It Begins With Death: Sharing The Truth Of Easter

'He is risen.' 'He is risen, indeed.' When I hear this exchange, my heart skips a little. I’m excited, and appreciative, and joyful, and so many other things all at once. But what does it mean to my child?

Natalie Frisk
3 minute read

'He is risen.'

'He is risen, indeed.'

When I hear this exchange, my heart skips a little. I’m excited, and appreciative, and joyful, and so many other things all at once. It is a simple, but incredible reminder of the fact that Jesus, who died for all, didn’t stay dead. Nope. He’s alive. He is alive. And this reminds me further of the fact that my sins, the every-way-in-which-I-ignore-God’s-perfect-way, are forgiven. I’m whole. I’m a new creation. It means so very much.

But what does it mean to my child?

This morning, I taught my daughter that when someone says, 'He is risen,' to her today, she should reply, 'He is risen, indeed.' She asked me why (because at three and a half, why is what follows every statement). I explained that today is a day when we remember that Jesus died and rose from the dead, and that we celebrate that Jesus is alive. And so we say, 'He is risen,' as a reminder of how excited we are. That explanation seemed to suffice.

I’ve been asked several times when to tell children about Jesus’ death and resurrection. The question has often come up: do you tell your daughter that Jesus died and rose again? How much detail do you give? Does it scare her?

It strikes me as an odd question. Jesus’ death and resurrection is an essential part to our identity as followers of Christ. Why wouldn’t I tell my child about it? But I get it. We don’t talk about death in our culture, and that makes it a much harder conversation to have.

If you grew up on a farm, death wouldn’t seem like such a foreign thing. Death is much more visible in these settings. On a farm, even children see the death of animals. It is just part of life. In many countries around the world, close family members perform burial preparations for loved ones and kids are present for most things surrounding death. There is often much more pomp and celebration or ritualistic grieving around death in other cultures that brings it into light more frequently.

It’s true. Death is scary. It brings up a slew of uncomfortable questions:

  • Is Gramma in heaven?

  • Was she in a lot of pain when she died? What is heaven like?

  • Who gets to go to heaven?

  • Are there animals in heaven? What about the devil?

  • Who’s in hell?

You never do know where a child’s mind will go when it comes to the creative thoughts they may have around death. They may truly surprise you. But here’s the truth: you don’t have to have all the answers. You can stand on the simple truths of scripture: we don’t need to be afraid. We trust in Jesus. We will live eternally with him. Death is simply a shift from this life to eternity.

With the youngest children, being more succinct in our answers can be helpful. Saying, 'I don’t know…let’s ask [children’s pastor],' or, 'I don’t know, what do you think?' can be some of the very best answers, too. But ensure you follow up with them with the children’s pastor, or whomever you’ve suggested.

As kids grow older, the answers can and will become more complicated, so will the questions. But we don’t need to be afraid of them. We can be honest about the things we know, the things we don’t, and the questions we’ve had that are like those our children have.

Death can be scary, but… Jesus. Jesus overcame death. Jesus loves us so much he died for us. Jesus makes life after death possible. Jesus says he’s preparing a place for us.

Sure, it begins with death. But it ends with life eternal with Him.

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