Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from CTA’s latest addition to the Easter lineup, the Journey to the Cross prayer box. The box comes with six special prayer tokens and corresponding devotions that tell the story of Jesus’ Easter victory. The prayer box and other gifts from CTA make it easy to minister to children during the weeks leading up to Easter!
Plan a way to distribute the prayer token that matches today’s devotion, one to each child. If you have a large group, enlist a helper or two. Mark Matthew 11:28 in your Bible.
The devotion will begin with a guessing game. In a small bag, put a few items that will help the children guess you are taking a journey to the beach. Some ideas: sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, a beach towel, flip flops.
I’m so glad you are here! We are going to start by playing a guessing game. I’m going on a little journey. I’ll show you the items from my story bag, and I want you to guess where I might be going if I had these things along (display the items one at a time, allowing children to guess after each item.) You guessed it! These are things I would take if I were going on a journey to the beach!
Why do people like to go to the beach? (Take a variety of answers, but try to guide the replies toward the idea of the beach as a place for rest and relaxation.) Some people go to the beach so they can rest. Grown-ups might be tired from their demanding jobs. Students might be worn out from lots of studying. They want to rest so they’ll get their energy back.
The Bible tells us that as Jesus journeyed to the cross, he sometimes took a break from teaching and healing the people. He wanted some quiet time alone to pray. Jesus knew that talking to God, his heavenly Father, would refresh him.
Today, I have a story about that for you: Mom got really mad when Jake threw the football in the house. It knocked over her new lamp, sending little pieces everywhere! Jake felt terrible and tried so hard to make up for it. Over the next week, Jake cleaned his room. He washed the dishes every evening. He helped carry groceries in from the car. He even gave Mom the $3.23 from his piggy bank. But the lamp had cost $80. There was no way Jake could make up for breaking it. Jake needed Mom’s forgiveness.
We can be like Jake. We know we’ve done wrong things. So we might try very, very hard to be good, to make up for what we have done. But really, it is impossible for us to make up for our sins. Nothing we can do will make God happy with us again.
But here’s the Good News: God is already happy with us because of what Jesus did for us. In Jesus, we can rest, we can find relief from thinking we have to make up for our sins. Listen to what the Bible says: (read Matthew 11:28). Jesus wants us to come to him, to tell him what we have done wrong, and to ask for rest. When we do that, Jesus will forgive us. We can know for sure our sins are gone—gone forever! And there’s another Bible verse that reminds us of Jesus’ forgiveness: The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23 KJV)
Jesus died on the cross so that your sins would be forgiven. He rose again so that all who trust in him will live in his forgiveness forever!
Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for your great love for me and for dying for me on the cross! Thank you for giving me rest from having to make up for my sins. Help me to trust and love you always. Amen.
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