For Children

Ashley’s Strawberry Story
Mommy Took My Place

                This is a story about a little girl called Ashley. Now Ashley lived at home with her mommy, and her daddy went to work building houses. Ashley’s parents loved her very, very much. They gave her lots of toys and books to play with. They even enrolled her in swimming lessons! Her mommy would cook her good food to eat, too! Ashley and her mommy spent lots of time playing together and sometimes they would play silly games! However, there were lots of times when Ashley would do naughty things that her parents told her she was not allowed to do. Then Ashley would have to stand in the corner or sit on a chair. Ashley did not like that! Yet there was one day when something very different happened. Let’s see what happened!

            One summer morning, Ashley woke up with the cheerful sun shining in her window. Her groggy eyes slowly opened and with a big long yawn she stretched her arms. Hmm, she thought, I smell something really yummy! I wonder what it could be?  Ashley called out, “Good morning, Mommy!” Her mommy called back, “Good morning, Sweetie!” Then her mommy came and got her all dressed up in pretty clothes, fancied up her hair, and got her all ready for breakfast.

            “What’s for breakfast, Mommy?” asked Ashley. “Well, I made you your very favorite breakfast. It’s waffles with whipped cream and strawberries!” “Oh, yum!” said Ashley. Ashley and her mommy sat down at the table. They bowed their heads while her mommy thanked God for the food.  After, Ashley eagerly gulped down her breakfast. Mmm, was it good! Ashley then watched as her mommy put the rest in the fridge for another time.

            Later in the day Ashley was playing with all her toys in her room. She had all kinds of toys! She had dollies, a play oven with pots and pans, books, crayons, dress-up clothes, strollers, and many other things. Now, while Ashley was playing in her room, her mommy was busy washing dishes and getting the house all cleaned up.

            As Ashley played in her room, she thought about how good those strawberries had tasted. She started to think how she might be able to sneak some out of the fridge without getting caught. She knew that if she got caught she would have to stand in the corner. She did not want that to happen!

            Ashley waited till her mommy went to the bathroom. Then she quietly sneaked off to the fridge. She slowly opened the door. Then carefully reaching in, she grabbed a handful of juicy, red strawberries, and quickly sneaked off to her room again. Oh, those juicy strawberries with that sugary sauce tasted so delicious! Once her mommy was out of the bathroom she sneaked into the bathroom and quickly washed her hands. Good, she thought, now nobody will ever know!

            A little later Ashley’s mommy came to give her some yummy chocolate chip cookies. It was then that Ashley’s mommy asked, “Have you been eating those strawberries?” Ashley got a little scared. How could her Mommy have found out? But, she thought, I don’t want to stand in the corner. So she said, “But I didn’t eat any, Mommy.”

            Her mommy didn’t say anything at first. She just picked Ashley up and took her to the mirror. Ashley couldn’t believe what she saw! All around her mouth was strawberry sauce! She had forgotten to wash her mouth. Now she was sad; she knew she would have to stand in the corner for sure. With tears running down her cheeks they both walked over to the corner.

            Ashley’s mommy looked at her and said, “Didn’t I give you enough to eat this morning?” “Yes, Mommy, you did,” said Ashley. “Then didn’t you enough to toys to play with?” “Yes, Mommy, I did.” “Then why did you take the strawberries? Don’t you know that you should now stand in the corner for taking the strawberries, and telling me a lie?” “Yes, Mommy, I know I’ve been naughty.”

            Now Ashley was in for a real surprise. Ashley’s mommy said, “I’ll stand in the corner instead of you.” Ashley said, “But you didn’t do anything naughty - I did. I should be the one standing in the corner, not you.” “I know,” said Ashley’s mommy, "but I love you, and I want to do this for you.” Ashley started to cry. She couldn’t believe how much her mommy loved her - so much that she would stand in the corner instead of her! As her mommy went to stand in the corner, she said, “Now you can go eat the cookies, and play with your toys.”

            As Ashley went to play with her toys and enjoy those delicious cookies, she knew she didn’t deserve it. When her mommy had stood in the corner for a long time, her mommy went back to doing the dishes and cleaning the house.

            When Ashley saw her mommy go back to cleaning the house, she brought one of the cookies to give to her mommy. However, her mommy said, “No, this is your cookie.” Then her mommy explained that she had already been punished for everything she had done. She told Ashley how there was no punishment left for her, that there was no good thing she could do to make up for the naughty things she had done. Ashley was so amazed. She gave her mommy a great big hug and kiss. “Thank you so much, Mommy,” said Ashley. “Thank you for loving me so much that you were willing to stand in the corner instead of me – thank you.”

A Lamb

                Wow, what a story! Now I want to tell you a story from the Bible. This story will be about a lamb. 

            It happened long ago that God told the people, "When you have done something naughty, you must bring a lamb to Me." So every time when a person was naughty, they would take a lamb to God, and it would die. You say, “That is awful; why would a lamb have to die because of the person? What naughty thing did the lamb do that it should be punished?” Well, the lamb did nothing naughty, but it died instead of the person. Not fair, you say? True, but was it fair that Ashley’s mommy stood in the corner instead of her?

            I want to ask you a question. Have you ever heard of somebody called Jesus? Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, Jesus is God! Did you know that God the Father sent Jesus from Heaven to this world? Did you know that Jesus was born in a barn in a town called Bethlehem? This Jesus grew to be a man. Do you know what a person named John the Baptist called Jesus? He called Him “The Lamb of God.”(John 1:36) Now why would John the Baptist call Him that? Do you think maybe it has something to do with the lambs the people had to bring when they were naughty? Well, keep listening carefully, and we’ll find out!

            Now Jesus lived among a people called Jews. They were God’s chosen people. That means they were God’s special people, just like you are special to your parents. As Jesus walked through their cities and towns, He noticed people that were sick or couldn’t walk, talk, hear, or see. Jesus would then walk over to some of these people and heal them. He made them so they could walk again, and see, hear, and talk. Sometimes He even made dead people come alive again! Wow, Jesus must really be strong! He would even take a little bit of food, and be able to feed thousands of people! Jesus would also spend lots of time teaching the people. 

            One day when Jesus was teaching the people, mommies were bringing their children to sit on Jesus’ lap. When Jesus’ disciples saw this, they tried to make the children leave. But Jesus said "No, let the children come." You see, Jesus loved the children very much. Another time Jesus was riding on a donkey, and the children were praising God, singing Hosanna to the Lord Jesus. Again, people tried to have the children be quiet, but Jesus again said "No, let the children sing."

            Do you see how much Jesus loved all the people, even the children? However, the people didn’t love Jesus back. You see, Jesus came to be King of the Jews. But they didn’t want Him to be their king, so they brought Him to court, and put Him on trial. Here a judge asked Jesus lots of questions. Other people told all kinds of lies about Jesus. Then they started doing all kinds of bad stuff to Jesus. Some of the soldiers would slap Jesus, and spit in His face. Some would pretend to like Him by bowing to Him.

            After a while the judge said Jesus would die, even though He hadn’t done even one naughty thing - ever! Then the soldiers made a crown of sharp, pokey thorns, and put it on His head. Then, taking sticks, they beat it on His head. They even whipped Him on the back, and ripped His beard off His face. They made Him bleed all over his whole body! They were very, very mean to Jesus. After they were done beating Him, they made Him carry a very heavy wooden cross, but He fell, and they made someone else carry it instead. Once they got to a place called Golgotha, they laid Him on the cross and nailed big nails through His hands and feet. Then they lifted the wooden cross up like a flag-pole. There Jesus died. Then they took Him and put Him in a grave.

            Oh, what a terrible story! Oh, why did they hurt Jesus so much? He had always loved them, and had never done anything bad to them! The Bible even says that, “They hated Me [Jesus] without a cause.”(John 15:25) No, they had no reason to hurt Him. Why would Jesus have let them kill Him? Why would Jesus have come to this world of people just to die? 

            Let us now think of the lamb. Do you remember how the lamb would die instead of the person? Now think of it. Jesus is the Lamb of God! John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”(John 1:29) You see, the lambs the people brought could never take away the naughty things people did. However, it was like a picture for the people. It told them that one day Jesus would come who would take away the naughty things of the people. That might be very hard to understand. Let me say it like this: just as the lamb died instead of the person who was naughty, so Jesus died instead of the people who were naughty.

            Now think of the story about Ashley. Do you remember how she did something naughty, and yet her mommy was punished instead of her, and then she could go eat the cookies, and play with her toys? Now listen very carefully. In the same way Jesus died instead of you! All the naughty things you’ve ever done – Jesus was punished for. In a way, you could say, Jesus stood in the corner instead of you. Just like Ashley’s mommy stood in the corner instead of her.

            You see, Jesus has never done anything naughty, but you’ve been naughty many times. Don’t you think God should punish you for all those naughty things you’ve done? Yes, He should, but God loved you so much that He decided to send His Son Jesus from Heaven to be punished instead of you. Do you see how Jesus is just like the lamb? Do you see how Jesus is just like Ashley’s mommy? 

            You see, God said that the people who are naughty should die and go to a terrible place of hurting, called Hell. Of course God didn’t want any people to go there. So God sent His Son Jesus to die instead of you.

            Now let’s talk about you. Have you ever done anything naughty? Maybe you took something that was not yours, or maybe you didn’t listen to a parent. Actually I’m quite sure you’ve done a lot of naughty things. So, what do you think, should God punish you for all those naughty things you’ve done? Well, if you want Him to, or not, He will send you to the place of hurting called Hell for always for all those naughty things you’ve done. 

            You say, “But I thought God loved me?” Well, you’re right, He does love you! God does not want you to go to that terrible place. That is why God the Father sent His Son Jesus to be punished instead of you. In that way you could go free without being punished, because Jesus was already punished for you when you took what didn’t belong to you, and when you didn’t listen to your parent, and all the other naughty things you’ve ever done. Wow! Do you see just how much God loves you? He loved you so much that He was willing to have people spit in His face, pull His beard off, whip Him, slap Him, and even nail His hands and feet to a wooden cross and die. Jesus did this all for you! He did it so you would not have to go to the terrible place called Hell as punishment for the naughty things you have all done.

            Let me ask you. Do you want to go to the terrible place of hurting? I don’t think so. Would you rather live with Jesus in a beautiful place? I’m sure you do. Someone who is going to be with Jesus after they’re done living in this world is called a Christian. What do you think you would have to do to become a Christian, and go be with Jesus?

a)     Do you think you would have to do lots of good things? No. Remember how Ashley tried to give her mommy a cookie to make up for the naughty thing she did? Remember how her mommy told her that there was nothing she could do? That she had already been punished for the naughty things Ashley had done by standing in the corner? Well, in the same way, Jesus has already been punished for all the naughty things you’ve ever done. There is nothing good you can do to try to make up for the naughty things you’ve all done.
b)    Do you think that you should invite Jesus into your heart? No. Jesus said that those who do naughty things should die, and go to the terrible place called Hell. Inviting Jesus into your heart is not being punished by dying and going to the terrible place called Hell.
c)     Do you think that if you go to Sunday School, read your Bible, try to listen to your Bible, pray, and listen to your parents that you can go be with Jesus in that beautiful place? No. That would also be doing something to try to make up for the naughty things you’ve done.
d)    Do you think just believing that Jesus was punished instead of you is enough to become a Christian so that you can go be with Jesus in that beautiful place? Yes, it is! You see there is nothing you can do to help. Jesus had to do it all by Himself! Jesus was already punished instead of you. He took your place. Just believe that and you’ll be safe. Remember how Ashley’s mommy stood in the corner while Ashley got to go play with her toys and eat cookies? In the same way Jesus stood in the corner so that you could go be with Jesus in that beautiful place. Ashley’s mommy loved Ashley a lot, don’t you think? Well, in the same way God loves you (name). Don’t you think it is amazing that God the Father would send His Son Jesus to take your place (name)(Name) do you believe Jesus died for the naughty things you’ve done instead of you?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish [die] but have everlasting life [live for always].”(John 3:16)

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"Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson,Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."