|Don't underestimate this book!|
With Easter coming up I wanted to take my kids through the different gospels starting with the triumphal entry and reading up to the ascension. I want them to know this story so well, every detail, so they never forget what had been done for them.
One night, I decided to read from the picture bible to Ezekiel, my five year old, I crawled into bed with him, all cozy under the covers, and we both peered up at the illustrations as I read from the Picture Bible, Ezekiel’s wriggly body finally still at the end of the day.
We both chatted about how happy Jesus must have been riding into Jerusalem on his lowly donkey as the people praised him, laying palm branches and robes at his feet, Ezekiel reminded me how Jesus said “ if the people stopped shouting praises, the rocks themselves would praise his name.” I was so glad to see him retaining some scripture! We read on to the story of Jesus washing his disciples feet, the first communion and all that Jesus shared in the upper room. Ezekiel is so into the story, fully grasping every detail and meaning, giving me his insight and thoughts like a budding theologian! I go on and before we event get to the crucifixion I get hit with the thickness of Gods presence I am overwhelmed with His love, I am reading on with tears rolling down my face experiencing the person of Jesus, next to my five year old, reading the “Picture Bible”. It’s funny, but right in the next room John is pouring into theological studies from great bible theologians, to brilliant and wordy for me to understand. He is uncovering and dissecting root meanings of words in his Greek translation, finding treasures and nuggets in every word as they reveal a deeper knowledge of God’s love and nature. John is being impacted by the same story as the one we are reading in our childrens picture Bible. The simplicity of the Gospel is one that a child can understand, and the complexity of the Gospel is one that leaves brilliant scholars, theologians and Kings searching for every dimension of meaning in the scriptures. It is a perfect message suited and customized for all creation.
We read on to the crucifixion and by now Ezekiel is “feelin’ the Love!” He tells me how much he loves Jesus and wants to think of him always (that is the greatest thing for a mother to hear!) By the time we get to the part where he has been resurrected and appears to his disciples I see something in the illustrated scripture I never noticed in my “grow-up Bible”. I read about how excited Peter, who betrayed Jesus, sees Jesus on the shore while he is out fishing with the other disciples. Peter is so excited to see Jesus that he jumps out of the boat and swims to the shore to be with him. Something about Peters excitement hits me, I can feel the same excitement, the same raw, give up whatever you are doing, jump out of the boat and swim to the shore to be with my resurrected Lord excitement! I want to see him with his skin on ( as my daughter used to say ), I want to eat a meal with him and talk and laugh. I almost felt like I was Peter, or in my case Patrice, there with Jesus enjoying restoration and receiving the comission. I could hear the Lord ask, "do you love me? as I read, "feed my sheep."
I talk to Ezekiel about how Jesus wants us to tell everyone this story, how He needs us to tell the world about his love, I tell him that He was the greatest gift and we are meant to share the gift with everyone we come in contact with.
Jesus said, “If you love me, then feed my sheep.” That is what you do when you tell your children this story, you feed his sheep, how exciting is that! To have an impressionable, all ears, little one to curl up next to and read the scriptures in pictures, what a privilege!