Preamble: I attended a service for families, especially children. In it, they tried to simplify the Bible lesson in order to explain it to the youngest of us all.

They almost got there: and based on the questions the kids asked out of their confusion, I decided to try rewriting some of these taking out all required prerequisites. Though it abstracts the story away from the people involved, it's an exercise in trying to teach what they mean.

 


 

A long time ago, a man, a very special man - went out to the desert.

He went out to the desert because he was going to eventually become someone who would help everybody. He was going to get the power to fix a lot of things and make everybody happy at the end of the story, but in order to do that, he needed to go out to the desert.

The desert was a dangerous place. Full of sand, dangerous animals, and hot sun - and without food and water. The sun burns your skin, you get hungrier and hungrier, and thirstier and thirstier. When the wind blows, it catches the sand and it stings your eyes and skin. Normally, someone would die being out there this long, but again, this was a very special man. But it still meant he was very thirsty, very hungry, and could still feel the sun and the sand.

But he did it because he wanted to help everyone in the city, and in every other city, and in every other place that ever would be or had been. And he was the only one that could do it.

While he was waiting, an enemy showed up to talk to him.

And first the enemy tried to stop him from doing what he had to do by reminding him of how difficult it was. He sounded very reasonable. "Because you are so special, you can ask that those rocks over there turn into bread. And then you won't be hungry any more." And he thought about it. He was indeed very hungry. But he answered back instead: "I do need to eat, you're right. But I am not an animal that only lives to eat and drink. There are more important things than eating and drinking right now. Everyone else is more important than me right now. I could do something to help me, or I could do something to help my friends. I would rather have what I came here for, so I will wait instead."

So the enemy thought about it and tried again, because he didn't want the man to get the power he needed to help everyone else. He wanted to keep it for himself.

So he tried this: "You want to help your friends, and to do that you need to show them that you're not like everyone else. I tell you what:" and he took them both to the top of a tall building in the middle of the town. "Jump off this building. Normally it would be very very dangerous and kill you, but because you're so special, you and I both know even the birds will catch you and slowly lower you safely to the ground. Then everyone will see that you're very special and know you're there to help them." And the man answered back: "I don't want to LOOK like someone who can help, I want to BE the person who can help. If I did what you said, I'd just be pretending, and this is too important."

Finally the enemy tried one final time. "You're hot, you're thirsty, you're hungry, you're lonely, and you're out here feeling really bad for people you never will even get to see or meet. And most people won't thank you for doing this. Instead," and with this he took the man high enough into the air, almost into space, to see the whole world and everyone in it. "Not only will you get everything you could ever want: the best food, the nicest clothes, the biggest house, the prettiest wife, friends, fun, everything - but you can have the power to MAKE people do what you want. If someone is going to do something you don't want them to do, you can make them follow you. You can even make them bow down to you like a king. But in order to do that, all I ask is that you do what I want you to do, and leave the power with me."

And the man said back: "No. That power doesn't belong to you any more. You do bad things with it, you do mean things, and you hurt people." And with it, he took the power away from the enemy and took it with him, and went back to the city, which made the enemy very, very, very angry.

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