“You have a big nose!” the little boy said, touching the Messiah’s nose.
Jesus laughed, rubbing the child’s head. “And you are very honest,” Jesus answered.
“Maybe that is why your parents named you Elijah. Let’s you and I be friends, Elijah, and someday I will introduce you to the real prophet Elijah, in person.
“Really? The real Elijah from the scrolls?”
“Yes, the very same one,” Jesus assured the boy.
The child’s eyes grew as big as his smile and he hugged the Lord’s neck.
”So, Ruth,” Jesus turned to a precious little girl who leaned against him, “do you also think my nose is big?”
“No, I think you are beautiful.” She was very shy.
“Ha!” The Lord laughed again and hugged her. “Sweet little Ruth. I think I shall have to heal your eyes because they don’t see as clearly as Elijah’s eyes,” the Lord joked. “But thank you my precious child, because you see more with your heart than with your eyes.”
“Would you like for me to tell you a story?” Jesus asked the crowd of children.
The group of about 25 or 30 gathered closer, eager to hear. Their mothers, a short distance away, awaited the blessing each child would receive from the Messiah after the story time. A large group of men stood together on the hillside, waiting to see if the Rabbi would again supply food for the followers as He had in times past. They didn’t know how He did the miracle. They didn’t care, just so they received the feast.
The apostles of the Christ, having been rebuked by him earlier, stood apart, waiting to know what He would do next. Secretly they could not understand why He bothered with the children when the greater work of healing and teaching was put on hold. These chosen men loved and followed the Teacher but had little understanding of the outflow of His heart for the people, and especially for the children who always seemed, to the Lord’s disciples, to be in the way.
“Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven,” Christ had chided the impatient disciples earlier.
Jesus rubbed his whiskered chin. “Let Me see,” He said to the children, “I think I shall tell you the story about the Lamb of God who came down to earth. Have you ever heard that story?”
The children, eyes wide, slowly shook their heads no.
“Now listen carefully,” Jesus began. “Long, long ago, in a time called the beginning, God the Father had a Son, His only Son. God the Father loved His Son very much. One day the Father said, ‘My Son, the time has come for you to go on your journey to the planet Earth; the same journey we’ve planned for a long time. It will be a short journey, little more than thirty-three years in Earth time, yet a journey filled with both great pain and also wonderful joy for you.’
The children were spellbound.
Jesus continued: “God the Father then said, ‘While you are on earth you will be called “The Lamb of God.” You will go about teaching and healing, and then, by the hand of man, You will die for the sins of the world.”
“Just like the passover lamb that dies for our sins each year?” one of the older children asked.
“Yes, just like the passover lamb,” Jesus answered, then continued his story.
“God the Father then told his son, ‘It is My pleasure that you become the perfect Passover lamb who will be killed for the sins of many. Then after three days and three nights in a grave I will raise you to life again and bring you home with Me.’
“After God the Father said this, His Son removed His Royal robe and laid it across His throne. Then He took off His crown and placed it on His robe. ‘I am ready for my journey now,’ the Son told His Father.
“So, children, God’s only Son came down to earth to become the Lamb of God.”
“Is He here now?” young Joshua asked, breathless.
“Yes, He is here on earth right now.”
“But who is he,” another youngster asked. “Can we meet Him?”
“You have already met Him,” The Lord told the boy.
“But who is He? Tell us, tell us,” all the children begged.
With great discernment little Ruth pressed closer. Looking deep into the Messiah’s eyes she asked softly, with the simple honesty of a child, “Are you the Lamb of God?”
Jesus smiled as tears welled up in His eyes. He spoke tenderly. “Yes, Ruth. I am the Lamb of God. I have come to take away the sin of the world.”
He then stood and raised His voice so that all the mothers, the fathers, the disciples and apostles, and even the Pharisees could hear and understand, “Isaiah the prophet wrote of me, saying;
‘Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth’” (Isaiah 53:4 through 7. ESV.)
May our Lord bless you all this Easter season,
Carl and Sue