Tag Archives: cross

The Spirit Is Willing, But the Body Is Weak (LESSON)


 

Time

30 minutes

 

Description

This reenacts the last hours of Jesus life before His crucifixion all the way through to His death and burial.  Everyone (even Peter) abandoned Jesus in His time of need, but Jesus went to the cross for us anyway.  They way He died, as much as the way He lived, is a testimony to Who He is.

 

Scriptures

  • John 18-19
  • Luke 23:34
  • Hebrews 4:12
  • Ephesians 6:17

 

Materials

  • The following supporting materials can be found at www.teachingthem.comon the Lesson and Material Downloads page.
    • “Spirit Is Willing, But Body Is Weak – Script Cards” (This is a document with all Peter’s and Jesus’ line on it to help them during the drama.)
  • Long table that sits close to the floor (If you don’t have one like this, you can use a folding table.  Just don’t open the legs, and set the table top on a few bricks to raise it about a foot off the ground.  This will more closely resemble the type of table Jesus and his disciples ate at.)
  • Plates, cups, pitchers, fake food (anything to dress up the table for the Passover meal)
  • Costume for Jesus character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through.  Add a belt around the waist and maybe a sash to drape over one shoulder and under one arm.
  • Costume for Peter character – recommend a long piece of fabric with a hole cut in the middle for his head to fit through and a belt around the waist.  He will need a sword to cut off Malchus’ ear.
  • Rope to tie up Jesus
  • Cross for Jesus to carry (It can be made of wood or cardboard or whatever else you can think of.)
  • Strips of cloth to wrap Jesus’ body for burial.
  • OPTIONAL – if you want to decorate or designate portions of the room as The Upper Room, The Garden of Gethsemane, Golgotha, Pilate’s judgment seat, the tomb in the garden, it might add some realism to the story.
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print the document mentioned above and cut out the lines for both Jesus and peter to say.  (Optionally, you could write these lines for Jesus and Peter to say on notecards:
    • Jesus: One of you is going to betray me.
    • Jesus: It is the one I pass the piece of bread to after I dip it in the bowl.
    • Jesus: It important for you to show love for each other.
    • Peter: Master, where are you going?
    • Jesus: Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.
    • Peter: Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you!
    • Jesus: Will you really lay down your life for me?  I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny you know me three times!
    • Jesus: Couldn’t you stay awake to pray?  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.
    • Jesus: Put your sword away.
    • Peter: No! Not me!
    • Peter: I told you, I’m not one of them!
    • Peter: Blankety-blank-blank-blank!  I do NOT know the man!
    • Jesus: You are right in saying I am.
    • Jesus: Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.
    • Jesus: It is finished.
    • Jesus: Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit.)
  • Select your volunteer to play Jesus (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Select your volunteer to play Peter (you may want to choose an adult because of the lines he needs to say), and explain what you want him to do.  Dress him in his costume, and have him wait off-stage or out of sight.  Give him the script with his lines on them.
  • Ask a volunteer to make the sound of a cock crowing when you give the signal.
  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script, or modify to suit your needs:

