Sometimes with my 4th grade religious ed class we have some deep discussions. Last week was one of those.
The full group meeting (K-6) in the Church talked about “Jesus Loves You.” I had the Beatitudes planned as my lesson for the day so it all fit really nice. We get back to the classroom to begin our lesson so I hand out our books and grab a crucifix. This is part of the discussion that followed:
Me: Jesus loves you so very much. Do you all believe that?
some grumbles both of assent and dissent
Me: Look at this crucifix. Jesus loves you so much that He died for you. When Jesus was on the cross He saw each and every one of us. He knew everything we would do, all the sins we would commit.
Student 1: How?
Me: Jesus was God. He could see everything. He didn’t have to stay on the cross. He was God. He did not have to suffer and die for us. He could have saved us in a different way. But He didn’t. He loved each and every one of us so much that He gave His life so that we could live.
Student 2: So when Jesus was on the Cross He could see you explaining this right now?
Me: Yes. Time did not matter to Jesus because He was God. He could see everything.
Student 3: Jesus loves me that much? Even when I do bad things?
Me: Yes, He does. Jesus loves you so very much because He gave Himself so that you could live.
Student 4: Wow. Jesus really does love me I guess.
At the end of the class I always ask the students to tell me one thing they learned during class. This time I got responses such as “We can show Jesus that we love Him through the Beatitudes,” “My brother always told me that meek meant the same as geek. He was wrong,” and then “Jesus loves me all the time. He even loves the people I don’t love so I should be nice to everybody.”
It really made my day that my students seemed to take to heart the knowledge that Jesus really loves them. Not just because people tell them that Jesus loves them but because Jesus died for each of them even knowing all the bad things we would do.