Spring is upon us. Flowers are beginning to bud, leaves are reappearing on trees, and birds are building their nests. Signs and decorations herald the arrival of our favorite season when we walk into local stores. Bags of plastic eggs and bunny-shaped confections line the shelves.
While we Christians enjoy all the signs of spring, this season is special for us in another way. In a couple weeks, we’ll celebrate the most important holiday weekend of the year: our Lord’s death and resurrection. Beyond jellybeans and warm sunshine, we remember and rejoice in the new life that is ours because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins and triumph over the grave.
And we want our children to know this joy, too. We want our children to know that there is more to this time of year than chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps — so much more.
Will you join me in trying to turn the blooming opportunities of this season into a way to teach our children more about Jesus? Let’s think toward making the most of this spring to show our kids all that they have because of Christ. Here are four key things to teach our children this Easter.
1. The Story of Redemption
Our family has what we call a “Resurrection Tree.” For the month leading up to Easter, we read through the story of redemption. We begin with creation and the Fall. We then go through God’s covenant promises in the Old Testament, as well as prophecies about the Messiah such as in Isaiah 53. We study Jesus’s birth, baptism, and ministry. During the final week, Holy Week, each day’s passage focuses on Jesus’s last days. For each story and passage we read, we hang an ornament on our “Resurrection Tree” that we’ve made to symbolize the passage we read.
2. The Importance of the Resurrection
Jesus’s resurrection from the grave is at the heart of our faith. Paul wrote,
If the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:16–19)
Go through this passage with your children and teach them how crucial the resurrection is to our salvation. Teach them that Christ rose from the grave because he was the perfect Son of God. The grave could not hold him. He conquered sin and death. Not only that, his resurrection assures our own future bodily resurrection.
3. Christ Is the Passover Lamb
It is no coincidence that Jesus suffered and died during the Passover. Teach your children the significance of this. Read the story of the original Passover. Show them how the Passover in Exodus points to Jesus, and how because of Jesus we are freed from God’s righteous judgment.
4. Cross Truths
Easter is also a great time to teach your children central themes such as substitutionary atonement, justification, imputation, and redemption. Discuss how Jesus perfectly obeyed his Father in all things. Teach your children that Jesus’s perfect life has been credited to us in union with him by faith. In Christ, God now looks at us and sees Christ’s perfect life. Talk about the sacrifices made in the Old Testament and why they were not sufficient to atone for our sins. Discuss why Jesus was a perfect sacrifice for us at the cross and that it was sufficient for all time. Talk about what it means to redeem or buy back something. How does Jesus redeem us?
Allegories can be a helpful aid in teaching these wonderful truths, including R.C. Sproul’s The Princes Poison Cup and The Priest With the Dirty Clothes, and of course, C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As we teach our children about the cross, let us also remember those wonderful words from Aslan,
that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.
For more from Desiring God on preparing for Easter, see the booklet by John Piper, Love to the Uttermost: Devotional Readings for Holy Week, available in softcover or free of charge in three electronic formats.
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