  • “Today, I’m going to share the saddest part of the story about Jesus.”
  • “It was Thursday night, and Jesus was having His very last meal with His disciples before going to the cross.”  (Have person playing Jesus and twelve volunteers come up and sit around table.  Tell them to act out whatever you say during the story.)
  • “Everyone could tell that something was wrong, but they didn’t understand what was happening, so they were very sad but didn’t know why.”
  • “At one point during dinner, Jesus said…” (Have Jesus character say: “One of you is going to betray me.”)
  • “They all asked, “Is it me?  Who is it?” (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • “Jesus said…” (Jesus: “It is the one I pass the piece of bread to after I dip it in the bowl.”)
  • “Then He dipped the bread and passed it to Judas.” (Have Jesus character pretend to dip some break into a bowl and then pass it to one of the volunteers at the table.)
  • “After Judas took the bread, Satan entered him, and he left to go get the priests’ soldiers.”  (The volunteer who Jesus passed the bread to goes back to his seat.)
  • “You see, Judas had already told the religious leaders (the Pharisees and the teachers of the law) that he would give Jesus to them for 30 pieces of silver.”
  • “Jesus stayed with the other disciples and said… (Jesus: “It important for you to show love for each other.”)
  • “Peter got worried and asked…” (Peter: Master, where are you going?”
  • “Jesus told him…” (Jesus: “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”)
  • “Does anyone know where Jesus is talking about going?”  (Expected response: “Heaven”)
  • “Right, He’s going to heaven, and it’s not time for His friends to follow Him yet.”
  • “But Peter didn’t want to accept that Jesus was leaving, so he said…” (Peter: “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you.”)
  • “And Jesus said…” (Jesus: “Will you really lay down your life for me?  I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will deny you know me me three times!”)
  • “Peter didn’t believe it.  He thought that there was no way he could ever turn his back on his Lord and friend.”
  • “And he probably thought to himself, ‘Not a chance!  I’ll be the most faithful of all the disciples.  If anyone tries to hurt my master, I’ll use my sword and teach them a lesson.’”
  • “Dinner was pretty much over at that point.”
  • “Jesus took everyone and went to the Garden of Gethsemane, which was an olive grove.”
  • “He was terribly sad, because He knew what was going to happen.”
  • “So He took just Peter, James and John deeper into the garden pray.” (Have Jesus, James, John and Peter go to a place in the room that can represent the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus should go a little bit further than the others to pray.)
  • “Jesus asked Peter, James and John to stay awake with Him and pray, but they kept falling asleep.”  (Have Peter, James and John act this out.)
  • “Three times, He asked them to pray with Him, and three times, He had to wake them up.”  (Have Jesus go back and forth from His praying spot to ask the disciples to stay awake and pray.  Do this three times.  Jesus says: “Couldn’t you stay awake to pray?  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”)
  • “Peter thought he was willing to lay down his life for Jesus, but he couldn’t even stay awake to pray for the Lord.”
  • “After Jesus woke them the third time, Judas arrived with the soldiers and kissed Jesus on the cheek as a signal to the men.”  (Have volunteer who played Judas grab a few other people who can pretend to be soldiers.  Judas can just pretend to kiss Jesus if he wants.)
  • “Peter, probably embarrassed that he had been sleeping and allowed the soldiers to sneak up on them, grabbed his sword and swung wildly, cutting off the ear of a servant named Malchus.” (Have Peter act this out with one of the volunteers that came up with the Judas character.  The person who “gets his ear cut off” should cover it up and pretend to be in pain until Jesus heals him.)
  • “But Jesus said…” (Jesus: “Put your sword away.”)
  • “Then Jesus healed the man’s ear.” (Have Jesus character act this out.)
  • “You see, Peter brought the wrong sword to this battle.”
  • “He was trying to fight with a physical sword, but he should have been fighting with the Sword of the Spirit.”  (Hold up Bible.)
  • “The Bible says that Word of God is like a very sharp, two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and that it’s part of the full armor of God. (Ephesians 6:17)”
  • “You can use God’s Word to defend against the work of Satan, and you can use it to attack Satan and save people from him.”
  • “So, it’s best to sharpen your sword every day by reading and memorizing Scriptures from the Bible.”
  • “After cutting off Malchus’ ear, Peter and all the others were terrified and ran away.” (Have all the disciple volunteers run away and take their seats.)
  • “One was so scared that when the guards grabbed his clothes, he ran off naked!” (The Drama Team should NOT act this out!)
  • “Jesus was left alone with the guards.  They tied him up and took Him with them to the Pharisees and the Sadducees, where they put Him on trial.” (Have the guard volunteers act this out.)
  • “They tried to convict Jesus of doing bad things, but they couldn’t find anything that He had done that was illegal.”
  • “So they had people lie about Him, but even those men couldn’t get their stories straight.”
  • “While Jesus was being tried, Peter was out in the courtyard warming himself by a fire.” (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “Peter was afraid, but he couldn’t keep himself away.”
  • “A servant girl recognized him and said, ‘Aren’t you one of his followers?’”
  • “Peter denied it.”  (Peter: “No! Not me!”)
  • “Then another person saw him and said, ‘You sound like a Galilean.  Aren’t you one of them?’”
  • “Peter denied it a second time.” (Peter: “I told you, I’m not one of them!”)
  • “Finally, a third time, another girl said, ‘This man is definitely one of them!’”
  • “Peter began to curse and swear that he didn’t know Jesus.” (Peter: “Blankety-blank-blank-blank!  I do NOT know the man!”)
  • “At just that moment, they were leading Jesus from one place to another.”
