Today we begin our celebration of the most important holiday of the year for Believers. This is the season in which we commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and King, Jesus, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah of the Jews and Savior of the World.
This year we have put together an 8 scene dramatic portrayal covering the last two weeks of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry. We will watch as He leaves the Galilee with His disciples, walks down the Jordan River valley through Jericho and on to Bethany situated on the Mount of Olives before entering into Jerusalem during the Passover week. Eventually we will see Jesus become the sacrificial Lamb Who was crucified on the cross of Calvary, buried in a garden tomb, and resurrected on the third day.
These dramatic scenes will take place over the course of the next five church services, covering three Sundays and two Wednesdays in all. During this time we will meet several important Bible characters Jesus interacts with during this last two week period of His earthly life. Approximately 40% of the Gospels focus on these few days as Jesus looks for laborers on His way to The Last Passover.
The year is about AD30 when Jesus begins the journey to the cross along with all twelve of His disciples. In fact, it was early on a Sunday morning, the first day of the week just two weeks before He would be crucified, that Jesus left the city of Capernaum which is situated on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee and makes His way to the eastern side of the Jordan River and walks toward the south, following the well known path which leads to Jericho.
This was not the first time Jesus made this trip. He and His family had gone to Jerusalem each year, as did many families, traveling together and camping out under the stars, hearing stories retold of the first Passover and catching up on the news of the day.
This year the families making the trip had but one topic on their minds as they conversed along the way. Jesus of Nazareth … was He teacher, false prophet, lunatic or Lord … could He be Messiah … how else could one account for the miracles He did?
Turn with me to the book of Luke, chapter 18 and let’s read our text for today.
15 ¶ Then they also brought little children to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them.
16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”
17 "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."
(This Brown color is for production notes to help media follow along)
Dramatic Presentation Title: “The Little Boy”
Pastor Ron comes to the stage and begins his message by telling the story of Jesus and His disciples leaving the Galilee for their last trip together. Jesus is on His journey to the cross. The year is approximately AD 30, and this story takes place during the last two weeks of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry.
Pastor Ron sets the stage by telling how Jesus and His disciples began walking south down the eastern bank of the Jordan River along with many other families who are also going to Jerusalem for the Passover.
Actors ready themselves awaiting their first cue.
Cue: Reading of Scripture Text
Pastor Ron begins reading text from Luke 18:15-17. (Pastor Ron continues telling the story as the scene unfolds.)
*Jesus and His disciples (stage left door near the stairwell to the Children’s Department)
*Families (hallway door, far stage left, near Green Room)
*Jesus and disciples walk slowly, talking as families draw closer
Jesus and His disciples stop at stage left steps (mid-left) and continue conversation while Jesus sits and teaches His disciples. Families come close and are talking while children attempt to get close to Jesus. The disciples turn them around, point back to their parents, encouraging them to leave Jesus alone.
*House lights fade
*Spotlight comes up on Jesus sitting on the stage
Jesus stops His disciples, points His finger at them, and rebukes them and they back away. Jesus beckons the children as the families draw closer. Children come and sit around Jesus and one boy sits in His lap.
The man enters stage right from the platform near the musician area and positions himself on the floor in front of the steps mid-stage right and readies himself for scene 2 (microphone goes hot).
Scene 1 ends with the little boy sitting on Jesus’ left knee, as Pastor Ron concludes telling the story by saying,
“Jesus is still calling children to come unto Him.”
Cue: When Pastor Ron says, “Jesus is still calling children to come unto Him.”
*Scene 1 characters freeze
*Spotlight on scene 1 fades
*Spotlight on scene 2 comes up to illuminate the man
*Spotlight dimly lights characters from scene 1 focused on Jesus and the little boy (some movement acceptable)
*The man turns and looks at the little boy, turns back to face the congregation and begins monologue
Man: See that little boy on His lap. That was me. We all walked together in the procession on the way to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus talked to so many people along the way. I’ll never forget one rich man who pushed his way through the crowd to talk to Jesus. He must have had something important to say but he didn’t look too happy with the answer.
