About jasonbyerly

Writer. Children's Pastor. Husband. Dad. All around lucky guy.

Best Surprise Ever 7: Surprising Life

Surprising Life

This is Part Seven in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two, Part ThreePart Four, Part Five and Part Six if you need to catch up.  

Verse to Remember:  The Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you. So the God who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your bodies. He will do this because of his Spirit who lives in you.  – Romans 8:11 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus is alive forever, and I can live with him forever too.  

Have you ever had bad news turn into good news?  Imagine your mom made a fresh batch of cookies, but your brother or sister ate them before you could have any.  Bad news, right? But then what if your mom felt sorry for you and made a whole plate of cookies just for you? That’s good news.  

Or how about this?  Imagine you were supposed to go horseback riding, but the trip got rained out.  Bad news, right? But then, what if you got up the next day to discover that your grandpa bought you your very own pony?  Wow, that would be good news!

Jesus’ friends had to deal with some bad news too.  It was much worse than someone eating your cookies or a rainy day ruining your plans.  Their friend, their leader, their teacher, Jesus, was dead.

Jesus’ friends were so incredibly sad.  They had been following Jesus for years, watching him do amazing things like walk on water and heal sick people and even bring dead people back to life.  They had learned from him and laughed with him. They loved him, but now he was gone.

This wasn’t just bad news.  It was the worst news ever.

But then, something incredible happened.  The worst news of all time turned into the best news of all time.  

The Bible says on that first Easter morning, Jesus’ body lay dead in a tomb.  A massive stone sealed the entrance, and Roman soldiers stood guard outside. Jesus’ friends were scared and hiding.  All hope seemed lost.

Then God went to work.  The ground began to rumble and shake.  The soldiers didn’t know what was happening.  Suddenly, a strange warrior appeared out of nowhere, his clothes crackling with energy, the power and glory of God.  

When the soldiers saw the mighty angel, they were terrified and fell to the ground.  Then, the angel rolled back the stone that sealed the tomb, and revealed the best surprise ever waiting inside.  

Jesus was alive. 

The stone wasn’t big enough.  The guards weren’t tough enough and death wasn’t strong enough to hold Jesus back. Now Jesus is alive forever, and no one and nothing can ever hurt him again.  

You want to know the best part of the best surprise ever?  If we follow Jesus, that same power that raised him from the dead is inside of us.  So we don’t have to be afraid of bad news. We don’t even have to be afraid of death, because we will live forever with Jesus.

This Easter, party like you never have before.  Thank God for the best surprise ever. Celebrate what Jesus did for you on the cross, that he is alive, and you are alive with him today.  

Prayer

God, thank you for the best surprise ever.  Thank you that Jesus is alive, and I will be alive forever with him because of your love and power.  Amen.

Talk About It

  1. What is your favorite part about Easter?
  2. Can you think of a time you got some bad news?  
  3. How about some good news?
  4. What makes Jesus’ resurrection the best surprise ever?

Don’t miss out on the next family devotion series.  Subscribe here.

 

Best Surprise Ever 6: Surprising Price

SurprisingPrice

This is Part Six in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two, Part ThreePart Four and Part Five if you need to catch up.  

Verse to Remember: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus died to set me free.  

Have you ever tried to sell something you owned?  Maybe a baseball card or a comic book or even an old toy at a garage sale?  Or maybe you set up a lemonade stand on a hot, summer day and tried to sell drinks to your neighbors?  

If you’ve ever sold something, how did you decide what the price would be?  Did you ask your parents to look online to see how much your comic book was worth or ask a friend what they would charge for lemonade?

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter what you charged.  What mattered was how much someone was willing to pay. You could have said your baseball card was worth a million dollars, but if no one was willing to pay that price, it wouldn’t really be worth it.  

2,000 years ago, Jesus showed us how much we are worth to God.  He paid the ultimate price for you and me. He didn’t pay for us with money.  He paid for us with his life.

After Jesus was arrested and taken to Pilate, he was sentenced to die.  He hadn’t done anything wrong, but his enemies were jealous of him. They didn’t want the people to follow Jesus.  They wanted people to follow them.

So Pilate turned Jesus over to the soldiers who beat him and took him to a hill outside of the city.  They nailed Jesus to a wooden cross. Then, the one man who had never done anything wrong, the perfect Son of God, took the punishment for the sin of the world.  

But this was all part of God’s plan.  Jesus had come to earth for this very reason.  He came to earth to pay the price for the bad things you and I have done, so we don’t have to.  He died on the cross so we could be forgiven and free.

Now we can be friends with a perfect God even though we’re not perfect.  Now God’s power can change us to be more like Jesus each day. Now we can be a part of God’s family because Jesus paid the price for us.  

Want to know how much you’re worth to God?  Just look at the cross. Look at Jesus. Remember the price he paid for you and remember you are loved.  

Prayer:

Jesus, you are my Savior.  Thank you for paying the price for the wrong things I’ve done so that I can be a part of your family forever.  I love you, Jesus. Amen.

Talk About It:

  1. What’s the coolest gift you’ve ever received?  Who gave it to you? How did that make you feel?
  2. What gift did Jesus buy for you on the cross?
  3. How can we show Jesus we’re grateful for his gift this week?

 Don’t miss the next devotion in the Best Surprise Ever series.  Subscribe here.

 

Best Surprise Ever 5: Surprising Kingdom

Surprising Kingdom

This is Part Five in a seven-part series of family devotions leading up to Easter.  Here is Part OnePart Two, Part Three and Part Four, if you need to catch up.   

Verse to Remember: May your kingdom come.  May what you want to happen be done on earth as it is done in heaven. – Matthew 6:10 (NIrV)

Big Idea:  Jesus is the King of Kings, and I can help bring his kingdom to earth.

Have you ever built a sand castle?  It’s a blast to sit on the beach and sculpt your own little kingdom, isn’t it?   You can shape the walls and towers and turrets any way you want. At the end of the day, though, what happens to your kingdom?

It all gets washed away.

Jesus knew that the same thing happens with all the kingdoms of earth.  Countries change names, and get taken over by other countries. Rulers come and go.  But there is one kingdom that never ends. God’s kingdom!

That’s what Jesus was talking about when he was taken to a man named Pontius Pilate.  Pilate was a ruler for the Roman government. After Jesus was arrested, his enemies took him to Pilate because they wanted Pilate to put him to death.  

Pilate asked Jesus is he was king of the Jewish people.  Jesus said he was, but his kingdom wasn’t a kingdom on earth.  It was better. It was a kingdom in heaven. Pilate didn’t understand what he was talking about.  He was too busy trying to keep his job and make all the people happy.

Eventually Pilate gave the people what they wanted.  He knew Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong, but he sentenced him to die on the cross anyway.  But here’s the amazing part. By dying on the cross, Jesus made it possible for us to be a part of his kingdom, a kingdom that never ends!

Pilate and his kingdom are gone now, washed away like a sandcastle on the beach, but 2,000 years later Jesus’ kingdom is still going strong.  Someday Jesus will bring his kingdom to earth and will make everything new.

In the meantime, we get to help people see what God’s kingdom is like when we treat them the way Jesus would.  Every time you love people, serve people and are generous to people, you are bringing heaven to earth a little bit every day.

Prayer:

God, thank you for inviting me to be a part of your kingdom.  Please help me to show people what your kingdom is like by the way I treat them.  Amen.

 Talk About It:

  1. What’s the difference between human kingdoms and God’s kingdom?
  2. What do you think it will be like when Jesus brings heaven to earth?
  3. How can you bring a little bit of heaven to earth for someone this week?

 

Don’t miss the next devotion in the Best Surprise Ever series.  Subscribe here.