  • “A cock crowed, and Jesus looked Peter in the eyes.”  (Have your volunteer make the sound of a cock crowing while your Jesus and Peter characters make eye contact.)
  • “Peter immediately recognized what he had done.”
  • “He had denied knowing Jesus three times!”
  • “He had abandoned his friend and Lord even though he had said that he would lay down his life for Jesus.”
  • “Peter couldn’t avoid the truth.  He was a big phony.”
  • “He wasn’t as brave as he wanted everyone to believe.”
  • “He wasn’t Jesus’ most loyal follower.”
  • “He wasn’t going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven like he always argued he would be with the other disciples.”
  • “For all his boasting, when the time came for Peter to stand up for his Lord and Master, he was too afraid.”
  • “Peter broke down into tears and ran away.” (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “He found a corner somewhere and wept bitterly, realizing he deserved neither the name Simon (“listens and obeys”) nor the name Peter (“rock”).”  (Have Peter character act this out.)
  • “Jesus was tried three times by the Jewish leaders, but they couldn’t find anything that He had done wrong.”
  • “Finally, they asked Jesus, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’”
  • “Jesus replied…”  (Jesus: “You are right in saying I am.”)
  • “This was what they were looking for!”
  • “Jesus was claiming to be equal to God!”
  • “They said, ‘Who needs witnesses?  You’ve heard yourself, he’s guilty of blasphemy!’ (which means saying something terrible about God)”
  • “They beat Him, spit on Him and made fun of Him.”
  • “Then, they took Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.” (Have the guard volunteers lead Jesus to another part of the room, and get a new volunteer to stand and act like Pilate.)
  • “There, he was tried three more times and found “not guilty” each time.”
  • “But because Pontius Pilate was afraid of a riot from the crowd, he turned Jesus over to the soldiers to be beaten and crucified.”
  • “Even though Jesus had been beaten and whipped, they made Him carry his own cross up the hill.” (Give Jesus character the cross, and have him carry it around the room toward a place that can represent Golgotha.)
  • “At one point, He was too weak to carry it any further, and they made a man in the crowd named Simon pick it up and carry it.”  (Grab a volunteer from the audience, and give him the cross to carry the rest of the way.)
  • “Did you catch that?”
  • “This guy’s name was Simon, too, but it was the wrong Simon.”
  • “It wasn’t Simon-Peter who helped Jesus up the hill.”
  • “It was another Simon, who just happened to be passing by at the time.”
  • “Once again, Peter isn’t where he was supposed to be.”
  • “During the times of Jesus’ greatest need, Peter is no where to be found, even though he said he would never abandon his Lord.”
  • “Around 9a that morning, Jesus was nailed to the cross.” (Have volunteers act this out.)
  • “What I find amazing about Jesus is that while they were nailing his hands and his feet to the cross, he said…” (Jesus: “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”)
  • “Jesus even loved those who were killing Him.”
  • “Touch your neighbor and say, ‘Only God can do that!’”
  • “At noon, there was an earthquake, and amazingly, dead people came to life and started walking around and talking to others.”
  • “The sun went dark and stayed dark for the next three hours.”
  • “At the end of that time, Jesus said…” (Jesus: “It is finished.” And then “Father, into Your hands I commit my Spirit.”)
  • “Then He died.”
  • “It was so amazing the way Jesus died that the Roman centurion, a man who had seen many men die, said, ‘Surely, this was the son of God.””
  • “He had never seen someone choose when to die, but Jesus did.”
  • “The Jewish leaders had asked Pilate to take the bodies off the crosses, so Pilate told the soldiers to make the crucified men die faster.”
  • “They did this by breaking the men’s legs so that they couldn’t push themselves up on the cross to get a breath.”  (Optional additional information you could share: Dying on a cross is really dying by drowning, because the men’s lungs were filling with fluid.)
  • “The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Jesus, they could tell that He was already dead.”
  • “Just to be sure, though, they stuck a spear into His side.  Then they were sure that He was dead.”
  • “Some of Jesus’ followers asked if they could take Him off the cross, and Pilate let them.”
  • “They took Jesus’ body to a cave in a garden and wrapped His body with strips of cloth.” (Have a few volunteers act this out with the Jesus character.)
  • “Then, they rolled a giant stone in front of the cave and left.”
  • “It was Friday night, and Jewish law required them not to do any activities until Saturday night, so they had to get home quickly.”
  • “Because the Jewish leaders were afraid that Jesus’ followers might try to steal his body, they had Pilate seal the tomb and put a guard of Roman soldiers outside.”
  • “Everyone abandoned Jesus – even His best friends and most loyal followers.”
  • “Judas betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver, all the disciples ran away when the soldiers came, and Peter denied that he even knew Jesus.”
  • “But you know what? Jesus still loved every one of them.”
  • “He knew that they would leave Him before He even chose them to be His friends.”
  • “He knew that their spirits were willing to follow Him even if it meant they would die, but their bodies were weak, and they couldn’t find the courage to stand with Him in His time of need.”
  • “He knew that He would have to go to the cross alone, but He did it anyway – because He loved them and because He loves you.”
  • “The best part of the story is yet to come!  We will cover that next time!”  (If you are not meeting with this group regularly, you probably should finish the story and continue through Jesus’ resurrection and what it means for all of us.  You can find it in the lesson, “Rest of the Story, The (LESSON)” on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  You can use the Rhyme Time below to reinforce the teaching point.)

