How do we know Jesus really lived?

As Nannygranne drove to the local Dollar Store with her five young charges, ages 5 to 12, they talked about their shopping trip together.  “Ok, does everyone have your shopping list ready?” A chorus of responses declared everyone prepared.  “Does everyone have a dollar for each name on your list?”  Everyone began to compare who had the most money.  “Ok, then.  When we get to the store, everyone gets a buggy and a buddy, and you find one gift for each person on your list.”  She turned to five-year-old Mason, winked, and whispered, “You’re my shopping buddy today, OK?”  The bespeckled boy grinned up at her, obviously pleased.

“Can we pick out a toy for ourselves, too?” Jacob, a 5th grader, asked.

“Well, today is about doing for someone else and not ourselves,” Nannygranne directed.  Noticing Jacob’s disappointment, she quickly changed the subject.  “Does anyone know why we give gifts at Christmas?”

“Because the wise men brought gifts?” one guessed.

“Because Jesus was a gift to the world?” another supposed.

“I like those answers,” Nannygranne said with a smile.  “God didn’t make any rules about Christmas. It’s a fun time when many people around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus and are with their families.  It’s a happy holiday, I think.”

“How do we know Jesus really even lived?” Jacob still smarted from knowing he wasn’t getting another toy today.

“I’m glad you asked that question, Jacob,” Nannygranne replied.  With only a few minutes before arriving at their destination, she knew she couldn’t adequately answer right then, but she could make a start. “There are grownups who wonder the same thing, and there are even grownups who say that they’ve decided Jesus wasn’t who He said He was.”

When they arrived, Nannygranne parked the van, cautioning everyone to wait before getting out of the car. “Jesus said He was God who had come to earth and become human. Can we figure out whether He was real?  I think we can.”

As they buddied up and reiterated their shopping plan, Nannygranne suggested they pray about their task. “What we are about to do is very important because we will be doing something that shows love for other people. That’s the most important thing about Christmas and even about life.”

She prayed for the children to have wisdom and love as they shopped, and that they would remember all the things God and their families had done for them.

“Before we go into the store, I want us to be thinking if Jesus was just a fairytale, or was He crazy, or a big liar, or was He truly God. We hear a lot about Jesus at Christmas time, so I think it’s important to answer Jacob’s question. Then we’ll talk about it while we’re eating pizza after we’ve finished shopping.  How does that sound?”

“Good!  I like pizza!” said Mason.  He grabbed her hand, and they were off.

How did God take a pinch of dirt and make a man?

The class lesson had been about God creating Adam when Caleb raised his hand and asked, “How did God take a pinch of dirt and make a man?”

“What a good question!” Nannygranne responded.  “Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to watch God do that?” she said.

The other children around the table nodded vigorously.   “I can make Adam out of playdough!” Janie offered.

“Not a REAL one!” Felicity argued.

“But wouldn’t it have been fun to see God make that first man!”  Nannygranne wanted to turn the attention back to the point.  “He only made the first human out of dirt.  Everyone since then is made from pieces of their parents.   Since we weren’t there that first time, we didn’t get to see how God took that bit of dirt and made Adam.  All God told us in the Bible is that He made Adam out of dust and Eve out of Adam’s rib.”1

“My Nana said Mama took the sparkle in Daddy’s eye and put it in her heart, and that’s where I came from,”  Lillian announced.

“Lillian, what a nice thing for your Nana to say!”

Leaning forward, Nannygranne whispered,  “Friends, did you know that scientists know our bodies are made of over 60 different things and all of those things are in the dirt of the earth?2″

“It is?” said Caleb.  “So, we really are made out of dirt?”

“We must be,” the teacher continued.  “Another thing God tells us in the  Bible is that when Jesus comes for us on the last day, that He will make us all over again!”

“WHAT???” the class came to life, all talking at once.

“He’s going to make us again?”

“Is he going to use dirt again?”

“If he makes me out of Lava dirt, can I be black?”

“If I get red dirt will I be an Indian next time?”

“Is there white dirt somewhere?”

Laughing, Nannygranne calmed the group, “This time He won’t use dirt.  He’ll use His REAL superpower that only God has.”  Now they were silent, holding their breath at the idea of superpowers.  “When Jesus comes back, He will change everybody who has died into a different kind of body and make them alive again.  Bodies will come out of their graves, or the ocean, including those who died so long ago that they turned back into dirt.  And Jesus will remake them into super bodies that can exist in His other world.  We call His world Heaven.  And we won’t know how He’s going to do that, either.  But it’ll be awesome!”3

Caleb got up then and came closer to Nannygranne, concern on his freckled face, “Will everyone get to go with Jesus?”

“Caleb, everyone who Jesus knows and who wants to be together with Jesus can go. That’s why we learn all about God and how to be like Jesus.  He shows us how we can live God’s best way now and be ready to live in His world later.”

“Then, can we watch what God does?”

“Yes!  And the Bible even says we’ll get to help!”4

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1 Genesis 2:7-24

2Wikipedia, Composition of the human body

3 I Thessalonians  4:13-18

4 I Cor 6:2,3; Le 22:28-30; Re 7:14-15; 22:3

 

“So What Are the Odds?” (cont.)

 

We’d been talking. We agreed that if the evidence proved Jesus was real, then He was real whether anyone believed it or not.  We had also agreed that how someone felt about Jesus really had nothing to do with the facts of reality.

Then we started our research. We learned that the answer to his question was that the odds of Jesus of Nazareth matching over 300 “hints” given hundreds of years before He came were . . . well, an unimaginable number. One chance in a septillion (that’s a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion)!!

Then my young friend asked, “So what were some of the Old Testament ‘hints’ that Jesus matched?”  We went back to work.

Our Google searched turned up a list.  “Okay,” I said, “I’ll read the prophecy, and you read the fulfillment given in the list, and how long before it happened.  Will that work for you?”

He leaned closer to the computer screen. “Mmm . . . Okay.”

Prophecy: The Messiah would be from the lineage of King David.
Jeremiah 23:5
600 B.C.
Fulfillment: “Jesus … the son of David …”
Luke 3:23, 31
4 B.C.
Prophecy: The Messiah would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver.
Zechariah 11:13
487 B.C.
Fulfillment: “They gave him thirty pieces of silver.”
Matthew 26:15
30 A.D.
Prophecy: The Messiah would have his hands and feet pierced.
Psalm 22:16
1000 B.C.  (Crucifixion was not even invented until 600 years later!)
Fulfillment: “They came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there – Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side.”
Luke 23:33
30 A.D.
Prophecy: People would cast lots for the Messiah’s clothing.
Psalm 22:18
1000 B.C.
Fulfillment: “The soldiers . . . took his robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said, ‘Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.’”
John 19:23-24
30 A.D.
Prophecy: The Messiah would appear riding on a donkey.
Zechariah 9:9
500 B.C.
Fulfillment: “They brought the animals to him and threw their garments over the colt, and he sat on it.”
Matthew 21:7
30 A.D.
Prophecy: A messenger would be sent to herald the Messiah.
Malachi 3:1
500 B.C.
Fulfillment: John told them, “I baptize with water, but right here in the crowd is someone you do not know.”
John 1:26
27 A.D.

After we finished, he leaned back and said, “Whoa . . .”

Then I remembered something to help him visualize the statistic about Jesus’ fulfillment of eight of the 300+ prophecies.  “Do you know what a chance in 1017 power looks like?”

“No, just a lot of zeros.”

“Well, if you spent $20 every SECOND (that’s $1200 every minute), you wouldn’t run out of money for  158 1/2 Million years.  And that’s just eight pieces of the puzzle, not the whole picture of over 300 pieces of prophecy.”

Again, he looked at the computer. “Whoa . . .”

I turned to look at him.  I wanted him to really hear what I was about to say. “Here is what you would have to do to accomplish what Jesus did:  Draw a picture of a snowflake. Then go to a swimming pool full of snow. Now put on a blindfold.  Then reach in and find the one snowflake that matches your picture on the first try.1

“No way!!” he laughed.

I laughed with him, then got serious. “That’s right. No way. That’s because you aren’t God.”

He stopped. He was on the verge of getting the point. I wanted to see his eyes when he got it.

“Jesus did it, and that’s because He IS God.  Only there were 12 1/2 trillion pools of snowflakes.  Jesus was like the one snowflake out of trillions of pools of snow that matched all the pieces in the puzzle-picture the prophets drew.”

