Last night at the Passover service our church held, the presenter gave away the mystery that my third grade Sunday School class is working all year to solve. That is, "Who killed Jesus and why?"
We begin the year on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24) with the resurrected Jesus and two disciples. A sad, tragic event has happened.
What? Jesus was killed.
When? Passover week.
Where? In Jerusalem.
Who did it?
The kids come up with the usual suspects (and admittedly, we don't steer them to the correct answer): Who?
Judas! The Priests! Pilate! The Jewish crowd! The soldiers! We did because of our sin!
No. They and we are not the culprits.
To die for my sins!
(They get a little closer here, thankfully.)
We go back to the beginning of Scripture to look for clues all year.
Adam was God's image bearer.
Sin is punished with death.
Abraham is one man blessing the world.
Isaac is one loved son of the promise.
Jacob is the father of the nation of Israel.
The scepter will not depart from Judah.
David's everlasting throne.
A virgin will be with child: God with us.
A king on a donkey.
We find more than 30 clues.
With just a few weeks left in the school year, we are now solving our clues and very close to solving the entire mystery of "Who killed Jesus?"
But last night, for astute third graders listening, the presenter of the Passover seder program gave it all away.
He said "Who did this to the Messiah? It wasn't Caiaphas. It wasn't Pilate. It wasn't the crowd. It wasn't the soldiers."
"This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The LORD did this. The LORD planned from the beginning to send His Son, Jesus, as our Messiah. His purposes in sending His Son are "hidden" all throughout the Old Testament Scriptures.
As Jews complete their Passover seder with a song from Psalm 118, part of the "Great Hallel," they sing these words from Psalm 118. The answer to the mystery is hidden right there in a Psalm, but one in which Jesus later said was about Himself (Matt. 21:42).
Yes, Jesus died for our sins. But no, we didn't put Him on that cross. We don't deserve His salvation. We can't require it.
"The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes."
Note: Our third grade Sunday School class teaches the curriculum "In the Beginning...Jesus" from Children Desiring God. If you are the parent of one of my students, now is a good time to be asking them what all these Old Testament stories they've been studying have to do with Jesus!
The photos show our playdough tomb project. Today, Good Friday, we will read of Christ's crucifixion and place our figure for Jesus on the cross. The tomb has not yet been filled; soldiers are casting lots for his clothing and people stand around grieving or mocking.