 

Rhyme Time

Sometimes our spirit is willing

But our bodies are weak.

Jesus forgives us

And gives the courage we seek.

 

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Filed under Jesus, Judas, Peter

Do Clothes Really Make the Man? (OBJ LESSON)


Time

30 minutes
Description

This object lesson looks at the different clothing Joseph wore and asks the question, “do clothes really make the man?”  The old adage means that how you dress says a lot about you, but in Joseph’s case, he was the same person in any costume.  However, no matter how good Joseph was, he couldn’t be good enough to impress God just through his good works.  God isn’t interested in what we DO until He changes WHO we are, and that only happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior.

 

Scriptures

  • Genesis 37-50
  • Isaiah 64:5-6
  • Isaiah 61:10

 

Materials

  • Several smocks (Loose-fitting fabrics that simply have a hole in the middle to fit over the head (for quick changing during the lesson) and a belt to tie them off.  You can do more elaborate costumes if you want, but these simple outfits will work.)
    • One plain white smock (to start the story)
    • One “coat of many colors”
    • Two dingy-colored or burlap smocks (for slavery before being sold and for prison)
    • One nicer white smock (for serving Potiphar)
    • Two even nicer smocks (for when Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his entire estate and for when Joseph comes up from prison)
    • One even nicer, nicer smock (for when Joseph was put in charge of Egypt – “robes of fine linen”)
    • One “filthy rags” smock (to represent our “righteousness”)
    • One “golden” smock (to represent the righteousness of Christ)
    • Gold chains costume jewelry
    • Ring costume jewelry

 