I paused. And finally I saw it. His eyes grew wide and sparkled. Then he smiled.

“So what do you think?  Was Jesus the real deal?” I asked.

The look on his face said it all. Then he whispered, “Yes!”

~~~~~~~~

1 CALCULATION: METHOD

A cubic foot of snow contains 1 Billion snowflakes.  http://www.livescience.com

An Olympic sized swimming pool is 88,263 cubic feet.  http://www.livestrong.com

The odds of eight prophesies being fulfilled:  1017  = 80,263,000,000,000 snowflakes  http://www.y-jesus.com

The odds of 300 prophesies being fulfilled in one person:

1 in a Septillion,   Dr. Peter Stoner, Astronomer & Mathematician

1 Septillion divided by 80T flakes in one pool  = 12.5 Trillion pools

 

 

What Are the Odds . . . ? (part one)

“The odds of someone doing 8 of the prophesies that Jesus completed is 1030, so what are the odds that someone could complete all 252 of the prophesies (about Jesus)?                                    – 12 yo boy

I immediately liked this kid.  We were going to have fun because he likes to think.  Here’s our story.

“I like that question,” I  begin. “And you like math, am I right?”

“Yeah,” he admitted.

“Ok, so where did you get your numbers?” I asked, hoping he knew his source.

“I heard it somewhere.”

“How would you like to research this together, and you find your own answer?  That’s one great thing about Google.”

“Ok,” he said.  I motioned for him to sit next to me at the computer and we went to work.

“Before we start,  let’s see if we can agree on something first.  Would that be ok?”  he nodded, so I continued.  “If you see a commercial on TV and it says that if you wear ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ tennis shoes it’s guaranteed that you can dunk a basketball every single time, and you got a pair—what would you expect?”

He laughed and said, “That’d be false advertising!  There are no shoes like that!”

I smiled because he’d made my point for me.  “Alright, then.  If I got a pair of them and you and I went to play ball…”

“That ain’t gonna happen, either,” he laughed.

“Aw come on…work with me here,” I teased.  “Let’s say we were playing ball, and I had those shoes on, and I actually dunked the ball.  Then would you want a pair?”

“Well yeah, I sure would!”

“Alright, then.  At first, you FELT like the shoes couldn’t work.  Then when you saw the evidence, you changed your mind. ”  He was nodding his head, so I turned to face him and said, “Then do we agree that we don’t decide if Jesus is really God because we FEEL like He is or isn’t.  We decide based on evidence.  In other words, if the evidence is there for Jesus to be divine, it’s true whether we believe it or not.  Do we agree?”

He thought a minute, then said, “So we’re not talking about how we FEEL about Jesus, but what we KNOW is real about Jesus?”

I smiled and said, “I knew you were smart.”  We turned back to the screen.  What we found blew our minds.

After watching one YouTube video, he was silent for a moment.  Then he turned to me and asked, “So what were the prophecies?”

All I could do was look at him with admiration.  Finally, I was able to say, “Alrighty, then.  Let’s check that out.”

We began a journey that would take us to mind-boggling destinations.  Check back next week to see what we discovered.

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Here’s the video.  Watch it for yourself!1  By the way,  this video states the chances of only eight fulfilled prophecies were 1 in 1017.   One chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (That’s one hundred thousand billion)   But there were over 300 fulfilled prophecies.2   The number is one chance in a Trillion7. (The chances of you being struck by lightning in your lifetime is one chance in a little over 9,000.)

 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG37ysdWLWc

2 Peter W. Stoner, Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1958), 5, 97-110.

“Will my flower last forever because I have a pretty one?” 

Dear Flower girl,

       You asked, “Will my flower last forever because I have a pretty one?” I think that when you get this letter that you will already know that flowers just last a little while before they wilt away. But here is what God had to say about your flower:

“Grass dies and flowers fall,
but the word of our God lasts forever.”

Isaiah 40:8

       It is a beautiful thing to know that God makes new flowers again and again. He loves beautiful things. And He loves for you to enjoy what He has made. 

       God likes flowers, too. He decorated his temple with flowers. He talks about roses and lilies in the Bible. But God teaches us a lesson with flowers. Flowers don’t live forever. People don’t either. But when we are part of  Jesus’ family, we do get to live forever. He has made a promise to us. And His words last forever.

