Category Archives: Easter

Jesus Ascends

Text: Acts 1:9-11; John 16:7, 20:17; Psalm 68:18

Prop: a poster of Christ in Clouds by Danny Hahlbohm or a wand

Summary: Jesus ascends to heaven in view of his followers.

I want to show you a trick. Look at this jelly bean and watch closely because I’m going to make it disappear. (wave the wand and simply close your hand) Where did it go? (of course it is still in your hand, but when they say so, move your hand over your mouth slowly, placing the jelly bean in your mouth so they don’t notice it and continue to slide your hand to your chin and begin rubbing your chin) Hmm. Where could it be? (show that your hand is empty now) This is an illusion. I didn’t really make the jelly bean disappear. I ate it! A good illusionist can make you think you are seeing one thing but it is really a trick. Some illusionists can pretend to levitate, or cause their body (or someone else) to float up in the air. Today I want to tell you about the day that Jesus ascended, or floated up in the air all the way to heaven (and it was no trick!).

After Jesus rose from the dead he stayed on earth for forty days. During this time he showed himself to many people to prove that he had risen. Some of the people that saw him included Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9), the two men on the road to Emmaus, over five hundred followers at one time (1Cor. 15:6), and the disciples. One time the disciples saw Jesus was the day he ascended to heaven.

Jesus told his disciples why he had to go to heaven. It was so he could send the Holy Spirit to dwell with his believers. (Read John 16:7) It was foretold in the Bible long ago that Jesus would ascend to heaven in Psalm 68:18 Thou has ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive. Even Jesus told that he would ascend shortly after he rose from the tomb (John 20:17). So as Jesus stood on Mt. Olivet a little way from Jerusalem he told his disciples to wait on the promise of the Father (Acts 1:4), or wait in Jerusalem until he had sent his Spirit to give them power to spread the gospel.

Then Jesus began to float up in the air! He slowly rose higher and higher until he disappeared from their sight into a cloud. Wow! Then two angels appeared beside the disciples and told them that one day Jesus would return in the same manner that he had left. Next week we will learn what happened ten days later at Pentecost.

©2000 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Pentecost

Text: Acts 2:1-8; Leviticus 23:15,16

Summary: The Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples were able to preach in different languages to the people in Jerusalem and many people were saved.

Last week we learned that Jesus ascended, or went up, to heaven forty days after he rose from the dead. Today I want to tell you what happened ten days later. Something wonderful happened on Pentecost, the Jewish feast of harvest. The word Pentecost means “fiftieth day” because this feast was held fifty days after Passover. The feast was at the time when the first ears of the corn crop were gathered and the people thanked God for providing for their needs. (Leviticus 23:15,16) Listen to what happened on this particular day.

(Read Acts 2:1-8)

 

Pentecost
The Descent of the Spirit by Gustave Doré (1832-1883). Scan courtesy of The Doré Bible.

 

When I imagine a rushing mighty wind I think of the noise made by a tornado, which is loud and makes a roaring sound. There was no wind blowing in the place where the disciples were, but something was making a loud noise. It was the Holy Spirit descending, or coming down, from heaven to be with the believers. It happened just like Jesus said it would. Jesus went up to heaven and the Holy Spirit came down. (Jesus couldn’t be everywhere while on earth, but the Holy Spirit could.)

I want you to think back to the story of the Tower of Babel for a moment. God made different languages to confuse the people there and that caused them to separate and move away from each other. In our story today God was using the Holy Spirit to allow the disciples to speak different languages to bring people together. These people in Jerusalem had come from many different places for the feast and they spoke different languages. They were amazed when they heard the disciples speak to them in their own language!

Then Peter stood up to preach his first sermon. When he was through about 3000 people were saved! (every preacher’s dream) Wherever the Holy Spirit is at work people will come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to teach you about Jesus and give honor and glory to Him (John 16:14). The Holy Spirit comes to live inside you when you ask Jesus into your heart. He marks you as God’s child and will never leave you. We can be thankful that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit after he went up to heaven.