Preparation

  • Practice the script.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “There is famous saying that ‘Clothes make the man.’”
  • “It means that what you wear says a lot about you and that people will judge you based on the clothes that you wear.”
  • “I think we ought to be careful about judging people based on the clothes that they wear.”
  • “They could be a great person inside of terrible clothes.”
  • “For example, Joseph wore many clothes in his lifetime, but for most of his life, Joseph was the same person underneath those clothes.”  (Ask for volunteer to come to the front, and put the plain, white smock on him or her.)
  • “Here’s Joseph, a young man of 17 years.”
  • “Look closely at him.  I want you to tell me if he changes when he gets his new clothes.”
  • “Joseph had 11 brothers, ten older than him.”
  • “In Hebrew culture, the oldest son was supposed to get the best treatment, but Joseph’s father loved him more than all the others, because he was the firstborn son of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife.)
  • “To show his love for Joseph, Jacob gave him a fancy coat to wear.”  (Put coat of many colors on volunteer.)
  • “Look closely; is it the same person or a different person underneath?” (Acknowledge responses.  Hopefully, the participants will agree that Joseph was the same person no matter what he was wearing.)
  • “This made Joseph’s brothers really jealous and angry with him, and they got even angrier when Joseph started having dreams about ruling over his brothers.”
  • “The next time the brothers were out shepherding their sheep, Joseph’s father sent him to check on them.”
  • “He made the mistake of wearing his fancy robe to go and find them.”
  • “The brothers were all wearing the clothes of smelly, dirty shepherds, and here came Joseph, wearing the clothes of someone who didn’t have to work because he was so special.”
  • “When they saw Joseph with his fancy coat, they were furious with him and talked about killing him.”
  • “In the end, they decided to sell him to a passing group of slave traders.”  (Put the dingy-colored smock on the volunteer.)
  • “What do you think now?  Is it the same Joseph, or did the clothes change him?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “The slave traders took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to an Egyptian, named Potiphar.  There, he was given the clothes of a servant.”  (Put nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Same Joseph or different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph served Potiphar so well that Potiphar soon promoted him and put him in charge of everything in his household.”  (Put even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Is he different yet, or is he the same Joseph he was when we started the story?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “But then a terrible and unfair thing happened!  Potiphar’s wife accused Joseph of doing something he didn’t do, and Potiphar was so angry that he threw Joseph into prison.”  (Put second dingy smock on volunteer.)
  • “Do these clothes make him someone different?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph was in prison for years, but he served the prison warden so well that the warden put him in charge of everything in the prison.”
  • “There came a day when Pharaoh (the king of Egypt) had a few dreams that bothered him.”
  • “No one could interpret the dreams for him, but he learned from one of his servants that Joseph had the power to interpret dreams.”
  • “Pharaoh called Joseph up from prison, and they dressed him in nicer clothes to prepare him to meet Pharaoh.”  (Put second even nicer white smock on volunteer.)
  • “Has he changed?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams for him, and Pharaoh was so impressed that he promoted Joseph to the 2nd highest level within Egypt.  Only Pharaoh was more powerful than Joseph.”
  • “Pharaoh had Joseph dressed in robes of fine linen and put gold chains around his neck and an important ring on his finger.”  (Put even nicer, nicer smock, gold chains and ring on volunteer.)
  • “Even in this really nice set of clothes, isn’t Joseph still the same person underneath?”  (Acknowledge responses.)
  • “In this new role, Joseph did even better than he did in all his other roles.”
  • “He helped the Egyptians to save some food during the good years when there was lots of food, and when the famine came, there was plenty of food for everyone in Egypt and in the surrounding nations.”
  • “So, here we have Joseph with his eight different sets of clothes.”  (Show all eight smocks.)
  • “But the Joseph underneath is the same Joseph no matter what he is wearing.”
  • “Joseph always did his best and served those in authority faithfully, and in the end, he was recognized as a great and wise leader by Pharaoh.”
  • “Joseph was a pretty impressive guy!”
  • “When we read about him, most of us think it would be pretty cool to be like Joseph.”
  • “But you know what?  No matter how impressive Joseph is to us, he doesn’t impress God just because he was a good person.”
  • “The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:5-6, ‘How then can we be saved? All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.’”
  • “What that means is that even the ‘best’ person in the world – the one who does the most good things – looks like he is dressed in filthy rags to God.”  (Put filthy rags smock on volunteer.)
  • “We can’t save ourselves from Hell just by being good – not even if we are as a good as Joseph was.”
  • “You see, God doesn’t care what you DO until you change WHO you are, and there is only one way to change WHO you are in God’s eyes…you have to accept Jesus (God’s Son) as your Savior.”
  • “Two thousand years ago, Jesus died on a cross to save us from our sins.”
  • “He had to do that because we sin.”
  • “You sin, I sin…everyone who has ever lived sins.”
  • “The Bible says that the penalty for sin is death.  That means separation from God.”
  • “But God loved us so much that he didn’t want us to be separate from Him.”
  • “So He sent His Son, Jesus, to take the penalty of our sin for us.”
  • “Jesus died on a cross to pay for our sins.  Then He rose from the dead to give us new life!”
  • “But you have to accept what Jesus did for you.  It’s a gift, and He won’t make you take it.”
  • “If you want to, you can still pay the penalty for your own sins, but that would be a terrible waste of the gift Jesus bought for you when He died on the cross.”
  • “But here’s what’s cool about accepting Jesus’ gift!”  (Have someone read Isaiah 61:10)
  • “This Scripture is talking about two of the things Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.”
  • “The first is that He clothed us with salvation.  In other words, we get to go to heaven.”
  • “The second is that He dressed us up in a robe of righteousness.  In other words, He covered our unrighteousness (our filthy rags) with His righteousness.”  (Put golden smock on volunteer.)
  • “Now THIS impresses God!”
  • “When we accept Jesus as our Savior, He covers our sinfulness with His perfection.”
  • “Then, whenever God, the Father, looks at us, He sees the righteousness of His Son, Jesus.”
  • “This is the only set of clothes that will ever change WHO you are, because it makes you a child of God.”
  • “It has nothing to do with what you DO, because it’s a gift from Jesus.”
  • “You can’t earn it.  You can only accept it.”
  • “So in a sense, clothes really do make the man, but in God’s eyes, there are only two types of clothes that say anything about WHO you are.”
  • “Are you wearing the filthy rags of sinfulness? (Show the filthy rag smock.) ….or the righteous robe of a child of God?”  (Show the golden smock.)
  • “I hope you will accept the wonderful gift Jesus bought for you.  He really wants you to have it!”  (Thank and dismiss volunteer.  At this point (depending on your tradition), you might want to make an invitation for the audience to accept the gift of salvation and the robe of righteousness that Jesus has purchased for each of us.)

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Filed under acceptance, Agape Love, Belief, Character, Christianity, Eternity, faith, Jesus, Joseph, Object Lesson, Performance, salvation, sanctification, Transformation

Easter Stations of the Cross (EXERCISE)


Time

30 min

 

Description

This activity teaches about the events leading up to the resurrection of Jesus.  It doesn’t follow all the traditional stations of the Catholic version but rather focuses on the most important events for sharing the Easter story.

 

Scriptures

Matthew 26-28

 

Materials

  • One copy of each of the puzzles that represent the different Stations of the Cross.  You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachingthem.com.  The file is called, “Easter Stations of the Cross – Puzzles.ppt”
  • Scissors or cutting tool
  • 12 Ziplock bags (sandwich size)

 

Preparation

  • Printout one copy of the puzzles.
  • Cut along the outlines of the puzzle pieces.
  • Put each set of puzzle pieces into a Ziplock bag.
  • Create the following “Stations” around the room by setting out the appropriate puzzle at each Station:
  1. Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested.
  3. Jesus is tried by the Sanhedrin.
  4. Jesus is denied by Peter.
  5. Jesus is judged by Pilate.
  6. Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns.
  7. Jesus takes up his cross and is helped by Simon.
  8. Jesus is crucified between two thieves.
  9. Jesus promises the thief eternity in paradise.
  10. Jesus dies on the cross, and the veil is torn in two.
  11. Jesus’ is removed from the cross and buried.
  12. Jesus rises from the dead.