       The next time you get a pretty flower, tell God thank you for making it, and then tell God thank you that He can make you stronger than a flower so you can live forever.

                                           Love,

                                           Nannygranne

DOES GOD PUNISH US?

Nannygranne sat surrounded by the 4’s & 5’s in Bible class. “Today is WHY TIME,” she announced. “Today, you can write any question you would like to ask God. Then we’ll put them in an envelope, and I will pray and look at God’s words, and find your answer. When that happens, I’ll bring the answer back to you. OK?”

The class clapped and bounced in their chairs, excited to receive their yellow slips.

“You can draw a picture or come up and ask your answer, and I’ll write it down for you. Or, if you want to, you can raise your hand and ask your question, and I’ll write it down.”

All hands flew up around the room.  ‘You can raise your hand,’ is a trigger for preschoolers.  It feels so ‘school-like.’

Little Libby called out first, “Why did God send the flood in the Noah story?”

“Well, actually, I’ve already read God’s answer to your question. Would you like me to tell you about it now?”

“Yes!  I want it now!” she responded, happy to be picked.

“Why did the sailors throw Jonah overboard?” Dayson asked. A frown on his face, he crossed his arms. “That wasn’t very nice!” he declared.

“Why did King Nebuchadnezzar throw the three boys in the furnace: Shadrach, Meshach, and ‘A-ben-dego?'”  Kiera asked.

“Whoa!  ou have to slow down,” Nannygranne held up her hands and laughed. “You guys are too smart and fast! I need you to wait and watch me. I’m going to think.”

Nannygranne put her finger to her temple, looked up at the ceiling, drumming the fingers of her other hand on the table. When curiosity overcame their excitement, they grew quiet. She suddenly sat up in surprise, “I’ve GOT it!! Yes! I remember why God did all those things.” Then she frowned and scratched her head. “But, I’m wondering about something.”

She waited quietly, looking from face to face. Finally, Dayson, Jonah’s little advocate, said, “What? WHAT did He say?”

“Well, I can tell you what He said, but I’m wondering, is it unfair for God to let those sailors do that to Jonah? Weren’t there nice people who drowned, too, when God destroyed the Earth with a flood?  Why didn’t God stop old King Nebuchadnezzar?”

Now they were still, eyes wide, uncomfortable.  Did they just hear their Bible class teacher complain about God?

Nannygranne continued, “We’re not as smart as God, and sometimes we have to think a while about what He tells us in the Bible. But that’s OK because Moses asked God ‘why’ one day. Elijah asked God, ‘why.’  John the Baptist asked Jesus ‘why.’  And even Jesus asked his Father ‘Why’ one time.  Maybe what we’re really wondering is this: ‘ Why doesn’t God make everything OK for everybody?’ Do you ever wonder that?”

A couple of them nodded slowly. Nannygranne continued talking while handing each one a yellow question sheet along with crayons. “God can do anything He wants to do. God could stop everything wrong if He wanted to.” Then she suddenly stopped, leaned over the table as close to their faces as she could, and whispered her mysterious secret. “But He doesn’t because God wants every man and woman, and every boy and girl to WANT to listen to Him.”

Then finishing passing out the papers, she completed her thought. “You see, God doesn’t want to make us robots. So when people push God away, God lets them, but it’s not what He wants.”

They each quietly began coloring their papers. Nannygranne sat in her place and opened her Bible. “Here’s what God said in the Bible about Noah, Libby. Before the Flood, God said that all the people in the world–ALL the people–only did mean things all the time to everyone.  All anyone thought about was doing bad things to one another. Only Noah was ever good. So God put Noah and his family and the animals in the boat. He just let the people who didn’t want God to go with the other mean people. Then Noah and his family started a whole new group of people. Things were better after that.”

“And what about Jonah?” Dayson reminded, not looking up from his work.

Nannygranne turned a few pages in her Bible and answered, “Jonah knew he had not minded God and was trying to run away from God. God made a mighty wind to blow to scare Jonah and remind him who was in charge.  When the wind got worse and worse, Jonah was afraid the waves would break up the boat and kill the sailors. So Jonah told the sailors that it was his fault and to throw him out of the ship. They didn’t want to, but Jonah insisted. As soon as Jonah hit the water, the wind stopped. God sent a big fish to rescue Jonah, and Jonah told God he’d do what God told him to. So God helped Jonah do the right thing. It turned out better.”

