My grandson, Jacob, and I were looking through my Great-Grandmother’s 300-year-old Family Bible. This Bible had the Family Tree in it, and was full also of paintings of Biblical characters. He was intrigued with the Family Tree, but he stopped when he saw this picture of Jesus and the children. He began to read the caption under the picture out loud. He was focusing intensely on one big word.
“What does pro-pit-i-a-tion mean, Grandma?” He carefully sounded out each syllable of the old King James word. He was reading 1 John 4:10 –
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
“That’s a big word, isn’t it, Jacob? Even some people as old as Grandma don’t know what that word means!”
“Do you know, Grandma?” He was all ears and eyes!
“Oh yes. Grandma knows.” I tossled his hair.
“Well, let me tell you a make-believe story so you can understand, OK?” He nodded, so I went on.
“There was this boy named Jacob and he had done something bad. He knew he was going to be punished so he tried to hide. But Mama found him and when she saw what he had done, she was not a happy camper! She told Jacob he wouldn’t be able to watch his DVDs for a week, and no TV for a whole week! He was very sad. But then something wonderful happened!”
“What, Grandma? Did Spider Man tell his Mama to let him watch?”
I hugged him, and answered, “No, honey. Jacob’s best friend, Adam, said, ‘I won’t watch my DVDs for a week if you let Jacob watch his. And I won’t watch TV for a week if you let Jacob watch TV.'”
“He did?!?” Jacob was incredulous! “Why did he do that?”
“Because he loved you, Jacob, and he wanted to show you how special you were. He was sad that you wouldn’t be able to watch SpongeBob SquarePants for a whole week. But your Mama told him she would only do that if you asked him to. So you had to ask Adam to take your punishment for you.”
“But what would Adam do for a whole week?” His little brow was furrowed and he seemed genuinely worried about his friend.
“I don’t know, Jacob, but Adam volunteered to be your substitution for your punishment because you were his best friend. So would you ask him to take your punishment, Jacob?”
“But that wouldn’t be fair. He didn’t do nuthin’ wrong. I did!” Jacob’s voice was emotional as he realized his unworthiness.
“You’re right, Jacob. But Adam WANTED to take your punishment.”
“He did?” Jacob was really perplexed now.
“Yes, Jacob. He loved you as his best friend and he wanted to show you. So what would you do?”
“Maybe I would ask him to, then. If it’s what HE wanted.” Tears were emerging now, and his voice was soft and meek.
“Then Adam would be YOUR propitiation! Adam would be your substitute and take what you deserved!”
“Oh! He would take my punishment for me?”
“You got it, Jacob! Oh, you are such a smart boy and Grandma loves you this much!”
“I love THIS much, Grandma!” His mischievous look was back in full force as we began to play our ‘I love you this much’ game.
Originally published on www.godwoman.blogspot.com by April Lorier