Friday, April 6, 2012

The Great Race

How dark must Saturday have felt? All hope wrongfully buried deep in a cave, hidden behind an immovable boulder. Waiting for another traitor to lead soldiers and pharisees to arrest key followers. Wondering if they were about to face a false trial, hidden behind closed doors. Or would they be left alone? No direction, no leader, no jobs, no family, no Jesus. No wonder the disciples hid in despair.

They'd seen Lazarus walk out of a tomb. But Jesus was there to call him. What happens when Jesus is the one in the tomb? When the untouchable teacher who calms raging waves is so completely beaten? He didn't even defend himself. As if he had determined his death before they even arrested him.

In light of the despair of that Saturday long ago, our teachable story is one to combat the dark days, a story of great hope, taken from Hebrews 12:1-3:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary or lose heart.

Team Work
The Great Race

This is the story from God's word. All around us, a race {run with your arms} is being run. A very long race over steep hills and low valleys. It's a race that God designed for all of his people to run. Sometimes, on the steep hills, the runners get so tired that they want to quit. But God has given them a special power {flex muscles} so that they can keep running. This power is called faith. And faith grows unbreakably strong when runners run together.

To make sure that no runner is ever left alone, God gave his special people stories of other faithful people. Like Abraham and Moses, who risked everything they cared about to obey God. They trusted God's big promise to send Jesus as their deliverer. When we think about other people's faith, it makes our faith stronger.

Even better, we have the story of Jesus. The only way people could walk and talk with God again was if perfect Jesus accepted all the punishment for their sin. Jesus only thought about how wonderful this reunion would be, like a shepherd's party after finding his lost lamb. He focused on that celebration as he was punished for everyone else. When we think about Jesus' faith, it makes our faith stronger.

With our super power of faith, strengthened by other people, we can run hard and finish the long race {throw arms out}. At the finish line is a huge party with all of the other faithful runners. The party never ends, as we celebrate the race with Jesus. This is the end of the story.

If you use the stories, please tell me about it.

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