The preacher went to the pulpit on Easter morning carrying a rusty old birdcage. Said he: Yesterday I was going down the street and I met a little boy who had this old bird cage full of frightened, fluttering sparrows. I asked him where and how he got them.

He said, "Oh, I just put out a little bait and caught them." "And what are you going to do with them?" I asked. He said, "Oh, I'm going to play with them a while, tease them and have some fun." "And then what will you do with them?"

He said, "I have an old tomcat that likes birds so I'll feed them to him."

"What will you take for them?" He said, "Oh mister, you don't want these birds, they ain't good for nuthin'. They can't sing, they carry mites, they build nests in gutters. You don't want them do you?" "But I insisted," said the preacher, "What will you take for them?"

He told me, "Two dollars." I gave him the money, he gave me the cage and hurried down the street, happy with his bargain. Then I took the cage around the corner, opened the door and let all the little birds go free.

Then the minister said: The Lord Jesus met the devil one day. He said to him, "What do you have there?" And the devil said, "Oh, I have the human race trapped in this cage." "And how did you get them?" Jesus asked. "Oh, I just put some bait out in the Garden of Eden and trapped them." "And what do you plan to do with them?" Jesus asked. "Oh," said the devil, "I'm going to make them hate each other, kill each other, make war, divorce, commit adultery." "And then?" asked Jesus. "Then I am going to dump them in hell," said the devil.

"What will you take for them?" asked Jesus. "Oh, you wouldn't want these people. They are horrible. Why they'd kill you, spit in your face, betray you, they are horrid creatures, surely you don't want them." "But," insisted Jesus, "What will you take?"

The devil, with a smirk on his face, said, "They'll cost you your life, the last drop of blood you have in your veins." And Jesus said, "I'll pay the price." And He went out to a rugged hill called Calvary, shed His blood, opening the cage and letting us go free.

That my beloved is Easter in a nutshell.

How to Be Sure of Heaven