“But Shadrack and Meshack and ‘A-ben-digo’ were nice. Why did they get in trouble?” Kiera’s lip stuck out as she talked, so worried about those three boys.

“You are so right, Kiera. Those three young men were very good. But old King Nebuchadnezzar was jealous! He wanted all of God’s people to pray to him and not to God. Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego would not bow down and worship that King. Instead, they just stood tall and looked to Heaven. So the king had them thrown into the furnace, but Jesus got in there with them and kept them from burning up. They didn’t even SMELL like smoke!” The class erupted with applause at Nannygranne’s victorious excitement. “When King Nebuchadnezzar saw that, he decided to worship God, too. So again, everything turned out better.”

“But if we’re bad like Jonah, will we get in trouble?” Dayson began.

“Or get us in a flood?” Libby worried

“Or the bad guys might get us?” Kiera whispered.

Nannygranne smiled and said, “Well, that’s the secret. Noah and Jonah and even Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego didn’t know this secret. Today we can be Christians, and the Holy Spirit can live inside us and help us be brave. And God doesn’t punish Christians when we accidentally do wrong. Jesus already got punished for our sins instead of us. That’s why he died on the cross. Jesus took our punishment.”

She waited to see if the children seemed to understand. Then she motioned for them to gather around her. “When bad things happen to Christians now, it’s not because God is angry. Satan is doing it to Christians. Satan wants us to give up on God, but God promises to help us get through our troubles. Even though troubles are hard, if we let God help us, He’ll train us to be stronger and wiser. And Satan can never beat us. And everything will turn out better in the end. God is our hero!

“Yea! God is our hero!!” Dayson cheered.

______________________________________

Genesis 6; Daniel 3; Jonah 1; 1 Cor. 10:13; Rom. 8:28; 2 Peter 3:9

Helpful videos:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rv8h1f1bzB0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb5fEK99BIk

DID ADAM AND EVE’S SON, CAIN, HAVE KIDS?… Ellie, 3rd Gr

Thank you, Ellie, for an excellent question!  I can tell you are a good thinker and am glad you are looking for an answer.

Things so long ago were different from our lives now.  Adam and Eve and their children were the only people in the world.  God gave Adam and Eve MANY children.  Cain was the oldest.  Abel was his brother.  When they were grown up they fought, and Cain killed his brother because he was jealous.  God sent Cain away and gave Adam and Eve a son named Seth.  Seth’s family, a long time later, were Jesus’ kinfolks.  Adam and Eve had many other children besides those three.  In fact, Adam lived over 900 years and had a LOT of kids and grandkids.  Some of Jesus’ relatives thought Adam and Even had over 50 kids!

When Cain moved away, he took one of his sisters or nieces as his wife but God didn’t tell us her name.  They had many children.  Enoch was the first son they had.  It wasn’t against the rules to marry your cousin or sister until over 1,000 years later.  That’s when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments and the Law.  He told Moses he didn’t want people to do that anymore.  By then, there were plenty of people to choose from.

Before God told Moses the new rules, Abraham married his half-sister.  Isaac and Jacob both married their cousins.  God’s people even had more than one wife sometimes, but God told Moses a long time later that He wanted people to get married to God-loving people, and stay married to each other all their lives.

That’s still what God wants.  But many people want to do the things God doesn’t want them to do because they don’t like God to be their leader. God wants us to be wise and to live well because He wants the very best for us.   He loves us more than anything!  We have to decide who we’re going to let lead our lives.  I’ve learned that when I do things God’s way, everything feels better.

Thank you again for your question, Ellie.  A lot of grownups wonder about Cain, too, but they’re not brave enough to ask their question the way you have.

I hope you grow up and marry a God-loving man and have a good and long life with a great family.

______________

Passages to consider:  I Cor. 15 (esp. v. 45); Gen 3:20; Gen 4:17; Gen 5:4; Leviticus 18

Here’s a video with more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZojhvVgGhQ