Jesus now has twelve disciples who stay close by His side. They help bring the sick and listen carefully to His teachings.
When Jesus sees the multitudes, He teaches them of the kingdom.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth….”
His words have power. He does not promise worldly greatness like the rabbis. The multitudes are amazed.
‘He is different’, say the people.
Jesus offers hope to the poor, the lonely, and the hurting. With great compassion, He feeds the people when they are hungry, heals them when they are sick.
Serving others is the golden rule of the kingdom of heaven.
Children love to sit on His knee and stroke His gentle face. They feel safe with Jesus. They love to hear His stories. He makes them simple and easy to understand.
The Very Long Story
‘Does that mean to surrender?’ asks Kevin.
‘Yes’, says Meilon. ‘God gives all who surrender His Spirit
and the Spirit changes them on the inside.’
'So can the person who surrenders do what Jesus says?’ asks Summer.
‘Yes’, answers Betil. ‘Meilon and I have seen human beings surrender who have been cruel and evil, and they have changed so much we could hardy recognise them.’
‘It is a miracle of God’, adds Meilon.
‘Paul in the Bible is one of them’, suggests Kevin.
‘Yes, you are right’, replies Betil. ‘He put Christians in prison, but then he surrendered and became an apostle of Jesus.’
‘I want to be like Jesus’, says Summer. The angels are pleased. ‘That is good.’
‘But how can we love those who hate us?’ asks Jeannette.
‘Again, I can’t speak from experience’, says Meilon. ‘But from listening to Jesus I believe it always relates to surrender.’
‘Yes’, adds Betil. ‘Truth is the opposite to Lucifer’s wisdom. He tells you to use your own strength. God says to surrender.’
‘Can you explain how it works?’ asks Kevin.
‘It would be better if Jesus told you, but I know He says that if you use your strength, you can’t do it. But if you surrender, God gives His strength, and then you can.’
‘Oh, I understand now’, says Summer.
‘I see it too, but surrender is the hard part’, adds Jeannette.
Kevin has the answer. ‘You just have to kneel down and pray.’
‘Yes, Kevin is right’, agrees Betil.
‘But there must be a decision to surrender.’
Meilon points to the emerald walls.
‘See these beautiful gems. These are to remind you of something very important in your lives on earth. It is the colour you need to remember.’
‘Green?’ asks Kevin.
Yes, any type of green. Just the colour green’, answers Betil.
Meilon continues. ‘It means something. All colours are symbolic. Has Jesus told you this?’
‘No’, replies Jeannette.
‘But’, adds Summer, ‘we have learned lots of symbols.’
‘Okay, well colours are also symbolic and numbers.’
Betil asks, ‘What number do you think represents the Law of God?’ The children are quiet a moment. Summer suggests, ‘Is it ten?’
‘Correct’, states Meilon. ‘What colour do you think symbolizes the Law?’
‘I know’, volunteers Kevin.
‘It is blue. I know because the children of Israel had to wear a border of blue on their clothes to remind them to keep God’s Law.’
Jeannette adds, ‘And isn’t the foundation of God’s throne blue sapphire?’
‘Very good children’, states Meilon. ‘Yes, the foundation of God’s government is His Law. Everything He does is based on the righteous principles of His Law and character.’
‘Now, what colour symbolizes faith’, asks Betil.
‘It must be green’, suggests Summer.
‘Yes, green’, responds Meilon.
‘That’s why we are in this room. We wanted you to really learn a lesson about obedience and righteousness.’
Betil continues. ‘Everything you do as a Christian involves faith. You need faith to obey. You need faith to believe God will forgive and cleanse you of your sins. You need faith to believe God will give you power to not sin again, so you can obey the Law of God.’
'Yes’, adds Meilon. ‘and faith to receive Christ’s righteousness.’
‘Can you explain that more Meilon’, asks Summer.
‘Yes’, he replies, ‘but remember we cannot speak from experience. When you surrender, Christ’s Spirit dwells in you, giving you a desire to obey and power to do it. But because you are a human sinner, your obedience is not 100% good.’
‘In fact’, adds Betil,’ it’s not good at all.’
‘No’, continues Meilon. ‘Even if you obey, you still need the blood of
Jesus to cleanse even the good things you do.’
‘Isn’t there a Bible verse that says, “all our righteousness is as filthy rags.”’ says Jeannette.
‘That’s true’, states Betil.
He continues. ‘Jesus actually gives you His righteousness which is 100% perfect because He never sinned.’
‘It’s a bit hard to understand’, says Kevin.
Summer ventures to ask. ‘Does it mean that nothing we do is good, but Jesus cleanses us by His blood and then gives us His goodness?’
‘That is exactly right Summer’, states Meilon. ‘And you need faith to believe it because often you don’t feel any different, except that guilt goes away.’
Betil sweeps his arm across the emerald wall. ‘This room will remind you to believe God. If He says He will do something He will always do it.’
‘Eve didn’t believe God would do what He said, did she?’ asks Kevin.
‘That’s right’, joins in Summer, ‘she believed the devil instead.’
‘Always remember’, repeats Meilon, ‘God keeps His promises. The devil will try and trick you like He tricked Eve.’
‘He won’t trick me’, says Kevin.
‘Be careful young man’, warns Betil.
‘According to the Bible’, states Betil, ‘Our Commander resisted unto death. That means He would rather die than sin.’
‘Do you remember why He must be sinless?’ asks Meilon.
‘I do’, responds Kevin. ‘It is because Jesus must be a perfect sacrifice, like the innocent lamb in the Garden of Eden.’
‘That is right Kevin, a very good answer.’
‘And also’, says Meilon, ‘Our beloved Master must not die until He is put on the cross. Lucifer will try to put Him to death before the time.’
