Scripture Reference: Matthew 27-28
Memory Verse: Matthew 28:6
Children will learn about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Dying on the cross, Jesus paid for our sins. His resurrection was proof God the Father accepted his payment on our behalf.
Let’s say our memory verse together. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen (Matthew 28:6 NLT).
Can anyone share what they did to people who were being crucified?
How would you feel if you knew you were about to die? How do you think Jesus felt? What are some things you might do if you knew you were going to die within the next week?
Why do you think Jesus died on the cross?
Bible Story Time:
Reflection: Why do you think people didn’t like Jesus and wanted him crucified? What are some reasons people might not like you?
Jesus had only been preaching and teaching around three years before he was crucified. While many people loved Jesus and enjoyed hearing him preach, many others wanted him dead. That may seem curious because Jesus only went about doing good things all the time. He healed the sick, restored sight to blind people, raised the dead, made the lame walk, and gave food to the hungry. But there were some people—the leaders in the church of that day—who wanted him dead.
In a number of places in the Old Testament, God told about a coming Messiah—a king, who would die for the people’s sins. Many of the people who lived when Jesus did were looking for this Messiah, but they were looking for the wrong type of Messiah. They were looking for a king who would ride in on a white horse and lead them to victory in battle over their enemies. Jesus wasn’t that kind of Messiah. He was coming to die for people’s sins, not conquer enemies in battle.
Reflection: Have you ever not recognized someone because they were dressed up? What are some reasons people might disguise themselves?
The Jewish religious leaders finally convinced Pilate, the Roman governor, to crucify Jesus. They told him Jesus claimed to be a king. This frightened Pilate. He didn’t want anyone around who might try to steal his position or that of the Roman emperors.
After beating and making fun of Jesus, the Roman soldiers made him carry a part of his cross and then led him up a hill to the place called Golgotha, or Calvary. They fastened the two pieces of the cross together and then drove large spikes into Jesus’ hands and feet. Since no major organs of the body were injured, a person could hang on a cross several days before they died.
Jesus only hung on the cross less than a day. The soldiers had almost beaten him to death before they crucified him. Strange things happened while Jesus was on the cross. From noon until three in the afternoon, darkness covered the land. When he died, the curtain in the Temple that separated people from God was torn in half from top to bottom. Also, many graves were opened, and believers who had died were raised from the grave and appeared to many people after Jesus was resurrected.
Two men, Joseph and Nicodemus, laid Jesus’ body in a grave that belonged to Joseph. The soldiers rolled a stone across the entrance so no one could steal the body and claim Jesus had risen from the grave. And then too, if Jesus wasn’t really dead, he couldn’t get out.
Reflection: Early Sunday morning, some women went to Jesus’ tomb to finish preparing his body for burial. Does anyone know what they found?
The women who visited the tomb early Easter Sunday morning found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty—except for some angels inside. The angels told them Jesus had risen from the grave. They were to go and tell the disciples. Peter and John were the first two disciples to come to the tomb. Sure enough, it was empty. Later, Jesus would appear to the disciples on several occasions.
The Bible tells us we have to pay for our sins, but God loved us so much that he made a way where we wouldn’t have to. Jesus was God’s Son who never committed a sin. Since he wasn’t a sinner, he could die for our sins. When God raised Jesus from the grave, it was proof God the Father accepted Jesus’ payment on our behalf. All we have to do now is ask Jesus to forgive us and come into our hearts and be our Savior.