie: Yep. So after dinner, Jesus and the 11 went out to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked the disciples to pray with Him, but all they wanted to do was sleep. Jesus prayed without them. He knew He would die on a cross the next day and He admitted He was scared but in the end He told God "Don't do what I want, Father. I will do what you want."
Duke: Wow. Jesus was really brave.
Robbie: He sure was. After He stopped praying, the soldiers and the priests arrived. Judas was with them. He showed them which one was Jesus and they arrested Him.
Duke: That stinking double-crossing Judas! I'd have given him a knuckle sandwich if I'd been there. I bet those disciples really spanked old Judas for that didn't they?
Robbie: Nope. Jesus didn't want them to fight back. Peter, one of the disciples, tried but Jesus told him not to fight with the Romans and priests.
Duke: No way! I guess he wouldn't want me calling Judas names either, huh?
Robbie: Nope. Jesus wants us to love one another. He went with the soldiers while the disciples ran away and hid. Peter and John followed Jesus at a distance to try to find out what was happening to Him. They found out he would be crucified because they said He was calling himself "King of the Jews."
Duke: He was calling himself the King? That doesn't seem like something Jesus would do.
Robbie: He didn't but the priests made up that story to get Jesus in trouble with the Romans. They said He was trying to take over by making himself the King.
Duke: Wow. So they put him on the cross?
Robbie: Yeah. They made him walk all the way from the courthouse to the hill where they would crucify Him. The made Him carry the big, heavy crossbeam of wood on His back. He fell a bunch of times and the soldiers laughed and made fun of him. They kicked him and spit on him. It was a terrible thing.
Duke: Aw man. Poor Jesus. How could they do that to Him?
Robbie: The soldiers and priests were cruel and they saw Him as just another criminal that was going to die. They didn't understand who He was. They took Him up the hill and put him on the cross by putting nails in his hands and his feet. Then they raised the cross up high. He hung there and before He died, he asked God to forgive all the people because they didn't understand what they had done.
Duke: So Jesus died? That's it? How could you say this is not a sad story!!
Robbie: I said that it was but it wasn't. It's sad what they did to Jesus. And I didn't even tell you all of it but what happened after that was really cool! Jesus was put in a tomb after He died. A big stone was rolled in front of the door and it was guarded by the Roman soldiers.
Duke: More doggone Romans! Dude, I don't like those guys!
Robbie: Well, on the third day, Jesus opened the stone door and left the tomb. He came back to life! He wasn't dead anymore! One of Jesus followers' named Mary Magdalene saw him and talked to Him. She ran back to the place where the others were staying and told them. Jesus appeared there with all of them and they got to see him face to face. They could see it was really Him. He had scars on His hands and feet but otherwise He was fine.
Duke: Whoah! Rock on, Jesus!
Robbie: He told them not to be afraid and that this was part of the plan. He also reminded them that they were to go and tell others about Him. He stayed on earth for a while longer, continuing to teach His followers until one day He rose into Heaven.
Duke: Too cool. But Robbie, I don't get it. Why did He have to die?
Robbie: The Bible says we have all sinned. The only way sin can be forgiven is through a perfect sacrifice. In the old days, God told the people to sacrifice a perfect sheep or lamb for their sins to be forgiven. Jesus became our perfect sacrifice. He died and rose again so that our sins can be forgiven. Since our sins are forgiven, we can go to Heaven someday and we can pray to God now to help us every day of our lives!
Duke: That sounds really great Robbie. How do I do it?
Robbie: You just have to talk to Jesus. Tell Him that you love Him and you know that you are a sinner. You know that He died for you and rose again and that He really was the Son of God. Tell Him you want Him to come into your heart and live in you. He will do it! Then get to know Him by praying and reading the Bible, especially the stories about Jesus in the New Testament books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Duke: I'm ready Rob. Will you pray with me?
Robbie: Sure Duke. God, this is Robbie... I would like to introduce you to my friend, Duke. He wants to accept you as his Lord and Savior.
Narrator: So Duke accepted Jesus that day. It became the best day of his life. Have you accepted Jesus? If not, why not accept Him today? Mr. Jason can tell you how.