Nearly two thousand years ago, a wooden cross and an empty tomb served as the setting for the greatest rescue mission in history. Of course, this mission is none other than the gospel of Jesus Christ—the good news of a loving Father going to great lengths to save his broken children. The sad truth is that because we turned away from God and went our own way (Isaiah 53:6), each and every one of us has shattered our relationship with him. But the good news is that because of his compassion and mercy, God sent his very own Son on a mission of rescuing love to win us back. Every year at Easter, with a joyful shout of “Christ is risen!” we declare again the climax of this great story—Jesus has conquered sin and death! Although Easter Sunday comes only once a year, these truths should shape our lives every day.
Think about It
Jesus had a mission. As Passover week began, Jesus was heading into Jerusalem to do a very specific job—a job only he could do. Jesus’s mission was to glorify God by rescuing his people from sin and bringing them back into God’s family. Long ago, God created the very first man and woman, Adam and Eve, to be perfect—to love God and love each other. Sadly they decided to disobey God and do what they wanted instead of what God said would be best (Genesis 3). That’s what the Bible calls sin. All the sad and bad things in the world started right then and there. Ever since, people have been running far away from God’s loving care, thinking they
would be happier doing things their own way. But they soon found out that life apart from God is not best. Disobeying God, they became lost and couldn’t find their way back to him. Jesus came to give his life so that his lost people could be saved from sin and death and become God’s children.
Jesus’s mission wasn’t a secret mission. God had been telling his people from the very beginning that a Rescuer would come (Genesis 3:15). Sure enough, Jesus came exactly as God promised he would, telling everyone that God was making a way for people to be reunited with him. As Jesus rode into Jerusalem to finish the most important part of the rescue plan, many recognized him as the saving King sent from God. They praised him and gave him a royal welcome. Some people didn’t like that Jesus was being worshiped in this way. Jesus, however, told them that he deserves praise; in fact, if the people didn’t praise him, the rocks themselves would cry out and give him glory!
Talk about It
- Do you remember what happened in Israel’s history that is celebrated at Passover (see Exodus 12)? Do you think it means anything that Jesus rode into Jerusalem as Passover week was starting? (The Passover was when a spotless lamb died in place of Israel’s firstborn sons. During this Passover celebration, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was coming to die in the place of sinful people. Just as God had rescued his people out of slavery in Egypt, he would now act to save them—to save us—from a different kind of slavery—slavery to sin.)
- Why was Jesus the only one qualified to carry out this rescue mission? (The mission needed a perfectly sinless person to die as a punishment for other people’s sin. Only God could live a perfectly holy life, but only a man could suffer and die a physical death. Jesus was uniquely qualified because he is fully God and fully man [Philippians 2:5–8].)
- Can you think of a time when you did something that showed how much you need to be rescued by Jesus too? (Share with your child how Jesus rescued you. Encourage them to consider how they need to be rescued too.)
Pray about It
Thank God for keeping his promise to send a Rescuer.
Sing about It
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Words by Joachim Neander
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near,
Join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee!
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty will do,
If with his love he befriend thee.
Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the amen sound from his people again;
Gladly fore’er we adore him.
Excerpted from Mission Accomplished: A Two-Week Family Easter Devotional © 2015 by Scott James. May not be reproduced without prior written permission.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: A TWO-WEEK FAMILY EASTER DEVOTIONAL
Starting on Palm Sunday, your family will spend fourteen days walking in devotions with Jesus. Extending your devotional time into the week beyond Easter Sunday will encourage your family to follow the risen Jesus as he calls his disciples to spread the good news to all nations.