Easter Video Series: How Do You Show Jesus on the Cross to Children?
In part 4 of our Easter video series, we asked What's in the Bible? creator Phil Vischer how he shows Jesus' death on the cross in Buck Denver Asks ... What's in the Bible? Volume 10: Jesus is the Good News [Matthew, Mark, Luke & John]. This children's Volume teaches the story of Jesus and concludes with Christ's death and resurrection, which can be difficult subjects to visualize for children. Here, Phil explains his strategy for showing kids Jesus' death on the cross.
"Quite often in kids videos and even in some children's Bibles, we kind of skip that," Vischer said of the image of Christ on the cross. What happened to Jesus on the cross was not pretty - he was flogged repeatedly prior to the crucifixion, which was a brutal form of Roman terror normally reserved for criminals. And yet, the brutality of what Jesus faced not only physically (at the hands of the Romans), but spiritually (taking on God's wrath for all mankind) is the most critical part of the story, and must be explained to children.
"We've been very careful not to make it gruesome in any way," Vischer said of his depiction of Jesus, which shows a bruised and sad Jesus hanging on the cross. Kids understand bruises - they mean that Jesus is hurting.
"It's clear that he's hurting, and I think it's important that it's clear that he's hurting," Vischer said. The goal is not to minimize the impact of the event, but still make it understandable for children. As he has done throughout the What's in the Bible? series, Vischer aims to communicate the true meaning behind the events of Bibles, and to take kids deeper than just stories but to really transform the way they live their lives.
"We're not really interested in 'actually look like,'" Vischer said of the crucifixion, "but we want the meaning of the events."
One thing Vischer mentions is the depiction of sin throughout the What's in the Bible? series. From the first Volume, sin has been shown visually - little black circle-creatures, with big teeth that latch on to humans when they sin. Vischer explains that from the beginning, he knew that he would use that image at Jesus' crucifixion, and in the Volume he covers the cross with those little black creatures - showing how Jesus took all of sin to the cross.
"We visualize what God saw when Jesus bore the sin of the world," Vischer said.
Vischer wants kids to feel something when they watch that part of the Volume (Easter Video Series: How do you teach the Bible story of Jesus to kids?), and hopes that the space he creates for them to do so will lead them to understand what Jesus' death means and why it matters.
"I think it's really going to be effective in connecting kids to the emotion of what God did because he loved us so much, and how it completely changes our lives," he said.
Pick up What's in the Bible? Volume 10 today or Stream it on JellyTelly to learn - and feel - the story of Jesus.
Other stories and blog posts in this Easter series: