The angel said to the women,
“Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matthew 28:5-6 (NIV)
Six-year-old Katelyn walked into the house after returning home from church instead of bouncing, running, or skipping as was her usual style. Her small head was lowered and her forehead furrowed.
“What’s wrong, Katelyn?” I asked.
She looked up at me, but the frown remained.
“My teacher told me something sad. Let me get a piece of paper and I’ll show you.”
She placed a white sheet of paper and a box of markers on the coffee table, got down on her knees, and went to work. I squinted, confused, as I watched Katelyn pull a brown marker from the box.
“Don’t watch, Nana. I’ll show you when I’m finished.”
“Okay,” I said, and went into the kitchen to prepare lunch. In just a few minutes, Katelyn walked into the kitchen.
“Here, Nana. This is what’s wrong.” She handed me her drawing. Katelyn had drawn a yellow sun in one corner, grass sprouted from the bottom of the page, and a big brown cross reached to the sky. Scrawled in childish handwriting were these words: “Jesus died here. So sad.”
I looked at Katelyn and our eyes met. “He died, Nana. Jesus died on the cross, and I am sad. Does that make you sad, too?” I heard the sadness she tried to choke back.
My precious granddaughter had learned what Jesus endured to be our Savior, and the awful truth broke her sweet heart.
“Oh Katelyn, yes, it makes me sad, but I need to tell you the rest of the story. Jesus died on the cross because He loves us so much. He died on the cross for you and for me and for everyone in the world so that we can be forgiven when we sin, or do something bad. Jesus died so that someday we can go to Heaven and live forever with all the people we love. And do you want to know the best part of the story, Katelyn? Jesus came back to life – did you know that? God raised Him from the dead and took Him to Heaven where He still lives today. We can talk to Him anytime we want by praying.”
“Oh,” she said. I watched the sorrow melt from her face. “That’s good, Nana. Okay, I’m going to play.”
Katelyn heard the news, and joy returned to her heart. She bounced down the hallway to her room, all the while singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know.”
Katelyn’s reaction to hearing that Jesus died on the cross caused my heart to ache, and I experienced anew the sorrow of my Savior’s torturous death. But then I remembered the rest of the story, and joy flooded my soul.
Thank you, Jesus – for the rest of the story.