|Theme:||Having open minds and hearts to sharing the Gospel; Easter 3|
|Object:||A hidden word puzzle (click here)|
|Scripture:||Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Luke 24:45-47 (NIV)|
Do you enjoy puzzles? I like puzzles—especially word puzzles. Word jumbles are my favorites. That is a puzzle where the letters of a word are all mixed up and you have to figure out what the word is. Sometimes it is easy to figure the word out. Other times I will look and look and can't figure out what the word is. Then, all of a sudden, it seems my mind is opened and the word is clear to me.
We have a word puzzle for you today. The letters are not mixed up. The word is just hard to see. I am going to hold it up and show it to you. If you see the word, don't say what it is until everyone has had time to figure out what the word is. (Hold up the puzzle and wait for a short time.) If you can see the word, raise your hand. Who can tell us what the word is? That's right, the answer is Jesus!
This puzzle reminds me of something that happened in our Bible lesson today. The Bible tells us that Jesus appeared to some of his disciples and said, "Peace be with you." The disciples were afraid and weren't sure what they were seeing. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Seeing that they were afraid, Jesus said to them, "Why are you troubled? Why do you have doubts? Look at my hands and my feet. Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones like I have."
Jesus could see that they still weren't convinced, so he asked them, "Do you have anything to eat?" They gave him a piece of fish and he ate it as they watched.
Then Jesus opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He taught said, "It was written long ago that the Messiah would suffer, die, and be raised from the dead on the third day. It was written so that this message would be told to every nation, beginning in Jerusalem: 'There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.' You are witnesses of all these things."
As Jesus opened the minds of his disciples, let us pray that he will open our hearts and minds to spread the Good News to everyone we know that Jesus died, was buried, and rose again so that we could have forgiveness of sin.
Heavenly Father, open our minds to understand your Word, open our hearts to live your Word, open our lips to share the Word with others. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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