Have you ever had someone close to you die? A grandparent? Maybe even a parent, or a brother or sister? It’s not easy to say goodbye to those we love. But then again, as followers of Jesus, we don’t have to say goodbye to those we love when they die! Jesus has promised us that we will see them again! But how can that be? I’ll answer that question with a story. . .
Once upon a time, there was a father and son. The father decided that even though he loved his only son Joshua very much, he wanted more children to love, so he adopted a whole bunch of other kids. He loved talking and playing with those children. They owned a lot of land, so the father would go outside to talk, laugh, and play with them. He loved his children and they loved him.
Unfortunately, there was a bully living in the neighborhood named Natas.
Everyone called him Nat. He lived was the leader of a gang that was not very nice to people. Actually, Nat ran away from home at a young age, so he was jealous of the love that this father had for his children. He decided to turn the kids against their father by making them believe their father didn’t love them.
One day, Nat approached Eavan, one of the daughters, and said to her, “Do you really believe that what your father tells you is true?”
“Of course it is,” Eavan replied.
“Well, I’d think twice about that. He just wants to keep you under his thumb so you don’t have any freedom. For example, look at these berries here in the bushes. Your father tells you to stay away from them because they’re poisonous. That’s a lie! They’re the sweetest berries I’ve ever tasted.” And Nat proceeded to taste one.
Eavan thought for a moment. Maybe what Nat was saying was true. It sure does look yummy! After a few moments of pondering, Eavan took a handful of berries and ate them.
“My, they’re the sweetest berries I’ve ever tasted!” So she gave some to her brothers and sisters, and they ate them.
Satisfied with his accomplishment, Nat scooted away.
Eavan felt great—for a while. Then her stomach began to ache. She began to sweat and feel nauseous. She also got really tired, and had to lie down in the grass next to the berry bush.
She heard her father calling, “Eavan, where are you?” Oh no, she thought, father will be really angry that I ate these berries. I better hide. She hid behind a tree—or so she thought. It was the same tree where she tried to hide while playing Capture the Flag! Father found her every time.
“Eavan, I’ve been worried about you. Are you OK? You don’t look well.” She wasn’t. Actually, she felt so bad that she ended up telling her father everything that had happened.
“Oh, Eavan, why didn’t you trust me?” asked Father, as he sat down next to her and held her close. “Those berries you ate are from a plant that, when ingested, will kill you—eventually. It’s not a quick death, but a slow, painful one. Oh, my dear daughter.” And father rocked her while tears streamed down his face.
“Oh, father, please forgive me for not trusting you. I am sad for me, but also because I gave some of the berries to several of my brothers and sisters. Will they die, too?”
Father was silent. He just continued to hold her. And rock her, like he did when she was a baby.
Joshua, the father’s only son by birth, heard everything that the father and daughter were saying. He approached his father and said, “Father, remember that you and I have talked about this possibility. We knew that living here in our beautiful garden home, with those beautiful yet poisonous berries, might be difficult for your other children to resist—especially with that bully, Nat, around.”
You see, Joshua and his father had decided long before the other children had been adopted that if they ate the poisonous berries, Joshua would die and use his pure blood as a serum to save them. The serum would cleanse them of the poison and give them the ability to resist Nat’s lies, though they would still die because the poison made their bodies weak. But the serum would bring them back to life so they could live forever with Father and Joshua.
“Yes, son, I remember our conversation,” said the father. “I just can’t bear the thought of losing you, too. But it will be for a short time only.”
“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life” (John 3:16, NIRV).* God the Father and Jesus the Son love you that much!
—Bonita Joyner Shields is editor of PowerPoints, the Sabbath school lesson for Juniors. Check it out at www.juniorpowerpoints.org.
* Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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