She is very empathetic by nature, which made her a good subject to examine the long scar on my arm and wrist where the doctors had inserted two metal plates and nine screws. They were put there to repair the mess I made of it by doing a back flip off the scaffolding while working on my house. As I pointed to the healing incision and explained how the long metal screws went all the way through the bone, Jocelyn looked properly pained, and her little body drew up and quivered in shared suffering for me.
Suddenly her countenance changed to that of a storyteller about to deliver a most salient point. She said to me, “Jesus had nails driven in his hands and feet.”
“Yes, he did,” I replied.
Continuing, she mused, “And it hurt,” again looking pained.
“That’s right, it did,” I agreed.
“And he died,” her voice trailing off as her eyes and countenance dropped in sadness.
There was a pause I dared not interrupt, as deep thoughts stirred in her four-year-old heart.
Slowly her eyes rose to mine and she said most emphatically, “But he didn’t stay dead.”
“No, he didn’t,” I said with the fervency of a deacon in the amen corner of the church.
A smile came to her face, and she asked a question: “Do you know why he didn’t stay dead?” I felt like a student.
“Tell me,” I gushed.
“Because we need him.”
Knock me over! “A little child shall lead them.”
“...Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise” (Matthew 21:16)
“...Except ye be converted, and become as little children…” (Matthew 18:3)
“...Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16)
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts” (Isaiah 28:9)
Now, I have answered that question before in many sermons, “Why must Jesus have risen from the dead?” I even remember answering it on one of my papers in theology class in college, but in hours of words and pages of text, I never even got close to the depth of those four words uttered by a four-year-old—“Because we need him.”
Yes, let’s say it together, “Because we need him.”
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3)
“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16)