Jóhann [YOH-hahn] jumped off the school bus and ran toward the modern glass building nearby. Today was a class field trip, and Jóhann loved field trips.
“Children,” his teacher called. “Line up here.” The children lined up and were greeted by a man who would guide them through the exhibit they had come to see. It was called Bible 3-D.
Jóhann’s family sometimes went to church on special days, but he didn’t know much about the Bible or God.
The children entered what looked like an old Icelandic house, where a man read from an ancient Bible while a woman spun wool. “Much of our history in Iceland is centered on the Bible,” the guide said. “The first Bible was translated into Icelandic and printed in 1584—more than 400 years ago. Almost every home in Iceland had a Bible, and people read it every day. Come, let’s go see one of those ancient Bibles.”
Jóhann listened to the man read the Bible until his teacher tapped him on his shoulder to remind him to hurry on.
“Here is one of the original Icelandic Bibles,” the guide said. “Can anyone tell me a story that comes from the Bible?”
“Adam and Eve,” one girl said.
“Noah and the ark!” a boy shouted.
“Jesus,” another girl said quietly. “He was born in a cattle stall and died on the cross.”
“All of you are right. The Bible starts with the story of Creation, when God made the world. It tells how Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. And it tells how God had a plan to save His children—you and me—from sin so we can live with Him forever. That’s why Jesus was born in that cattle barn and why He let soldiers nail Him to the cross to die for our sins.”
The guide stepped aside to let the children see the big Bibles lying under the protective glass.
The children followed the guide from one exhibit about Icelandic culture to another, and at each exhibit he told how God fits into their daily lives. Before they knew it, the children had come to the end of the exhibit. “Do you have any questions?” the guide asked. Several children raised their hands.
“Why did Jesus have to die?” one girl asked. “Why couldn’t He have just stayed in heaven?”
“Do you really think this Bible stuff is true?” a boy asked. “My parents say it’s just a story.”
“Why is there so much bad stuff in the world today?” another boy asked. “Why doesn’t God get rid of the devil so my grandpa doesn’t have to die?”
The guide answered question after question. Then he led the children to a wall and invited them to write a message telling how they felt about the exhibit or what their favorite part was. Children picked up markers and began writing their messages on the wall.
Other children wrote messages on strips of colorful paper to add to a paper chain strung across the room. “Thank you for the exhibit,” one boy wrote. “I especially liked the story of the rescue at sea and how Jesus rescued us from sin.”
“The old Bibles are beautiful,” another child wrote. “I want to read the stories in them.”
“What did you think of the exhibit?” the guide asked.
“Good!” “Great!” “Sad,” children volunteered. “I want to go again,” another said.
“I never knew that Jesus died for me,” Jóhann added.
Hundreds of children in Iceland toured the Bible 3-D exhibit last year. Many of their parents came to hear the special lectures at night. It was a chance for people to hear about Jesus in a new and personal way.
Let’s pray that the children and their parents who heard the story of Jesus’ love will give their hearts to Jesus.
Part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering next week will help people across Europe hear God’s story of love in a similar exhibit. Let’s give a big offering so boys and girls and grown-ups alike will want to live with Jesus forever.