©2000 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

No Ghost

Text: Luke 24:36-48; 1 Thessalonians 5:22

Props: a honeycomb (if available) and bubble gum

Summary: Jesus appeared to his disciples after rising from the dead.

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. For this reason some parents don’t want their children to go “trick or treating” on Halloween. On Halloween night you might see someone dressed in a white sheet pretending to be a ghost. Have you ever thought you saw a ghost? Today I want to tell you about a time when the disciples thought they were seeing a spirit.

The disciples were gathered together behind closed doors. They were hiding because they were afraid the same people who had put Jesus to death might come looking for them next. (John 20:19) Jesus had appeared that morning to Mary Magdalene and they did not believe her. They had just been told that Jesus appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus. Suddenly Jesus appeared from nowhere in the room with them. They were terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost!

(Read Luke 24:37-40) What would you do if you thought you were seeing a ghost? (scream, cry, be upset) Let me hear you scream like you are really scared. (Put your hands over your ears!) Jesus asked them why they were afraid. He showed them his hands and feet. He did this because they could see the nail prints that proved he had been crucified. He let them touch him so they could be certain he was not a ghost.

Jesus tried to get the disciples to settle down. (Read Luke 24:41-43) To prove he was not a ghost Jesus ate a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb. (show the honeycomb if you have one) We know that a ghost could not eat real food. It would just fall to the floor. Now a honeycomb is chewy, wax-like, and very sweet. This piece of bubble gum is chewy and sweet too! Would one of you like to prove you are not a ghost? (select a volunteer to chew the piece of gum, standing in front of the others) See! We know this is no ghost!

Jesus appeared to his disciples so they would know without a doubt that he really had risen from the dead. He comforted them by explaining again that many parts of the Bible said he would suffer death and be raised. Jesus opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures. Jesus is the best person to explain the Bible to us. He sends the Holy Spirit to every believer to guide and comfort us (John 16:13).

I’m going to give you a piece of bubble gum to eat later. I want you to remember this story of how Jesus showed his disciples that he really was raised from the dead.

©2000 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

The Cross

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2

Text: Matthew 27:26-45; 1 Corinthians 1:18

Prop: a poster of the cross or crown of thorns

Summary: The Lord Jesus suffered on the cross. He died in our place to take away our sins.

The cross is the symbol of the Christian faith. Anyone that sees a cross knows that it stands for the suffering that Jesus of Nazareth went through. Let’s read part of the story about what happened. (Read Matthew 27:26-45.)

The Roman soldiers severely whipped, beat and made fun of Jesus before they put him to death. They nailed him to the cross and left him to die. They offered him drugs (vinegar mixed with gall) to kill the pain but he refused. Even from the cross Jesus said “no” to drugs. They took away his clothes and bet to see who would keep them (Psalm 22:18). He was crucified between two thieves. Passersby and the religious leaders said a lot of bad things about Jesus as he hung on the cross. They tried to make others doubt that the things Jesus had said were true.

Did you know that God loves us so much he allowed Jesus to die for us? It was a terrible thing that happened at Golgotha, but God meant it for our good. Some people think it doesn’t matter and is silly. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Our Lord took away our sins that day. He took on the sins of the whole world, of everyone that ever has or ever will believe on him by faith. A supernatural darkness covered the whole land for three hours at midday just before Jesus gave up his spirit. The powers of darkness must have thought they had won. But as dawn came on the first day of the week, the tomb was empty and Jesus had risen from the grave. And the world has never been the same.

Let us pray: Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for taking away my sins on the cross. Help me to follow you each day. Amen.

©2002 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Road to Emmaus

Text: Luke 24:13-35

Prop: a poster of Jesus breaking bread with men at Emmaus

Summary: Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Jesus is with us in sad times.

Alternate introduction: Ask the children to make a happy or sad face any time they hear the words happy or glad or sad in the story. If you like, you can open with a mention of the story of Snow White and ask the children if they know the names of any of the dwarfs. Happy and Grumpy are the characters to get their attention about this sermon.

