I was talking with a group of children about Jesus’ authority to forgive sins and heal people. Some of them struggled with the idea of ‘authority’ so we talked about it by showing them a number of cards of people who help us:
doctor, dentist, bus driver, teacher, firefighter, police officer etc
We then asked some questions, such as:
Who has the authority to give me medicine if I am sick?
Who has the authority to drill holes in my teeth?
Who has the authority to drive you home from school?
Who has the authority to drive a fire engine?
Who has the authority to give you homework?
Who has the authority to put criminals in prison?
If someone else (like me!) tried to do any of these jobs I’d be in trouble because I don’t have the authority to do these things – I’m not able to do them, I’m not allowed to do them. These people can do these jobs because of who they are.
When it comes to forgiving sins and healing people, Jesus has the authority to do these things because of who He is – He is God’s own son, and the only one who has lived a perfect life.
What other things does Jesus have the authority to do?
I’ve been mulling over how to explain the term “ransom” to younger children, to help with a Club I’ve been involved with – it’s a difficult term to understand at the best of times, especially if you’re very young.
With that in mind, I thought about how what we pay reflects the ‘preciousness’ of the thing we’re buying, and also indicates who is involved in the transaction, so I thought of a few things you might want to ‘ransom’, or buy back from a particular person, and what you might be willing to pay…
Mr Tayto (the face of a brand of crisps here in Northern Ireland – you might also use Julius Pringles (for that is apparently his name!)) has taken your favourite hat – what might you pay him to get it back? Potato
Bob the Builder has borrowed your hammer – what would you give him to get it back? Rawl plugs/screws/nails
Optimus Prime wants to sell you some furry dice for your car – what might you pay him with? De-icer or similar
Lady Gaga has taken your sausages to wear – what might you use to convince her to give them back? Hairspray
You want to buy Jack’s cow – what might he sell her for? Magic Beans
When it comes to buying something back, or paying a ransom for something, we can use all sorts of things to buy and swap. But did you know that we need to be bought back too? We are all caught up in sin – which means the wrong things we do – it’s like sin has trapped us and owns us and we can’t get out of it. So God wanted to buy us out of it – but because we are so special to Him He didn’t use potatoes or magic beans or even gold or money. We are so precious that God gave the most precious thing He has to ransom us – His own Son.
(Mark 10:45 is the verse we’re using to hang this on)