Thursday Before Easter: The Last Night
On the night before Jesus died, He had dinner with His disciples (friends) to celebrate Passover (when God passed over the doors with lamb’s blood on it when the Israelites lived in Egypt). At the meal, Jesus gave them bread and wine. He broke the bread and said it would be like His body when He died. He gave them the wine to drink just like He would give his blood to take away their sins. After dinner, he said that Judas would turn him in to the leaders and Peter would later tell people he wasn’t Jesus’ friend.
Late that night, Jesus went to a garden to pray. He knew He would die very soon. He prayed for three things. First, He prayed for Himself that He would do what God wanted Him to do, which was to die on the cross. Next, He prayed for His disciples, that they would tell people about Him. Finally, He prayed for you and me, that we would believe in Jesus and love each other.
Older Children: Read John 13:1-30, Mark 14:22-26, and John 17. How do you think Jesus felt at the last dinner? How do you think He felt in the garden? What are the things He prayed for?
Prepare a special snack of crackers or bread and grape juice. Gather together on a blanket with pillows, turn the lights down low, and light a candle. Recreate the last supper and talk about what happened and what Jesus and the disciples were feeling.
Friday: Jesus is Betrayed, Arrested, Crucified, and Buried (Mark 14:43-50) (Luke 23:13-25) (Mark 15:16-27) (John 19:31-42)
As Jesus was praying in the garden, Judas led the religious leaders to Him. They immediately arrested Him. They took Him before all the religious leaders and told lies about Him so He would be put to death. Because many people had lied about things Jesus said, the crowd of people watching also wanted Jesus to die. The religious leaders took Jesus to the government and watched as the soldiers made fun of him, took his clothes, and began to beat Him. They nailed Him to a cross so He would die. And after many hours of pain, He did. Jesus was taken down and buried in a cave. The soldiers rolled a large rock in front to seal the cave so no one could get in or out. His friends were extremely sad and afraid.
Older Children: Read Mark 14:43-50, Luke 23:13-25, Mark 15:16-27, John 19:31-42 for the full account of the day.
· Pull out a large nail as a prop in telling the story.
· Let the children color the picture of Jesus on the cross as you talk about the story.
Saturday Before Easter: The Waiting
How do you think Jesus’ friends felt the day after He died? Maybe they were sad or afraid or mad. They may have tried to remember what Jesus told them before He died: that He would die and come back to life. Even though it was a sad day when Jesus died, it was a very important day.
Why was it important?
Why did Jesus have to die on the cross?
Why is it important that He come back to life?
Parents, now is a great time to explain the gospel and to share what Easter means to you.
· Make Easter Cookies
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees at the very beginning (very important).
Place pecans in ziploc bag and beat them (Jesus being beaten)
Put 1 tsp of vinegar in bowl (Jesus given vinegar on the cross)
Add egg whites (represent life Jesus gives us)
Sprinkle a pinch of salt (tears Jesus shed for our sin)
Say, “So far they aren’t very appetizing”
Add 1 cup sugar (the sweetness if that Jesus died b/c He loves us)
Beat with mixer for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed
Fold in broken nuts
Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper-covered cookie sheet. (each mount represents the tomb)
Put in oven and shut the oven off.
In the morning, you will find your cookies ready to eat. If you break them in half, they are hollow inside, just like the tomb was on Easter morning.
Sunday: Jesus Comes Back to Life
On the third day after Jesus died, some women who loved Jesus went to His tomb to put some spices on His body. When they got there, they couldn’t believe their eyes! The very heavy rock covering the cave was rolled away. They went in and saw that Jesus’ body was not there. They were very confused! Suddenly, they saw two men in shining garments standing there. They were angels! The angels said, “Why are you looking for a living person where dead people are? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He told you that this would happen?” The women remembered and they ran to tell Jesus’ other friends what the angel had told them: He is Risen!!!
Later on, Jesus appeared to His friends and even showed them His scars to prove it was really Him. They were so happy to see Him again, but, once again, Jesus had to go. This time, He went to Heaven. Before He left, He told His disciples to go all over the world telling people what they had seen and heard from Him.
Older Children: Read Luke 24:1-9 and Mark 16:9-20. How did the rock covering the tomb roll away? How did Jesus’ friends know for sure He was alive? What did Jesus tell His disciples before He went to Heaven?
· Dye eggs different colors to represent the story you’ve read this week. As you dye them, go back through what you’ve learned. For example, green could represent palm leaves, red represents blood, black represents the darkness of the tomb and the sadness after Jesus died, etc.
· Take a walk outside and talk about new life as you notice it around you (trees budding, etc) Talk about the new life Jesus gives us.