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#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?