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Lesson Prep

Background Scripture (read 2-3 times during the week)

Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-20

Story Summary

This story is one of the most important stories out of the entire Bible. It is the foundation of our faith. Yes, Jesus was sent to earth in the form of a baby. He lived on the earth, performed miracles and healed people. The Jews had him crucified at the hands of the Romans. Those are all important parts of the story. But without the resurrection, it is a mere tragedy - not the cornerstone of human history.  (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, 12-20)

Do not take this story for granted. While you might believe firmly that Christ was indeed raised from the dead by God's power, we must teach this to our children! And not as just a statement of fact. Teach the story. Let them experience the details that are provided to us in the scriptures we listed above.

Here are some highlights:

  • Jesus was crucified on Friday (Good Friday), and was buried and in the tomb through Saturday (the Sabbath) and into Sunday morning.
    • This is the point at which Christians began their weekly celebrations on Sunday, instead of the traditional Sabbath (Saturday).
    • The story specifically says that they went to the tomb very early on Sunday morning (Matthew says it was at dawn).
    • This is why we have Easter sunrise services.
  • Several women had taken up the cause to take care of Jesus' body in the tomb to embalm it: Mary Magdalene (the former prostitute), Mary the mother of James, Salome. They had the burial spices with them and were discussing on the way how they were going to get the very large stone moved from in front of Jesus' tomb.
  • When they got there, they saw that the stone had been moved already and they saw an angel who told them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
    • Notice that none of the 12 were with them. Peter had denied Jesus publicly and the disciples were mostly scattered by the time the crucifixion happened. Here we are, 3 days later and these women were dutifully taking care of Jesus' body.
    • So the very first proclamation that Jesus had been risen from the dead was given to 3 women.
  • They went and told Peter and the disciples, who then ran to the tomb. John gives us the story of John and Peter racing to the tomb. John was apparently the better athlete because he beat Peter to the tomb. But John was a little afraid when he got there, and just stood outside the tomb, looking in. Peter, in accordance with his personality, arrives at the tomb after John but just rushes in the tomb right past him (think the tortoise and the hare!).
  • Peter saw the strips of linen that they wrapped Jesus' body in just lying there in the tomb. You could imagine how bloody those strips of linen would be. There would be no doubt that Jesus was no longer there.
  • In Matthew, we learn that Jesus then appeared to the group of women and the disciples. They fell down and worshipped him.
  • By the time the women got there, the guards had already left and were on their way to the city to tell the chief priests that something had gone horribly wrong. They were in charge of guarding Jesus' body, and somehow he was gone! The chief priests paid off the soldiers to tell everyone that the disciples came to get Jesus' body while they were sleeping.  This is silly though - how would the disciples be able to roll away a large stone and take a body without waking up the guards right next to the tomb?
  • Even still, some of the disciples who hadn't seen Jesus still didn't believe that Jesus had risen from the dead solely based on the testimony of these women. But Jesus proceeded to appear to many people over the next 40 days to prove that he was indeed risen from the dead.

What You Will Need

Snack Suggestion
See the Resurrection Biscuits activity below

Resource Sheet

Jesus is Alive!

This coloring sheet depicts the disciples finding the empty tomb.

Lesson

1. Warm Up

get your kids talking and engaged

Does anyone know why we celebrate Easter? Is it about Easter bunnies, eggs, candies, presents, and dressing up in our nicest outfits?

Today, we are going to learn about the real reason we celebrate Easter. This is the most important story in the whole Bible!

2. Teach the Story

teach a holistic story

Read story from a Children's storybook Bible for younger children.

For older children, read the story from an age-appropriate Children's storybook Bible or tell the story yourself.

Bring in the highlights of the stories from all 4 gospel accounts (see the "Story Summary") as you see fit with your students. This is an exciting story, and is more detailed than just "Jesus rose from the dead!". Make sure your students get the full picture.

3. Bible Mastery

give them basic Bible skills

Scripture for Kids to Read Aloud: Matthew 28:1-10

4. Comprehension Questions

make sure they understand the story

First, ask the children if they have any questions about the story. What to do if you don't know the answer?

