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Apr 08

Countdown to Easter Message 5: Care — A free devotion for your children’s ministry

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of six devotions intended to help children prepare for Easter. It’s slightly adapted from CTA’s theme for spring, Jesus Lives! Let’s Celebrate!  

Getting Ready

Familiarize yourself with today’s devotion. Place a bookmark in your Bible at John 14:27.

Place the blue magnet piece of your Jesus Lives! Let’s Celebrate activity magnet on a metal cookie sheet or pizza pan. Put the assembled previous pieces on the other side of the pan.

Place the metal pan and your Bible inside a bag.

Have extra Jesus Lives! Let’s Celebrate magnet pieces on hand and plan to distribute them to children who didn’t receive one to take home last time.

Introduction

Warmly greet the children and invite everyone to sit down around you. Nearby, place the bag of items you prepared ahead of time. Remind your listeners that you are counting down the weeks until Resurrection Day—the day when Jesus rose from the dead. In just two weeks, we will celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Invite everyone to join in as you count down together: 2, 1—Jesus lives! Let’s celebrate!

Last time we talked about the three’s that were important when Jesus died on the cross. Today, let’s think about the ‘twos’ we see in the story of Jesus’ dying and rising again for us.

Getting to the Heart

On the day Jesus died, most of his disciples, his followers, and his friends ran away to hide. They were afraid—very afraid. Maybe Jesus’ enemies would capture and kill them, too! So as Jesus hung on the cross, he was almost alone.

Still, some people were brave enough to stay with him. Today, I want to tell you about two special people who stood at the foot of Jesus’ cross while he died: Mary and John.

Mary was Jesus’ mother. She gave birth to Jesus on the very first Christmas. When Jesus was a little boy, Mary helped him learn about our heavenly Father. She helped him learn Bible verses by heart. She told Jesus stories from the Bible—some of the stories you have learned. Adam and Eve. Noah and the Great Flood. David and Goliath. All those stories and many more.

When Jesus grew up, Mary no doubt listened to Jesus teach. She heard about all the many miracles he was doing, and she probably witnessed some of them, too. How proud and happy she must have felt.

But now Mary stood on the hill called Calvary, watching her son Jesus die on a cross. It must have broken her heart!

Mary wasn’t there by herself. Jesus’ disciple John stood near Mary beneath Jesus’ cross. John was one of our Savior’s closest friends. Like Mary, John had seen Jesus heal, forgive, and teach. John had seen crippled people walk. He had seen hungry people fed. He had seen guilty people forgiven. Now, John watched as his Lord and Teacher suffered and died on the cross. John, too, must have felt as if his heart was breaking.

Jesus saw how sad Mary and John felt. Jesus wanted to comfort them. He wanted them to help and befriend each other. So Jesus told Mary, “John will be your son.” To John, Jesus said, “Here is your mother.” Jesus was asking John to take care of Mary and love her just as if she were his own mother. Jesus was asking Mary to encourage John and to rely on John just as if he were her own son. The Bible tells us that John and Mary did what Jesus asked. John took Mary into his home and cared for her.

Jesus knew how confused and frightened his friends felt. He knew both Mary and John were worried and so, so sad. So Jesus comforted them.

Jesus comforts and cares for us, too. Listen! (Read John 14:27 from your Bible.) Jesus knows that sometimes we feel afraid. Sometimes we worry or feel sad. Jesus wants us to know that he cares—really cares—for us! His love comforts us, and his strength protects us.

(Show the children the blue Jesus Lives! Let’s Celebrate magnet puzzle piece and call attention to the picture and the word “Care” on the piece.) This is like Jesus’ hand. While he lived here on earth, Jesus used his hands to touch and heal. He used his hands to give food to hungry people. He used his hands to bless. Then he stretched out his hands on the cross—and died. The nails didn’t hold him to his cross. His love for us held him there. Knowing Jesus did that for us, we also know we can trust him to help with all our other troubles, too.

Taking It Home

Invite the children to repeat these words after you as you pray together:

Dear Jesus,/ thank you for loving us./ Thank you for taking care of us./ Help us trust you always./ Amen./

(Distribute the Jesus Lives! Let’s Celebrate activity magnet pieces to any children who didn’t get one last time as you hand out blue pieces to everyone. Encourage them to put the five pieces together at home, and tell them that the piece for next time is a very special shape.)

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

© 2014 CTA, Inc.

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