Betil agrees. ‘But there are angels protecting Him all the time, so it will never happen, no matter how hard Lucifer tries.’
‘You can’t stop Him from sinning can you?’ asks Jeannette.
‘No. We can do nothing. Our Commander must make His own decisions.’
‘I am glad we know the end of the story’, says Kevin. Everyone smiles.
After Jesus returns from the wilderness, He begins gathering disciples to Himself. Simon, called Peter, his brother Andrew, the two brothers James and John, and Nathanael.
The little group of disciples follow Jesus up and down hills, through rugged mountains and across grassy fields by the sea.
Jesus meets many sick people and His fame soon spreads throughout Galilee. The sick are brought on stretchers and the lame hobble towards the Healer. The tormented and devil-possessed shriek at the top of their voices, and the lepers cry ‘Unclean, unclean.’ The people scatter.
A mother approaches. ‘Jesus, please heal my son. He is very sick.’
‘Can you heal my daughter?’ pleads another. ‘The doctors can’t do anything for her.’
‘Jesus, I am sick. Will you heal me?’ asks a man.
Another cries out, ‘I want to be well too.’
The Messiah has compassion on everyone and He heals them all. Gradually great multitudes follow Jesus from all over Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and beyond Jordan. Some even come from Tyre and Sidon.
Teaching and Healing
The children look forward to spending the day with the angels. They feel so blessed to be able to view the scenes of Jesus’ life on earth.
‘We will be able to tell the story of Jesus like we have really seen it’, says Summer.
‘I am glad’, responds Jeannette, ‘because it will be easier to remember.’
Meilon and Betil are waiting at the tree of life, and after happy greetings lead the children to another beautiful room. The walls are covered with emeralds.
‘Ooooh’, exclaims Oma, ‘this is my room.’
‘Your favourite colour’, says Kevin.
Everyone smiles, knowing how much Oma loves emerald green.
‘Children, you are in this room for a reason which we will discuss later,' says Betil.
Meilon now brings our thoughts back to Jesus. ‘Our Commander has been anointed with the Spirit, and now He can officially begin His ministry.’
‘Remember Satan is on His tracks’, reminds Betil.
‘Yes’, adds Meilon, ‘He must never sin, never in His whole life.’
‘Wow, that would be very hard’, says Jeannette.
‘Yes’, concludes Summer. ‘I can’t imagine how He did it.’
‘You know His defence, don’t you?’ asks Betil.
‘Yes, it was the Bible, but still, it would take a lot to do.’
‘It is true’, answers Meilon. Betil agrees.
‘Dear children’, says Jesus. ‘God loves you very much. My Father and I think about you every day and will never forget you. If you are in trouble, call me for help.’
‘We will’, say the children.
The Pharisees are proud of themselves for keeping the law, yet they break it every day. Jesus tells them they must become like little children, and then they will be saved.
Jesus explains that keeping the letter of the law is not enough to enter heaven. The Jewish leaders say they keep the fifth commandment to respect their parents, but they do not help them when they are in need.
They profess to keep the sixth commandment not to kill, but they are angry with anyone who does not agree with them.
Jesus says, ‘To be angry without a cause is murder.’
The people look at each other in amazement. ‘Who can keep such a law?’
‘We can’t do it’, calls a man from the crowd.
‘No, everyone sins’, says another.
‘It is impossible to keep the Law perfectly’, states one of the soldiers. Jesus replies, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
‘What?’ calls a ruler. ‘How can anyone be better than the Pharisees?’
‘They are righteous.’
Jesus replies, ‘They are the blind leading the blind. Both will fall into a ditch.’
‘How can He say such things? Who is He anyway?’
‘I believe He is the Messiah’, says a young girl.
‘Messiah won’t come from Galilee’, states a learned scribe to all around him.
‘He is an imposter’, yells a ruler. ‘He has no right to criticize the Pharisees.’
The crowd is divided.
Jesus continues. “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you… pray for them…”
The people are shocked. What kind of a religion is this?
‘Are we to love those who hate us?’ calls a woman.
‘It’s impossible’, says another.
Jesus' words continue to startle His listeners.
‘You will be forgiven as you forgive others. If you don’t forgive others their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive you.’ One of the rulers calls out, ‘This is all impossible.’ Many agree with him.
‘Master’, asks a man at the front of the crowd. ‘What if my brother deceives me and never asks forgiveness?’ Jesus’ answer is simple. ‘Forgive him.’
‘But I can’t forget what he did. How can I forgive him?’
‘If you want forgiveness’, repeats Jesus, ‘you must forgive him. He needs to ask forgiveness for his own sins. Leave him to God.’
‘It’s too hard’, says the man.
Jesus looks at the man with love in His heart and tells him. ‘If you do not forgive, you cannot be forgiven, and you will become bitter. If you bear a grudge against another, it only hurts you, not the other person. And you are guilty of murder.’
‘Oh, now you are making me the sinner’, cries the man.
‘He’s twisting things’, says his friend. ‘Don’t listen to Him.’
Despite His strange and startling teachings, Jesus is gaining popularity among the people. The Pharisees and Sadducees are angry.
‘Jesus is drawing the people away from us’, says one of the leaders.
Thumping his fist into his hand, another yells, ‘We must put a stop to it. Our authority is disappearing.’
An older lawyer warns, ‘We need to be careful.’
‘Why don’t we trap Him with words?’ suggests a scribe. All agree. ‘Hey, that’s a great idea.’
‘Let’s plan how to do it.’
‘Meilon’, concludes Jeannette. ‘Some of the lessons Jesus teaches are very hard.’
Betil answers. ‘Children, no angel can really help you understand how to do what Jesus teaches because we have never sinned. But in listening to our Commander we know that you cannot do any of them unless you are born again.’