“Text JESUS” is the title of the 2013 VBS curriculum. The title is actually a modern-day or contemporary expression that affirms sharing the Good News via technological communication.
It affirms Jesus’ imperative to His disciples as noted in the Great Commission (see Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-17; Luke 24:46-53). They were to go and share through verbal communication, (i.e., preaching and teaching), the good news of Jesus’ offer of salvation with others. Paul adds in the Philippians text that the name of Jesus will be exalted, for there is no other name by which people can be saved. The name of Jesus is essential for humanity to be reconciled to a positive and meaningful relationship with its Creator.
In today’s age, communication has advanced way beyond the days of Jesus. Technology has made it possible to communicate more quickly and efficiently, whereas communication in Jesus’ day was aided because of Rome’s dedication to building roads, use of horses and small boats, and chariots. Those advances pale in comparison to modern-day advances in communication that allow the instantaneous reception of one’s message.
Technology has opened up more opportunities for the church, preachers, pastors, and others to communicate the message of God’s love to others in their own communities and across the world. This curriculum takes advantage of these communicative technological advances in an effort to share the message of Jesus to a wider group of people and to aid the church, parents, and other Christians in their quest to use technology for the purpose of Kingdom building.
“Text JESUS” is a five-day VBS lesson plan that uses each letter of the Savior’s name to show the divine benefits God grants to those who express hope in His Son, Jesus Christ.
When people text others about Jesus, they are spreading the Good News—the best news in human history—via electroniccommunication. Not only is texting about Jesus cost efficient, but it has a sense of immediacy about it as well as convenience. Messages of His abiding and constant love can be sent at any time and from almost anywhere.
“Text JESUS” is also an imperative that forms an acronym using the letters of Jesus’ name. Each of the letters focuses on keywords that exhibit a message about what Jesus gives to us. When used as a daily lesson, the message essentially points out that Joy, Eternal life, and Salvation are yours because yoU are Special.
DAY 1: JOY
Background Scripture: John 16:24
To know Jesus is to experience His joy, the joy of His presence, the joy of His divine love, and the joy of His power. In Philippians, Paul emphasizes the joy of faith. Because of the Philippians’ belief and trust in Jesus, they possessed joy that exceeded their earthly dif?culties. In John 16:20, Jesus tells His disciples their grief will be turned to joy. His coming provides relief from all anguish and pain. In other words, Jesus’ presence in our lives supersedes everything else. He ful?lls all of our needs so that our existence is one of great joy. Our joy comes because faith in Him puts us in a right relationship with God. With God by our side, and as our guide, we can ful?ll more fully and completely our purpose for living.
DAY 2: ETERNAL LIFE
Background Scripture: John 3:16-17
The second letter in the acronym “Text JESUS” is E, which stands for eternal life. One of the reasons that Christians experience joy is because faith in Jesus produces eternal life. Contrary to what many believe about eternal life being only a futuristic experience, Jesus presented eternal life as a current possession. This is seen in Jesus’ statement about the new birth noted in John 3:1-8, but summed up quite notably in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (KJV). Philippians 2:5-11 also supplements this statement because Paul implores the church in Philippi to let the mind of Christ dwell in them so that they can be exalted by God to experience the glory of His presence and power in their lives.Texting others about Jesus underscores the abundant life (joy and eternal life) that can only be obtained through a positive faith relationship with Him (see John 10:10).
DAY 3: SALVATION
Background Scripture: Luke 19:1-10
Joy and eternal life are both current and future possessions of the believer because he or she has been saved by the Lord. Salvation is not only being set right with God, but it also includes being set right with one’s neighbors and walking in the newness of life with Jesus. Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus is a good example of salvation coming to one’s house. Zacchaeus’ was a crooked tax collector, but once he saw Jesus and experienced His saving power, he was changed and became a better person. No longer could he cheat people and take advantage of them. His heart had been set right with God and with others.Jesus announced to him that salvation had come to his house that very day. Texting about Jesus means we can inform others that Jesus comes to us and brings divine salvation to us through Him. He sets us in a right relationship with God and others.
DAY 4: yoU
Background Scripture: John 1:14
John 1:14 presents a very good reason for Jesus’ coming. It points out that the Word became ?esh and dwelt among human beings. The Word of God became one of us so we could become like Him. Romans 5:6 adds that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (KJV). Jesus came for us and died for us. His purpose in coming and dying was to provide humanity with the gifts of joy, eternal life, and divine salvation. It is safe to say that His actions were totally unselfish and sacrificial. Therefore, the letter U is more than appropriate. It stands for us, you, and me, God’s fallen human creatures. Essentially, the U emphasizes humanity as the “apple of his eye” (Zech. 2:8, KJV). We are the focus of His love and redemption. It is not by accident that Jesus came as one of us to transform us into true sons and daughters of God. It was because of His great love for us.
DAY 5: SPECIAL
Background Scripture: Genesis 1:26
This VBS curriculum projects that Joy, Eternal life, and Salvation are yours because yoU are Special. You are special for at least two reasons. First, you are special because God made you in His own image and likeness. Second, you are special because Jesus came to redeem you and reconcile you to God. During creation, God made us and gave us dominion over the world. He made us partners with Him to man-age the world and everything in it. Yet we failed Him with our act of disobedience in the garden of Eden. Since that time, human beings have sinned aggressively and consistently against God, the Creator. But in a move that revealed the depth of His love for us, God gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins (see John 3:16). Why should we text others with the news about Jesus? The answer is simple. God loves us. We are special to Him. God desires that no one should perish. We are special to Him, whoever we are and wherever we are.
“Text JESUS” is another way of sharing the good news of His coming. Text others that they can have joy. They can have eternal life. They can be saved and reconciled to their Creator. These gifts are available because they are special. Hallelujah! Text JESUS!