The Legacy of Joshua
The word legacy is defined as “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor.” As part of The Gospel Project for Kids’ three-year chronological survey of the Bible, leaders will present the story “Joshua’s Final Encouragement” from Joshua 23:1–24:28.
Joshua was getting old, so he gathered up all the people of Israel. His exhortation to them emphasized three things:
- A reminder. God had fought for His people, and He kept every single one of His promises. (Josh. 23:14) Joshua wanted the people to remember and to live their lives based on what they knew to be true about God: God can be trusted. He is good, and He is faithful.
- A challenge. “Be very strong and continue obeying all that is written in the book of the law of Moses” (Josh. 23:6). Reading, studying, and obeying God’s Word is a mark of belief in God. Joshua reminded the people that they were successful over their enemies because of their obedience to God.
- A warning. Just as all the good things God promised had been fulfilled, so would all the bad things He promised if the Israelites disobeyed Him. (See Josh. 23:12-13,15.)
Joshua gathered the people at the place where God had made a promise to Abraham. (See Gen. 12:6-7.) He reminded the leaders of the past—from the birth of Isaac to Israel’s escape from Egypt. Joshua said, “Choose for yourselves today the one you will worship … As for me and my family, we will worship Yahweh” (Josh. 24:15).
The Israelites had a choice: Continue to worship God or choose to serve other gods. In response to God’s faithfulness to His promises, the Israelites renewed their covenant to be faithful to the Lord.
The Legacy of Jesus
As Joshua prepared for his own death, he left behind a legacy of obedience to God. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, He appeared to the disciples and left them with a legacy: to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded. (Matt. 28:19-20)
As you share the story of Joshua’s legacy with kids, point them to a greater legacy found in Jesus Christ. After Christ’s resurrection, He sent His disciples out to tell the nations about Him.
Spend some time thinking over Jesus’ legacy for yourself. Jesus’ legacy was different than Joshua’s legacy or any other man’s because it was not merely a legacy of ethical teachings or moral ideals. Jesus gave us the legacy of Himself.
Jesus bequeathed to the church not merely a great and holy memory but a living and abiding presence, not merely the thought of one who had “greatly lived and greatly died,” but the thought of one who was alive forever more.
H.T. Andrews, “The Legacy of Jesus to the Church”
The late H. T. Andrews, professor of New Testament Exegesis and Criticism at New College, London, pointed out that Jesus’ legacy extends beyond a great conception of God or a supreme moral idea. To stop there would have been “a mere mockery of human need,” he wrote. As the promised Messiah, our Savior, Jesus left us with the answer to Job’s cry: “How can a person be justified before God?” (Job 25:4). The answer lies in the gospel—the good news of salvation for sinners in the finished work of Jesus.