This evening, I used this story with our children’s group:
When He came, we left our lives; we left our fishing nets, our parents, our counting houses, our fields, our workshops, our bread dough. He called and we followed. Something had changed. Something was changing, deep within us.
We sat and listened to his words; amazing things, things that we felt we had always known and things that were new, promises from the past and promises of the future. He spoke and we listened. Something had changed; something was changing deep within us.
We shared what we had, travelling together, sore feet on dusty ground. We ate meals in borrowed houses or on hillsides under the sky. Breaking flat loaves to eat with salty fish and fresh olives. We shared our time, our hopes, our fears. We shared precious moments with Him. He knew us already and we got to know him. Something had changed. Something was changing deep within us.
We saw incredible deeds; He stretched out his hands and helped up those who could not walk. He spread mud on the eyes of the blind so they could see. He touched the lepers. He took pity on the woman who carried her son to his tomb and gave him back his life. We watched, as some of those who were healed joined our number. Something had changed. Something was changing deep within us.
We knew that things around us were changing too. The Pharisees shook their heads and tutted under their breath. We heard tricky questions and saw soldiers watching. Something changed. Somewhere deep inside fear began.
We followed Him, even when He went to comfort Mary and Martha. It was dangerous, some of us said but He went anyway. And when He did, He called Lazarus back to life, out of his tomb. Something changed. Something was changing deep within us.
Everything now seemed dangerous. Going into Jerusalem, with Him. In the midst of cheering crowds; praying in the temple amongst the moneychangers and the thieves; looking forward to the coming Passover. Something was changing.
We watched, confused as he broke bread and told us it was his body; as he shared the wine and told us it was his blood, all broken and poured for us. Confused, we stored this deep inside.
We slept as He prayed, unable to watch, despite the cold and the damp ground. Our eyelids drooped. We ran when the soldiers came to arrest him. Our fear had been flamed in to an all-consuming fire. We ran and didn’t look back. Something inside us died.
We hid. We locked the doors. One or two of us went with Mary and John to stand on the hill and watch Him die. We cried. We saw all our hopes crumble. We felt only shame and grief. All was finished. We walked around, empty people, all our life gone.
And the wind changed and rumours began. Some had seen him. We met him in the garden when going to grieve. We met in the locked room, where we had hidden. Some met Him on the road and He explained everything. He met us on the beach, with breakfast cooking over the fire. Something changed. Something inside came alive, deep inside.
The time came when things would change forever. No longer would we walk and talk with Him, eat fish He had cooked. For He was returning to His Father.
We walked up the hill. He had spent time with us, teaching us. Promises were re-kindled. We would not be alone. The clouds descended. We stood in God’s presence. This is the way it would be, always now. God with His people, everywhere. He was leaving so that He could be with us, in a new way. Something had changed. Something in us was changing. All of us, together were different.