So this is kind of a part two from yesterday's post. I just wanted to add a few things about how to share the Gospel with a toddler even if they don't understand a whole lot.
Here's some things that they probably can understand:
- Jesus was perfect! Explain that he never did anything bad, like disobey his parents or hit someone. He was perfect because He is God!
- Contrast Jesus' perfection with your child's sin! They will probably admit to doing wrong things, and this will help them see how amazing it was that Christ took their punishment!
- Explain how because of our sin, we can't be with God and we deserve for God to punish us! But because God loves us, He sent Jesus to be punished in our place! Take the time to explain this however your toddler will best understand! After saying it a couple different ways, a couple different times, Titus seemed to get it. I think he was excited that he didn't have to "get in trouble" because Jesus had taken his punishment! :) But the point was that he got that Jesus had done something very special for him and I've worked hard to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in him so that he will be more and more prepared for that day of his salvation!
- They may not understand every part of the Gospel, but they can certainly pick up from our tone of voice and excitement that this is something special, that Jesus did something very important and they will pick up our attitude towards it. And it'll probably also cause them to be open to keep hearing about it. They'll want to talk about it, especially if it's something Mom gets so excited about!
How I share the Story of Christ's death:
- I usually start talking about the story of Jesus' death at the point of Judas' betrayal in the garden. I explain it like this: Some bad men didn't like Jesus and wanted to get him in trouble even though he hadn't done anything wrong. One of his friends, Judas, decided to help the bad men. While Jesus was praying in a garden, he walked up and kissed Jesus so that the bad men would know that that was Jesus. They took Jesus away and did very mean things to him. They hit him and spit at him, and pulled his hair. He was bleeding and had lots of "ouchies." They didn't believe that he was God. They thought he was bad. Jesus' friends all ran away and hid because they were scared. So Jesus was all alone. Then the people who didn't like Jesus nailed him on a cross and made fun of him! But Jesus prayed that God would forgive those people! Then Jesus died on the cross. And it got really dark and thundered and ground shook! After Jesus died, some people put his body in a tomb to keep it safe. All his friends were so sad! Jesus had told everybody that he was going to rise again in three days, but they didn't remember. Three days later, some women came to put some oils and spices on his body, but when they got there the huge stone was rolled away and Jesus was gone! There was an angel there and he said, "don't be afraid! He is not here! He has risen, just like he said" And the angel told them to go tell everybody! They women were so happy! Jesus was alive again!
- So at this point of the story, I think Titus is a little lost because he doesn't understand death, let alone Christ rising again. But I try to tell it as simply as possible using terms and words he knows. One day he'll understand, but for now I'm content to just tell the story and impart my own excitement! But he does understand that Jesus died on the cross, and for now I think all he thinks about it is that it's pretty cool and we thank Jesus for it. He already thinks very highly of Jesus because of other things he knows about Jesus: he loves us, he's with us, he takes care of us, etc.
Things to do for now:
- Tell the Good News in the most understandable way to your toddler. Then repeat, repeat, repeat!
- Pray with them, and include in your prayers your thankfulness for the gospel! It's another way for your kids to hear and be reminded of what God did for them! Your kids will probably start to pray how you do!
- Pray for them to understand, and for God to work in their hearts to bring them to salvation!
- Let your excitement and thankfulness for the Gospel be evident to your toddlers as you live your life!