Helping children see the love of the Lamb in the reality of the cross – that’s the theme woven throughout this blog series about children and Easter. As a mother, it’s a resounding thought in my mind right now as Easter approaches, but it should remain a constant purpose in my life each day as my husband and I seek to raise two children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
As the final installment in a three-part series in which Dr. R.C. Sproul Jr. and Burk Parsons offer sound ways to help you make an eternal investment in your children this Easter and throughout their lives, Rev. James L. Harvey III chimes in by instructing parents to treat every Sunday as Resurrection Sunday and to read Scripture daily as a family.
Harvey is a father of four and senior pastor of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Newark, Delaware (PCA). He offers the following advice, in his own words, for teaching children.
We want to convey to our children that every Sunday is Easter Sunday. If we’re going to celebrate Easter Sunday in a church, it ought to be somewhat like an anniversary. You might remember the day that you were married, but every day you are married. We are called to live according to our resurrection in Christ daily, not just on Easter Sunday (Colossians 3:1).
There is no doctrine of Christian theology that does not relate in a vital way to the resurrection of Christ. [That’s why] I emphasize learning Scripture together and letting the Scriptures set the priorities for the significance of the Resurrection, the Christian life and what our children need to understand in order to be believers. But don’t pressure the child to understand everything perfectly at once. Make it a daily practice to read portions of Scripture with your children and pray with them.
A helpful way to focus on the Resurrection is to take verses of Scripture that teach on the Resurrection and learn them as a family. Fathers should participate and lead along with their wives. Children will love saying the verse at mealtimes or before bed. This should be fun and joyful for the whole family, not a test.
As children absorb truth from Scripture they begin to have a Biblical theology with all the nuances of Scripture, and they get there by dwelling upon the Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I suggest these verses with a certain progression in mind:
Romans 4:25 – “He was delivered over to death for our sins, but raised to life for our justification.” Our children need to know that death entered the world because of sin. Death is the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). The resurrection shows that God was satisfied with Jesus’ payment for sin because the penalty for sin was removed. He did not remain dead but rose again.
1 Peter 1:21 – “Through Him you believe in God who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” We come to God the Father through Jesus. The resurrection makes it clear that we should put all our faith and hope in God and not in the things of this world. Our faith and our hope are in God because He is the one who raised Jesus from the dead so that we too can live forever.
1 Corinthians 15:20 – “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” When we see the firstfruits of the harvest come in, we know that the rest of the harvest is coming soon. We know that our bodies will be raised just as Jesus’ body was raised.
2 Corinthians 5:15 – “And He died for all that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” The Apostle Paul is compelled by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). The context suggests that it is not his own love for Christ that is compelling, but Christ’s love for him. We should see in the Resurrection the great love of Christ for us.
Rev. James L. Harvey, III
RESOURCE FOR TEACHING CHILDREN:
▶“Holy Week: Prepare for Easter with Your Family” by Noël Piper