Chapter Two: The Interpreter’s House
Today’s Theme: A Burden Lost, Heaven Gained
In this section, Christian comes into the Wicket Gate, is taught by the Interpreter (or the Holy Spirit) spiritual lessons, and he loses his burden at the Cross. He also begins his journey anew, this time without the weight of his sin. Through Christ, he gains both freedom from the burden of sin now, and a parchment—the promise of his citizenship in the Celestial City.
In Christ, we find forgiveness for our sins. But like Christian, justification for us is only the beginning. Through the power of the cross, we also gain a new hope and a new destination. We’ll talk more about the Celestial City later. For now, I think I’ll just revel in the great salvation God has accomplished for His people. Sinful, confused, ragged people like us and our children, now made beautiful and glorious in His sight! What a joy and delight!
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
- “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
- See Chapter One’s post for this week’s memory verse.
- Object Lesson: Treasure Hunt–Now that his burden has been removed, Christian can begin his journey to the Celestial City in earnest. (In the original, the previous emphasis had been on his journey to the wicket-gate.) In order to get kids excited about such a “dangerous journey”, why not have your own treasure hunt? Pick a favorite toy or a bit of candy–and even a piece of paper with this week’s memory verse on it–and hide it in your house. Then draw a rough treasure map for your little ones follow. If you’re really into it, you could pile up a bunch of pillows and let them crawl over it. Or lay down a sheet and call it the Slough of Despond. Make the kids crawl across it. Be as creative as you like, and just have fun!
- Drawing Activity–Using this map as a guide, have your children draw a map of Christian’s journey. Or just print it out in black ink and let your kids color it. You can bring it out each night and have the kids follow along as Christian makes his journey. (Here is a link to another map.)
- Make-a-book–Here’s page 2 of our picture book project. If you color one for each chapter, and complement it with a scripture verse and/or summary of the chapter, you can bind it all together at the end and have your own picture book version to share with family and friends. (For more coloring pages like this one, see Bunyan Minstries.org.)
Simple: I defined this to my kids as someone who just isn’t very smart. Dictionary.com says its “An ignorant, foolish, or gullible person.” Have you ever known anyone who couldn’t see the danger of sin? Couldn’t see that “it is appointed to men once to die, and after that the judgement.” Though I know we are but a vapor, I often spend my days thinking about really dumb stuff instead of constructive, godly things. For instance, what I should have said to get back at the guy who irritated me at the bank. How bout you and your kids?
Sloth: Hmm. The easiest definition here has to be laziness. Need I expound on this one? When we lay in the floor and cry instead of cleaning up our room would qualify. (But maybe that’s just my family. My kids are pretty expressive.) Bible Reference: Proverbs 6:6.
Presumption: “Everything’s gonna be just fine.” This fellow assumes all will be well, when in reality he is in desperate danger. Most folks I talk to about the gospel seem to fall into this category. I’m afraid I often overlook the means of grace such as prayer and fasting because I presume too much as well. What do you and your kids think you can do without God’s help?
Goodwill–Janie pointed out that in a later book, Goodwill is named as Christ. Bible Reference: John 14:6. However, obviously our book doesn’t use that interpretation in the illustrations. No matter how you interpret him, though, as Isaac Watts wrote,
Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.
House of the Interpreter–Here Christian is taught many spiritual lessons, and we may safely assume that the Interpreter is the Holy Spirit. I have often wondered why the Holy Spirit didn’t go with Christian to the cross, but as a general principle, it’s probably best not to push the allegory too far. Every metaphor breaks down at some point, and we needn’t try to find every jot and tittle of Biblical truth in Bunyan’s allegory. Bible Reference: John 14:26.
The Wayside Cross and the Grave–Christian’s sin falls off at the sight of the cross, and by Christ’s sacrifice, it is put to death forever in the grave.
Any questions so far? Anything particularly helpful? I’m looking forward to cheering Christian over The Hill Difficulty next week!
Click Dangerous Journey, Part 1 to see the first in this series. If you’d like to know more about this read along or you want to order a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress, see our post Pilgrim’s Progress: Mission Adventure. You can also see Janie’s Introduction and join her read along for older readers in Pilgrim’s Progress, From the City of Destruction to The Cross.