August 17, 2013
(Jesus said) "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." Matthew 20:28
One of the great things about familiar expressions is that they are so ... familiar.
One fourth-grade teacher in my acquaintance wanted to see what her children would come up with when they were given familiar expressions with which they weren't familiar. From their perspective the answers given were quite logical.
From my point of view those answers made me smile.
This is how it works: as an adult you know it is "better to be safe than sorry." But one of her students, when given that expression finished, "Better to be safe than to punch a fifth-grader." Different perspective, but equally true.
Here are some of the other familiar expressions the students fractured. She said,
* "A miss is as good as a ... mister."
* "You can't teach an old dog ... new math."
* "Where there's smoke there's ... pollution."
* "A penny saved is ... not much."
* "Two's company, three's ... the Musketeers.
As a pastor, I had much the same thing happen to me. During my children's sermons I would ask, "What did Jesus do for you?" The reply always was, "Jesus died for me." As you know, that answer is correct, and we ought to give thanks our children know the love of the Redeemer, who died to win our forgiveness and salvation.
Still, there are times I think we ought to teach them more. Jesus' death took approximately six hours. In contrast He spent 33 years fulfilling the Old Testament prophesies, so we would know He is the promised Messiah. His entire life was spent fulfilling all of God's laws: the laws our sins have broken. He spent every day resisting Satan's temptations. He spent all His life doing all that was necessary so we could be saved.
This is why, next time I ask a little one, or their parents, "What did Jesus do for you?" I hope the answer is "He lived for me. He died for me, and He rose so I might be forgiven and become one of God's saved children."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me value all the sacrifices made by the Savior as He lived, died and rose for me. May those words never be reduced to an expression, but may they be the power of God in my life which saves. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries