2020-02-26 to 28 Pictures: Charleston, South Carolina

One of the few upsides of having to cancel our Spring Break trip last March at the onset of the pandemic is that we are "stuck" with a rather large voucher from one of those discount airlines. Last autumn, Tricia and I spent a weekend in Savannah, Georgia and had a...

A John 3:16 Craft for Kids

John 3:16 is one of the most well known and reassuring verses in the Bible. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16 (NIV) The following is a little craft I threw...

2020-03-01 Pictures: Lyndsey’s College Signing Day

This afternoon Lyndsey made it official, signing her letter of intent to play college basketball for the Hiram College Terriers starting next year. While she made the decision and committed to Hiram before Christmas, she has been looking forward to this day since her...

2020-02-13 Pictures: Lyndsey’s 18th Birthday

I am little behind on posting photos. These are some of my favorites from a couple of weekends ago when we got a chance to celebrate Lyndsey's 18th birthday. It's hard to believe that my little girl is officially an adult. It was nice to have the family all back...


Introduction I love working with kids, and I love teaching them hard concepts in ways they can understand. To that end, for years I have been working on a dictionary of theological terms for kids and teens. In sharing those definitions, there seemed no better place to...

If You Want It Done Right

In all likelihood, you know how the phrase ends: If you want it done right, DO IT YOURSELF! This is a bit of a mantra for me, and frankly, something that I struggle with daily both in leadership and in my Christian walk.  In theory, this is easy to accept. ...

What Does God Hate?

This is the little and humble post that started it all. I happened to be reading through my Bible, and this passage impacted me so much that I posted a little blurb about it on Facebook. That was July 28, 2008, and I've been writing and sharing ever since. (Maybe...

#8: God Put the Punishment of Sinners on Jesus (10 Essential Gospel Truths for Kids)

10 Essential TruthsToday we continue our detailed look at a presentation given by Jill Nelson at the 2007 Children Desiring God Conference entitled “Presenting the Gospel to Children.” In my last post, I introduced the series (including links to both the audio and the handouts.  Thus far we have looked at the following:

Today we will continue with the next Essential Gospel Truth which kids need to understand to combat false gospels and to understand the true and saving Gospel of Jesus Christ.  So, let’s get started.  ESSENTIAL TRUTH #8 IS:

God put the punishment of sinners on Jesus.


In her talk and in the handouts to the talk, Ms. Nelson gives poignant, concise and theological sounds explanations for each of the truth which will work great with kids.  I have included my notes of these explanations below, but I would encourage you to listen to and/or read her full narratives as well.

  • Jesus didn’t sin.
  • How is this good news?
  • He was able to be the perfect substitute.
  • A substitute is someone who takes the place of someone else.
    • Teacher
    • Babysitter
  • Jesus was willing to take the punishment for his people.
  • He did this on the cross.
  • It is what Jesus came to do.
  • He experienced all the terrible anger and hatred God has toward their sin.
  • Also gives something to his people.
    • Gives us something we need to go to heaven.
    • Gives us his perfect righteousness
  • Took away sin and punishment and gave us his righteousness.
  • That was not the end.
  • Jesus was resurrected.
  • Jesus won the battle over sin and death and hell.
  • Jesus is a living Savior.

Ms. Nelson explains that the person and work of Jesus is the heart of the Gospel message.  Don’t rush through this with your kids.  There are key doctrines at stake like penal substitution and the meaning of justification (imputed righteousness).  We need to be very careful in our explanation of what Jesus did on the cross.


  • Must be careful in our illustration of this truth
  • Younger kids
    • Next time they deserve a spanking
    • Ask, what if Daddy said he would receive the spanking?
    • Jesus took all the spankings
  • Older kids
    • Find the biggest backpack you can and label it my sin
    • Put it on a child
    • Start loading it with stuff until it is really weighed down
    • Right punishment is God’s punishment
    • What if Dad played the part of Jesus?
    • Give Dad a bag to carry
    • Nothing in it (Jesus had no sin)
    • Holy and righteous
    • Then act out Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24 and 2 Corinthians 5:21
    • Trading game – have adult lift sack off of child and carry it
    • Give the child the empty bag
  • Make a test for a child
    • Make it impossible for them to get any questions right
    • You take the same test and get every question right
    • Put names on both tests
    • F vs. A+ – parent gets a prize for best grade
    • Erase names on test and switch names
    • Now child gets the prize
    • Not because he did anything to get it
    • Jesus traded with sinners


The implication of this truth to kids is:

Jesus died on the cross to be punished in your place.

Scriptural Support

Isaiah 53:5

But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [Isaiah 53:5 ESV]

Romans 5:8

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. [Romans 5:8 ESV]

2 Corinthians 5:21

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. [2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV]

1 Peter 2:24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. [1 Peter 2:24 ESV]



1 Comment

  1. Lorraine

    May I have permission to re-type or copy The 10 Essential Gospel Truths and distribute the re-typed copies or copied copies to participants of a workshop I am conducting next month?