My friends and I all wanted to see Jesus too, but His disciples wouldn’t let us near Him. They said we were bothering the Master. He must have heard them because He stopped them and invited us to sit with Him and listen to His stories.
Once we all arrived in Jerusalem, we heard that He had been arrested. I remember that next day so well because something happened that day that I had never seen before nor since. Around 3:00 in the afternoon, the sky turned dark. We all ran to where the crowd was gathered and there in the darkness I saw Him. I saw Jesus. Just a few days earlier, He was holding me and laughing. Now He was hanging on a cross.
I heard what I thought was thunder and then a Roman soldier say, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Jesus was dead … (dramatic pause) but that was not the last time I saw Him. Three days later it was reported that His body went missing from the tomb. Everywhere I went I heard rumors. My parents did not know what to think until we saw Him. You see I was one of the five hundred He appeared to after His Resurrection and that’s why I’m here … to tell you … He is alive!
Scene 2 ends when the man concludes his monologue by saying the words,
“He is alive.”
*Lights fade, allowing time for the characters to exit the stage as they entered
*House lights come up
After children are dismissed to Children’s Church:
Have you considered the message Jesus was attempting to convey when He stopped and spent this precious time inviting these children to come and sit with Him?
Luke 18:17 “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Whatever is Jesus referring to?
The heart of a child and the recognizable attributes of little children epitomize mankind as God intended us to be. God intended us to be children … His children … but children nonetheless …
What are some of the recognizable attributes of children? A list of child-like traits could go on and on, however, this morning I have narrowed them down to nine attributes children possess. Or rather should I say nine attributes which possess children?
1. Children are unafraid of God the Father
> A sense of security for today and the future
2. Children are innocent of sin
> The things they do have no malice, no hidden motives
3. Children love to please
> Children repeat what they are praised for doing
4. Children have no shame
> They will run around naked in public unashamed
> Have you seen children sing or dance in front of others
> You have to work real hard to shame a child
> What can a child be truly blamed for anyway?
> And, Children haven’t learned to blame themselves yet
> This comes from their innocent nature
> And is partly due to the fact that
5. Children are transparent
> You know how they feel and what they believe
6. Children are dependent
> And happy to be so
7. Children are without the worries of life
> They take no thought of tomorrow, what to eat …
> They are moldable and flexible and go with the flow
8. Children are trusting of others
> Children haven’t learned to be skeptical or cynical yet
> They can be easily fooled and easily hurt
> They need the constant attention of a caring parent
9. Children are loving, accepting and forgiving
> Children hold no lasting grudges
> A Child’s world is a very forgiving world
Where do you think I got this list? We first see these attributes in the first book of the Bible … the Book of Genesis …
* In the lives of God’s first children, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden before sin entered the picture and man became wise in his own eyes.
God created mankind to be His children and as such He gave them child like traits of such as love, trust, innocence and acceptance of others. He made them dependent on Him as a Father and gave them no reason to fear Him but rather a great desire to please Him.
Nothing else can satisfy the soul of a man or woman, boy or girl like the satisfaction which comes from knowing that you have been pleasing to your Heavenly Father. God made us this way.
How tragic it is that we often grow up and forget our simple faith in God and miracles. Grown-ups seem to take upon themselves the cares of this world as though they could actually do something greater than pray and trust God.
Adam and Eve aren’t the only examples of child-like faith in the Bible. Jesus, the only begotten Son, displayed the same attributes we witnessed in the first Adam. It is through the life of Christ that we see how we ought to behave.
We too should trust and depend on our Heavenly Father, not taking upon ourselves the worries of this world, but be loving, accepting and forgiving children of the Most High God.
Which child like traits have you abandoned? Are you what God wants you to be? Make your decision to stop following your own wisdom, stop being a cynical, skeptical, worried and independent peer. Crawl up into Daddy’s lap and foolishly worship Him without fear of what others might think. That’s what Jesus was saying when He said: “Unless you become as a little child you will in no wise enter into the Kingdom of God.”
He was talking to you!