What’s the difference between being dead and being alive?
God doesn’t just make good people better, he makes dead people alive.
In every other religion you use God to make your life a little bit better. Just obey God’s rules and you will have a better life. But Christianity teaches something very different. It teaches us that we don’t start out good and have to get better, we start out dead and have to be resurrected.
There’s a story in the Old Testament, in the book of Ezekiel, that illustrates this. God was teaching Ezekiel about the New Covenant. Do you remember what the New Covenant is? The Old Covenant that God made with his people at Mount Sinai through Moses, required the people to obey God’s laws. But this only made them guilty and deserving of death. So, in his love, God promised a New Covenant of grace. God would overturn our guilt and death by giving us the Holy Spirit – the dead would be made alive!
To show Ezekiel this amazing truth, God took him to a valley full of skeletons. A place full of dead dry bones. Gross (not to mention a bit scary). Listen to what God tells Ezekiel to do:
Ezekiel 37:4-6. 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
God’s people were in a bad place. They were far from home, slaves in a foreign and evil land. They had no temple to worship in. And they had disobeyed God for hundreds of years. They were like dry dead bones on the inside.
And that’s how all of us are. We all start out as sinners that are dead inside. We all need to be resurrected by God’s love and his kindness. And the good news is that God wants to resurrect us. Just like he did those dry bones. Listen to what happened next:
Ezekiel 37:10. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
Wow. Can you imagine seeing that? Skeletons coming to life as an army?
Did you know that you are never to bad or too sinful for God? God can make dead people alive. And that is what he wants to do for each of us. How do we know? Because he made Jesus alive after he died on the cross for our sins. Jesus took upon himself every sin that every human had ever committed (including you) – zillions of sins with all the guilt of the world. And then he died. But then God raised him to life! And he wants to raise you to life too. He wants to make your “dry bones” come back to life on the inside of you. How? By giving you the Holy Spirit when you trust in Jesus as your savior from sin.
And when we do trust in Jesus we become a “great army” for God. An army of love and kindness that goes around doing good for Jesus. Not to make Jesus love us more, but because Jesus has loved us most.
Because of Jesus you have been raised from death to life.
With Jesus you are part of God’s army of love and kindness.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Here’s a kid’s version of the song Graves Into Gardens.
If age appropriate you can look at pictures of skeletons that have been found by archeologists. I know this can be a “deep” conversation, but talk to your children about the finality of death. Even doctors can’t help someone after they have died. But God can. Only God can bring a body back to life (like Jesus), and only God can make a dead heart alive with his love.
You didn’t just take me from good to better. You took me from dead to alive. Now let me live for you.
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