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Jesus’ return in the mind of Jr. High students

July 30, 2009

I love that I get to work with Jr. High and High School students. They’re so close in age, but so different because every part of them is developing so fast. It’s so fun.

Sunday mornings we do a Sunday School program for the Jr. High students. We just started, so we’re experimenting with curriculum. Some weeks are much better than others, but we’re getting better as we go.

Last week we had a small crowd and we were in line for one of less exciting lessons. Somehow, though, at the end of it, we got on to the topic of Jesus’ return and someone opened a can of awesome sauce.

We’d been talking about idols and when one of the kids started talking about environmentalism I tried to – without de-emphasizing how important it is to take care of the environment – help him see how it could also become an idol. I made a comment along the lines of, “Jesus is gonna come back soon and put it all back together anyway.”

*pause*

One of the others: “Really?” I looked up and the few of them sitting around the table were wide-eyed, waiting for a response.

“Um … yes.”

“When?”

“Well, I don’t really know, but it could be very soon.”

“Soon like in my life?”

“It’s very possible. A lot of people think so.”

All, in unison, I’m not even kidding: “Whoa!”

I started explaining the really hard stuff that has to come first, Jesus splitting the sky, the dead raising and the rapture, the millennial reign – and they were captivated.

And the best part was that at every turn, they were really thinking about it. I know they were really thinking about it because they would interrupt with the most honest, excitable questions I’ve ever heard about the last days.

“What’s on the other side of the sky?!” “What about people who were beheaded? That’s gross!” “Do they get glorified bodies in the ground or after they come up?” “Do we glow?!” “How old are our bodies? Are we the age we died at?”

By this time the main service was out. We could hear the lobby filling up with chatter and laughter. They knew the donut line was forming, but none of them moved.

I facilitated discussion on glorified bodies for a moment and one of the guys offered, “I know how He did that. I know how Jesus ate fish and then walked through the wall.” I took the bait, expecting something cute – if not trite. This kid, however, went on to explain that Jesus had control over every molecule in His body so when the fish was digested it was part of His body and when He wanted to leave He made his molecules expand so they could merge with the molecules of the wall and then when all His molecules got to the other side He called them back together.

Simple, right?

“So I’ll be able to control my molecules?!” “Hey, when He comes back, why does it take 1000 years?”

I started to very simply explain that we’ll restore the earth so it’s like it’s supposed to be.

“Like Eden?!” “Will the dinosaurs come back?”

“Um, I don’t know. Maybe.”

“If there are dinosaurs we should build some really strong walls to protect ourselves.”

“I don’t think it will be an issue. Do you think any of the animals in Eden tried to attack Adam?”

“No!”

“And the Bible says that kids will play with cobras, and lions will hang out with sheep.”

“Sooo … we can play with the dinosaurs?!”

A logical deduction. I just smiled for a minute, and someone came in to see what we’d done with the Jr. High students. I told ’em we could talk about it more next time, but still they lingered until I told them to go.

Jesus is coming back. It’s exciting. And it might mean you get to play with dinosaurs.

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