  • What day was Jesus crucified? (Friday, what we celebrate as "Good Friday")
  • Who went to visit Jesus' tomb? (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome)
  • Why were they going to Jesus' tomb? (to prepare his body, or to embalm it with burial spices)
  • What day did they go to the tomb? (very early on the day after the Sabbath, Sunday)
  • What did they find when they got there? (the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, and they saw an angel)
  • What did the angel tell them? (that Jesus was no longer there, that he had risen from the dead)
  • What did they do next? (they went back to tell the disciples)
  • Who was the first disciple to enter the tomb? (Peter - John got there first, but Peter rushed in before him as John was waiting outside the tomb)
  • What did Peter find? (the linens they used to wrap Jesus' body after he died, lying in the tomb)
  • How do we know that Jesus rose from the dead? (because he appeared to many people after he rose from the dead)

5. Faith Questions

help them apply the story to their lives and open up a conversation about faith and the gospel; close with prayer
  • This is the most important story in all of the Bible!
  • Jesus rose from the dead and so we know he is God, that he has power of death, and can save us from our sins with the same power he has to raise himself from the dead.
  • Romans 10:9 tells us: "Say with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord.' Believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. Then you will be saved." Have you done that?

6. Memory Verse

hide God's Word in their heart
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved. (Acts 16:31 ESV)

Reinforcement Activities

Hunting Easter Eggs

Scripture I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

Supplies Easter eggs with words from Bible verse

  • Hunt for Easter Eggs.
  • Each Egg will contain a word from the Bible verse.
  • After all the eggs are found, have students place the verse in order.
  • Older students can be split into teams and complete as a relay or contest.
  • Each team will hunt for a different color of eggs.

Resurrection Biscuits

Scripture “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6

Supplies small paper plates, 1 pkg. refrigerated biscuits ,1 bag large marshmallows, 1/2 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cinnamon

  • Give each student a small paper plate and a biscuit.
  • Flatten out biscuits on plate.
  • Melt butter.
  • Mix cinnamon and sugar together.
  • Have each student roll a marshmallow in the butter and cinnamon sugar mixture.
  • Place coated marshmallow onto center of biscuit.
  • Fold biscuit around marshmallow and seal edges.
  • Place biscuits on baking sheet.
  • Bake according to package instructions.
  • When done, biscuits will be empty. (The marshmallow melted)
  • As they discover the empty tomb, say "He is not here for He is risen!"

Easter Egg Bible Story

Supplies various - see below

  • Place a different item that represents Jesus' last week in a plastic Easter Egg.
  • Ask the children if they can think of what that item represents in the Easter story
  • Sunday - palm leaf (actual leaf or one made out of construction paper) (the entry into Jerusalem); small plastic donkey (Jesus rode a colt on the way to Jerusalem)
  • Monday - small dove or bird (found in wedding section of crafts store) (symbolizing the selling of sacrifices in the temple, the reason Jesus overturned the tables);
  • Tuesday - small scroll (make using toothpicks and paper) (Jesus taught in temple)
  • Wednesday - coin (Judas agreed to betray Jesus)
  • Thursday - small goblet (lego or Polly Pocket) (last supper); bread (last supper); small silk flower (Jesus prayed in the garden)
  • Friday - a cross made out of toothpicks (Jesus was crucified on a cross)
  • Saturday - rock (symbolizing the tomb); small plastic sword (lego) (a guard was placed at tomb)
  • Sunday - leave empty

Making a Clay Tomb

Scripture and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Mark 16:3-4

Supplies air dry clay, small strips of linen, large stones

  • Tombs were not like we think today. People were not buried in the ground, but were placed in tombs with large stones rolled in front of the opening.
  • See the picture below (source) for a picture of a tomb that may be similar to the one Jesus was placed in.
  • Make a tomb out of clay that resembles the picture.
  • Give each student a large stone to go over the entrance to the tomb or have them make one out of clay.
  • Place a small linen strip in the tomb, to represent the strips of cloth left in the tomb when Jesus had risen.
Making a Clay Tomb Example

Peter and John Running to the Tomb

Scripture So Peter and the other disciple [John] started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there. John 20:3-6

  • Play a racing or running game of your choosing (a relay, for example)
  • Bring out the part in the story where Peter and John run to Jesus' tomb

Burial spices

Heads up! Be sensitive with this topic, especially if any of your children have lost a loved one recently

Scripture Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. John 19:39b-40

Supplies myrrh, cloth

  • Place a dab of myrrh on a cloth and allow students to smell.
  • Remind students (especially older ones) this was one of the gifts given to Jesus by the wise men when he was born. It was a strange gift for a baby, but was a foreshadowing of what was to come.
  • Although difficult for small children to understand, it is important that the children know that Jesus was in fact dead, and then he rose again.
  • Use wisdom, but you can talk about how even today, we prepare bodies for burial, and they did the same thing for Jesus.

Rock Painting

Scripture Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” John 20:1-2

Supplies rocks, paint brushes, paint

  • Paint rocks as a reminder that the stone was rolled away.