Thanks to all who participated in the Forum discussions on salvation. After reviewing all the insights shared, I re-wrote part of the Vacation Bible Camp curriculum to explain to the Campers why Jesus was willing to go through all the pain of his betrayal and crucifixion. It’s heavy stuff – but it is also at the foundation of our faith. Below is an excerpt re-working the lesson on salvation that will be shared with the Campers:
Jesus was willing to go through all that pain because he loved each of us – and all the people in the world.
Jesus knew that the way to really love people would not be to become a bully and demand that they obey God – but to love people even though they bullied him. In fact, Jesus knew that if bullies go around being mean to lots of people, the only way they would learn to love is if they were loved. So Jesus decided to show his love – for each of us and even for the bullies who were being so awful to him.
Jesus also knew that love is the way to forgiveness. In fact, it is because we can be forgiven that we can learn to love others the way Jesus was able to love all people – not just those who were nice to him, but even those who were mean to him.
Do you know what forgiveness means? It means that God promises to always love us and take care of us even though we make mistakes and get in trouble sometimes. [Think of something wrong you’ve done recently. Did you lie? Did you hit your brother? Did you disobey a parent… Now concentrate really hard, and undo what you did. Just get rid of it like it never happened…. Does wishing something didn’t happen make it go away? Does wishing you didn’t do something mean it didn’t really happen? No. We cannot undo our mistakes. We cannot get rid of them]* But we can be forgiven. And we can remember that we are still loved. Even when our actions don’t deserve love – Jesus still loves us and offers us forgiveness.
Jesus’ love for all of us is what motivated his actions.
*This example came from the VBC Curriculum