Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Jesus and James - and our children

In my personal Bible study with BSF, I have been reading John’s gospel. John 7:5 says, “even his own brothers did not believe in him.” How could it be that Jesus’ own brothers, who had lived with Jesus all their lives, did not believe that Jesus was who He claimed to be? They did not really know Jesus.

This is one problem Christian parents must overcome as we strive to bring up children who believe in Jesus. Our children, growing up in a "Christian family", may become so familiar with a simplified storybook image of Jesus, that they fail to see Jesus as He really is.

James, the eldest of Jesus’ brothers, did become a believer in Jesus Christ, a dedicated Christian. He was described by Paul as one of the "pillars of the church" (Galatians 2:9), a leader in the new Christian church based in Jerusalem. James spoke after Simon Peter at the first church council in Jerusalem (Acts 15) and made the final judgement (Acts 15:19ff). He even wrote some of the New Testament!

So what made James believe in Jesus? Paul records that “He [the risen Jesus] appeared to James” (1 Corinthians 15:7). Seeing Jesus alive after His death made all the difference. Now, James knew who Jesus was: someone with the power over death and life; God Himself!

How do we show our children who Jesus is? By telling them what the Bible says about Jesus, and helping the children to understand, so that they see Jesus as He really is. Jesus was not only the gentle Man who said, "Let the little children come to me." He was not solely one who healed the sick, lame and blind. He was much more. Our children need to know Jesus, in all His glory.

As I read through John, I am finding out that Jesus said a lot of things about Himself. Jesus' descriptions of Himself were audacious and unprecedented. (After all, this was the first time God had come as a Man to live a whole human life span on earth with His people.) There is a lot in these passages that we can talk about with our kids, even if they are young.

Jesus said that He would give those who believed in Him eternal life. In John 6:40, Jesus says, "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." In John 8:51, Jesus is recorded as saying, "I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." (Also see John 6:27-29, 33, 35, 47-51, 54-57.)

Jesus said that His disciples (those who hold to His teaching) would know the truth, and they would be set free from sin. (See John 8:31-32,34-36.) He also warned, as recorded in John 8:24, "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

This warning from Jesus needs to be taken seriously by parents and others who care about our children. If our children do not know who Jesus claims to be, how can they believe He is Who He says He is? We must teach our children about Jesus: all about Jesus.


Kellie said...

So true! I also love how in BSF children's leaders are trained to always remind the children that the Bible is God's true Word, it's not a make-believe story. I'll never forget the young girl from a Christian family who told me that Jesus was just pretend. So I think the truth of God's Word must be taught first, and then as you said so well, we need to teach them all about Jesus.

Sharon said...

I love that as well. I am asking our Sunday School teachers to preface their Bible stories with "This is a story from the Bible. All the stories in the Bible are true." Just like BSF! Being trained as a BSF children's leader has been a great help to me.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

It is so easy for little ones to get confused about what is real and what is fiction.

As a brand new mom, back in 2001, I thought my toddlers would love Veggie Tales. It didn't take long for me to realize that Veggie Tales was the last thing I wanted my preschoolers--who are only capable of concrete thinking--to see. When it comes to teaching little ones about Jesus, it isn't a bit helpful to fictionalize any of it.

When children are (rightfully) immersed in literature that is full of fairy stories and make-believe, the supernatural miracles of Jesus don't seem far-fetched at all, but then again they don't always seem real.

Thank you for this reminder to pay a little more attention making sure that my younger kids are confident in Jesus and who He is.