Hebrews 4:14-16, New International Reader's Version (NIRV, emphasis added)
Jesus Is the Great High Priest
14We have a great high priest. He has gone up into heaven. He is Jesus the Son of God. So let us hold firmly to what we say we believe. 15We have a high priest who can feel it when we are weak and hurting. We have a high priest who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. But he did not sin. 16So let us boldly approach God’s throne of grace. Then we will receive mercy. We will find grace to help us when we need it.
Good Friday is always a difficult day for children’s leaders as they try to describe what happened to Jesus. They fear discussing death with children, but the fullness of the Easter message cannot be expressed without Good Friday. Children need to understand that death was involved. Take a cue from Fred Rogers: Don’t avoid life’s big issues, one of which is death. Every child has experienced death in some aspect. It might have been a pet, grandparent, or other family member. Talking about death is important. Children can rationalize the difference between death and passing out or going into a deep sleep. Don’t go into descriptive detail, as that will scare a young child and may allow an older child’s mind to stray and get lost in the details. Don’t exclude children from this moment either, as feelings of exclusion can be much harder for children than feelings of sadness from loss. If you exclude a child from the conversation, it may result in the child misunderstanding what is going on. Children need adults to talk to them about answering questions regarding death and not avoiding them. We all need relationships with others. Children need to be reminded that Jesus felt the same feelings of pain, hurt, and rejection, so that they can connect with Jesus.
Read the Scripture passage from Hebrews.
Have you ever been sick with a stomach bug? If you have, you know how queasy you feel.
Have you ever been out in the cold without gloves on and your fingers are so cold they tingle?
Have you ever had your leg fall asleep, and it feels like pins and needles when you stand up?
Have you ever had a mean word said to you? Have you been teased? Words can hurt your feelings, can’t they?
So, when you see someone else who is sick, or whose leg falls asleep, or who has been teased, you understand how they feel.
This passage of scripture tells us that Jesus understands how we feel. He has been sick. He knows what it is like to be hungry. One of the last words he says on the cross is that he is thirsty. He has been yelled at, and people made fun of him. He knows what it feels like to be in pain. Jesus even knows what it feels like to die.
When you are sick or in pain, you may ask a grown-up for help. Jesus understands that too. It’s good to know that when we need help and comfort, Jesus knows exactly how we feel because he has felt the same way. Call out to Jesus anytime you need help or comfort. Don’t be too afraid to talk to him when you are hurting or afraid. Jesus understands and can help. As a matter of fact, let’s talk to Jesus right now. Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for understanding exactly how we feel. It is comforting to know that you understand our feelings. Thank you for giving us your mercy and love when we need it. Amen.
Parents, we all know that in today's world of hectic family schedules, moments spent together are few and far between. One of the last remaining opportunities for "family conversation" is in the car ride going from one daily event to another. Download, print, and hang this Holy Week rear view mirror hanger in your vehicle. Take those moments in traffic to continue the conversation on the events around the daily devotions and discuss these questions with your family.