One day two friends were walking on the road to Emmaus. Something terrible happened three days before. Jesus had been hung on a cross and crucified. They were sad and upset about this. While they were talking about what happened Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. They didn’t know that it was Jesus. They supposed it was just someone walking along the road. Jesus asked why they were so sad.

One of the two men, Cleopas, explained that they were sure Jesus was God’s chosen person to save the children of Israel. He told about Jesus being crucified and how some women had been to the tomb that morning but his body wasn’t there. The women had seen angels that said Jesus was alive!

Then Jesus began to explain that all through the writings of Moses and the prophets that these things were written about Him before they ever happened. As they listened their hearts were happy to hear the good news that Jesus suffered to save His people. The very author of the Bible was explaining the scriptures to them and it made them glad. But remember that they didn’t realize it was Jesus yet. They wanted to spend more time with this stranger but he acted as if he had to continue his journey.

They pleaded with him to stay for supper. As he sat down to eat he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. This was Easter and the risen Lord Jesus disappeared right in front of them!

Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Jesus had been killed and it was hard to understand why God would allow such a thing to happen. We may lose a dear friend in a car accident. Our father may lose his job. We might have a pet that we love very much that dies. A tornado, hurricane, or flood may damage or destroy our home. We don’t understand what God’s purpose is for us in that situation when it happens, but God is with us even in sad times when our hearts are breaking. Jesus walked right beside the two men on the road to Emmaus. Jesus is with us all the time no matter what happens. We can be happy about that!

©1999 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Noah’s Ark – Rainbows and Promises

Mission Noah
Art courtesy of Mission Noah

And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. – Genesis 8:4

Text: Genesis 8

Summary: God promised to never destroy the earth with water again. He gave us the rainbow as a reminder of his promise. We should keep our promises just as God keeps His promises.

God brought the ark to rest on the mountain on the same day that became Easter later. It was a beginning of a new world and new life. The old world had been swept away by the great flood. Noah and his family came out of the ark into a new world. Noah built an altar unto the Lord and sacrificed burnt offerings. Most people would curse God if he destroyed everything, but Noah was grateful that God had spared him and his family.

The Bible says that God realized that man would remain sinful, so he decided never to curse the ground for man’s sake, and never to smite every living thing again as he had done with the flood. So God made a promise to never destroy the earth by a flood again. When God makes a promise, he keeps it. As a sign of his promise, he placed the rainbow in the sky whenever it rained. Have you ever made a promise? Did you keep your promise? With people, we might forget what we promised or break our promise. If you tell someone you are going to do something, you need to keep your word. That is called integrity. A Christian should be able to keep his word of honor.

God’s sign that he would remember his promise was the rainbow. Have you ever seen a rainbow? Did you ever wonder what a rainbow was made of? It is made of light. In fact, it is made of seven colors of light. It only occurs when it rains. The light of the sun shines through the rain, causing the light to bend (or refract) and reflect off the rain. The rain acts like a prism, splitting the white light into the colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (deep blue), and violet (purple). They always stay in the same order, because the frequency is from low to high. It always forms an arch. Does this sound like something God made? Yes, it is very orderly and dependable, just like God. Jesus is like the rainbow to us: when God sees us and our sin, he sees us through Jesus, who said “I am the light of the world.” (John 8:12) God doesn’t see our sin due to the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross.

Some people think the story of the flood is a myth, something made up. How do we know it is true? The Bible speaks many times about the flood and God’s word is true. Even our Lord Jesus spoke plainly about the flood when he spoke of his return to earth. In Matthew 24:37-39, Jesus said:

But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the Flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the Ark, and knew not until the Flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Let’s be ready when Jesus returns. Don’t miss the boat!

©1997 by Jim Kerlin. All rights reserved.

Easter 2013

As I consider all my blessings, I count it a joy to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in 2013 with millions of Christians on Earth. When I think of all the wonderful works that our Lord has done and continues to do, I marvel at the thought of being empowered to do mighty works. Yet, that is exactly what Jesus says we will do. Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14:12) All things are possible with God, and if God is with us, our faith and our belief will move mountains. We shift energy telekinetically with our belief. What will you do today?