How big is YOUR Jesus? The gentle humor and profound message in this book will expand your view of how Jesus can be a far greater part of your life. Scroll down for the powerful story behind the most popular title in the Blue Box series.
BIG JESUS: THE BACK STORY (by author Jane Van Antwerp)
The weekend after 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001), churches all over the country were packed. At Menlo Park Presbyterian (now Menlo Church), the first of five worship services was at 5:00 on Saturday evening. Normally when I did the children's sermon, I invited the elementary kids up to the wide carpeted steps of the stage. But that Saturday there was no way to do that. The 1,200 seat sanctuary was so full, we let adults sit on the steps. Besides, parents weren't easily parting with their children.
As I write this many years later, I remember it like it was yesterday. I have never felt the power of God so strongly when giving a Blue Box children's sermon. The sermon was Big Jesus. It is the most popular Blue Box ever done. That evening, I brought out a 2-inch, cardboard Jesus. And I asked people how big was their Jesus. Then out came a 6-inch Jesus, then a 2-foot, a 5-foot and finally, out came a 9-foot Jesus. Jesus the Son of God has no limits and is big enough for all that gets thrown our way. Including 9-11.
When we went to publish Big Jesus as a children's sermon for churches to use, our first version had people making 5 different sizes of Jesus, just like I did. (A powerful illustration, if the church was half as crazy as I was.) Two years later, when we published our first three Blue Box Books, I realized we could finally make Big Jesus easier for churches to illustrate. And now it is our most popular Blue Box Book and most downloaded Blue Box Children's Sermon.
At the end of the book is an illustration that is my favorite — a very big Jesus holding a man. That man is my husband, Craig. Craig had a massive stroke in 2003. He lives with some significant disabilities, including loss of speech, reading and writing. He instantly had to retire. Craig has a very big Jesus — a Jesus bigger than the stroke that changed our lives dramatically
The illustration of Craig has touched so many people's lives, including my 92 year old prayer partner. She said she had never been able to picture Jesus holding her until seeing that picture in the book.