 

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Some Christian traditions have a ritual called, Stations of the Cross.”
  • “The Stations are different places in a room, or on a road or in a building that you walk to and then stop to think about Jesus and how much He loves you.”
  • “The Stations each have a description, and they are usually about different events related to the Easter story.”
  • “Today, we’re going to go through some of the most important events (or Stations) and learn about what happened during that part of the story.”  (Divide the group into twelve smaller groups, and assign each one to one of the Stations.  If you have less than 12 people, you can assign multiple stations to each person.  Have these groups or individuals go to different stations and put the puzzles together.  They should then read the Scriptures on their puzzle and be ready to summarize that part of the story when the group reaches that Station.  After all the puzzles are done, gather everyone back together, and go through the Stations in the order listed above.  As you reach each station, allow everyone to look at the picture, and have the person or group who completed the puzzle summarize the story for the larger group.  When you’ve finished all the stations, you can sing the Alleluia chorus or do a short wrap-up lecture on the importance of the resurrection.)

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Filed under Christianity, Easter, Jesus, Judas, Resurrection, Simon-Peter

Resurrection Roll (GAME)


Time
10-15 minutes (or more, depending upon how many times you play)

Audience

Children & Youth

Description

This game is a fun and high-energy way to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  It’s played in rounds, and an individual round takes only a few minutes to play.

Scriptures

  • Matthew 28:1-10

Materials

  • 10-20 feet of rope
  • “Friday-Sunday” dice cube pattern (You can find this on the Lesson and Material Downloads page at www.teachthem.wordpress.com in the file named “Resurrection Roll – Dice Cube.”)
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors or knife to cut out dice cube
  • Cardboard or poster board (8.5 x 11 inches)
  • Optional: Small prizes for the winners – it’s possible to have multiple winners each round, so you will want to have lots of small prizes
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Print out the dice cube pattern.
  • Glue the pattern on top of the cardboard or poster board.
  • Cut out the dice cube pattern.
  • Bend the dice cube sides along the lines to form the cube.  (It might be helpful to lightly score the cardboard along the dice cube lines to help it to bend.  Make sure to score the cardboard side and not the paper side.)
  • Tape the dice cube anywhere the sides come together.
  • Lay out the rope in a large circle pattern.
  • Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script and instructions (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “Jesus died on the cross on a Friday, and His followers were crushed!”
  • “They believed He was the Savior, the Messiah, but now He was gone!”
  • “They couldn’t believe it!  They didn’t know what to do.”
  • “They had put all their hopes in Jesus, and they didn’t know what to do with their lives now that He was dead.”
  • “Fortunately for them and for all of us, that wasn’t the end of the story!” (Have a volunteer read Matthew 28:1-10.)
  • “Imagine you were there!”
  • “One moment, life has no meaning – only mourning.”
  • “The next moment, all your hopes are restored – even upgraded!”
  • “What you thought was a terrible defeat turns into an incredible victory!”
  • “So, let’s play a game to celebrate that victory!”  (Ask everyone to grab the rope and stand in a circle.)
  • “I have a die (singular for dice) here that has three sides that say, ‘Friday,’ and three sides that say, ‘Sunday.’”
  • “You are holding a rope that represents the tomb Jesus was buried in, and you represent Jesus.”
  • “Before I roll the die, you have to decide if you think it will land on ‘Friday’ or ‘Sunday’ and choose to either be in the tomb or out of the tomb.”
  • “If it lands on ‘Friday,’ you want to be in the tomb, where Jesus was after He died.”
  • “If it lands on ‘Sunday,’ you want to be outside the tomb, where Jesus was after He rose from the dead.”
  • “If you are in the wrong place, you are out of the game and have to leave the circle until we start a new round.”
  • “I will roll the die three times, and you can choose a different place (in or out) each time or stay where you are as long as you keep being right.”
  • “Whoever lasts all three rolls, wins!”  (“….and gets a prize” if you are giving prizes)
  • “Are you ready to play?”  (Start the game by having the kids choose a position inside or outside of the rope.  Then roll the die.  Any kids on the wrong side of the rope are out until the next round.  After three rolls, acknowledge the winners and start a new round if you wish.  End whenever you’ve had enough!)

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Filed under Christianity, Easter, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, Resurrection

Facing Your Giants (QUICK DRAMA)


Time
10 minutes

Description
This Quick Drama teaches that we shouldn’t fear the giants in our lives but that we shouldn’t try to take them on alone, either.  (I’ve chosen giants who represent fears children might have, but feel free to change the type of giants to match your audience.)

Audience
Children, youth, adults

Materials
o    Life-size drawings of different giants (4 that are about 2 sheets of foam board-high each)

o    Foam board (10-12 pieces)

o    Different colored paints or markers

o    Paint brushes

o    Utility knife and razor

o    Tape
Preparation
o    Draw and color the giants on foam board, and make them free-standing by taping some “wings” near the bottom and on the back.  These wings should fold out so that they are perpendicular to the bottom of the foam board with the picture on it.
o    Razor the back side of the giants to weaken them, so that they will break apart easily when they are attacked.
o    Arrange the giants in different places around the room.
o    All the giants can be voiced by one or more people offstage.
o    Practice the script.

Script
Narrator:  All of us have mean, ugly giants in our lives…things we are afraid of dealing with.  Just like in King David’s time, God often leaves giants in our paths in order to teach us warfare.  Of course, we won’t ever fight a Goliath, but we will fight against other types of giants.

[Brad enters followed by God.  Brad sees the first giant and tries to run away.  God gently catches him and turns him back toward the giant.]

GOD:    [Whispers to Brad] Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Tentatively approaches giant] Wh-wh-what do you want?

Giant #1:     I am the giant of Darkness and Monsters!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     I-I-I-I-I…

GOD:    Remember, you’re not alone.

Brad:     [Turning to God] Can you help-help me, God?

GOD:     Yes, I can.  Please step aside.  [Cracks knuckles, stretches, then loudly karate chops the giant (e.g., “Hi-ya!”) until he is demolished – really hams it up for the kids.]

Brad:     Hey!  That was SO cool!  Will you teach me how to do that?

GOD:    Sure, Brad.  I see another giant over there.  [Points]

Brad:     Oh, uh, I didn’t mean so soon, but okay.  [Goes up to giant timidly.]

Brad:    What…What do you want?

Giant #2:    I am the giant of No Friends and Being Alone.  FEAR ME!

Brad:     God, what do I do?

GOD:    Are you asking for my help?

Brad:     Yes, please!

GOD:    Okay, watch this!  Hi-ya!  Hu-ya! [Saves a small piece for Brad]

Brad:     [Tentatively] Hi-ya! [Then cowers in case giant attacks.]

GOD:    Excellent!  Now you’re getting it! [Notices another giant] Hey, isn’t that another monster over there?

Brad:     [Confidently] Yeah!  Let’s get him!  [Goes up to giant]  What do you want?

Giant:     I am the giant of People Who Try to Hurt You!  FEAR ME!

Brad:     Oh yeah?  Well, take this!  [Karate chops with no effect]  Hi-ya!  [Tries again with no effect]  Hu-ya!  [Tries several more times with no effect]

Giant:     FEAR ME!

Brad:    [Turns back to God] God!  What happened?  I did everything you showed me!

GOD:    You forgot the most important part.

Brad:    What was that?

GOD:     Me.  You tried to do it all alone.

Brad:     [Sheepishly] God, will you help me with this one?

GOD:    Sure, Brad, and I’ll save a small part for you to do so that you can keep growing.  [God attacks giant but saves a piece for Brad.  Brad destroys it and genuinely enjoys attacking the giant with God.  They high five.]

Brad:    I see one more giant over there.  Let’s do this one together!  [Approaches giant]  Who are you?

Giant:     I am the Giant of Death.  FEAR ME!

Brad:    Death?  How do I fight this one, God?

GOD:    Brad, I have to do this one all by myself.  [Completely destroys giant]  Brad, there was only one way to destroy the Giant of Death.  I had to send my Son, Jesus, to die on the cross.  But when He died, He defeated death and rose back to life three days later.  Now, anyone that believes wht Jesus did and askes Him to be Lord of their life doesn’t have to fear the Giant of Death anymore.  Whenever a Christian dies, He immediately joins Jesus in heaven.

Brad:     Oh, God, I want that!  Will you help me make Jesus Lord of my life?

GOD:     You bet! [Both exit]

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Filed under Belief, Bullying, Challenges, Christianity, courage, David, drama, faith, Fear, Heaven, prayer, salvation, skit, Spiritual Warfare

Easter Story Bingo (GAME)


Time
30 minutes

Description
This game teaches the Easter story through the game of Bingo.

Materials
•    Copies of the eight different bingo cards (See the filed called, “Easter Story Bingo Cards” on the “Lesson and Material Downloads” page of http://www.teachthem.wordpress.com.)  Each card has all the same pictures, but they have different placements.  You can choose whether or not you reveal this information to the children.
•    Something to act as blotters.  You can use coins, torn pieces of paper, poker chips…  You will need enough for all the children to use.  (I use candy and tell the kids that they get to keep the candy whenever they make a Bingo.)
•    Copy of the Easter story at the end of this lesson.
•    Optional – Prizes for getting bingos.

Preparation
•    Practice the script.
•    Print copies of the eight different bingo cards.
•    Distribute them randomly to the children so that each child has one.

Procedure
Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):
•    “We’re going to play a game to tell the story of Easter.”
•    “Each of you has received a ‘Easter Story’ bingo sheet.  On it, you will see pictures that represent some of the events from the Easter story.”
•    “I’m going to read the Easter story out loud.”
•    “You have also received some blotters that you can use to put on the pictures as you hear me mention them in the story.”
•    “If you see a picture that represents something I mention in the story, put a blotter on top of that name.”
•    “The center space is marked, ‘G.R.A.C.E. Space.’  This one is free – like grace; you can put a blotter on it now.  It’s to remind you of God’s grace to us.  Grace is something that you get but didn’t earn, and the letters in the word stand for ‘God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.’”
•    “You see, we have all the wonderful blessings that God wants us to have, because Jesus paid for them on the cross.  We have God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
•    “So, make sure you have a blotter on that center space, because it is already paid for.”
•    “Now, if you get five boxes in a row, in a column or in a diagonal marked, you have a bingo, and you should shout out, ‘BINGO!’”
•    “If you get a BINGO, you can keep playing and see how many BINGOs you can make.”
•    “Does anyone have any questions about how to play?”  (Answer questions.)
•    “Okay, let’s play!”  (Begin telling the story.  Be sure to emphasize the picture words as you reach them.  They are emphasized in the text below in bold and enlarged font.  Several pictures will be mentioned more than once, so the kids have multiple chances of finding them.  All Scriptures are taken from The Message, because it is more lyrical.   I’ve skipped some passages in order to shorten the game for children with shorter attention spans.  Chapters and verses are noted, and all four Gospels are used in order to give a more complete picture of the story.)
•    (Optional Follow-Up: Ask the kids to take their Bingo cards home and to try to retell the story to their parents, siblings or friends using the pictures.)

THE EASTER STORY

Matthew 26
Anointed for Burial
1-2 When Jesus finished saying these things, he told his disciples, “You know that Passover comes in two days. That’s when the Son of Man will be betrayed and handed over for crucifixion.”

3-5 At that very moment, the party of high priests and religious leaders was meeting in the chambers of the Chief Priest named Caiaphas, conspiring to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him. They agreed that it should not be done during Passover Week. “We don’t want a riot on our hands,” they said.

6-9 When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.”

10-13 When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”

14-16 That is when one of the Twelve, the one named Judas Iscariot, went to the cabal of high priests and said, “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” They settled on thirty silver pieces. He began looking for just the right moment to hand him over.

Luke 22
The Passover Meal
7-8 The Day of Unleavened Bread came, the day the Passover lamb was butchered. Jesus sent Peter and John off, saying, “Go prepare the Passover for us so we can eat it together.”

9 They said, “Where do you want us to do this?”

10-12 He said, “Keep your eyes open as you enter the city. A man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him home. Then speak with the owner of the house: The Teacher wants to know, ‘Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will show you a spacious second-story room, swept and ready. Prepare the meal there.”

13 They left, found everything just as he told them, and prepared the Passover meal.

John 13
Washing His Disciples’ Feet
1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.

3-6 Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”

7 Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”

8 Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”

Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”

9 “Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!”

Luke 22
14-16 When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”

17-18 Taking the cup, he blessed it, then said, “Take this and pass it among you. As for me, I’ll not drink wine again until the kingdom of God arrives.”

19 Taking bread, he blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in my memory.”

20 He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

31-32 “Simon, stay on your toes. Satan has tried his best to separate all of you from me, like chaff from wheat. Simon, I’ve prayed for you in particular that you not give in or give out. When you have come through the time of testing, turn to your companions and give them a fresh start.”

33 Peter said, “Master, I’m ready for anything with you. I’d go to jail for you. I’d die for you!”

34 Jesus said, “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, Peter, but before the rooster crows you will have three times denied that you know me.”

A Dark Night
39-40 Leaving there, he went, as he so often did, to Mount Olives. The disciples followed him. When they arrived at the place, he said, “Pray that you don’t give in to temptation.”

41-44 He pulled away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, “Father, remove this cup from me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” At once an angel from heaven was at his side, strengthening him. He prayed on all the harder. Sweat, wrung from him like drops of blood, poured off his face.

45-46 He got up from prayer, went back to the disciples and found them asleep, drugged by grief. He said, “What business do you have sleeping? Get up. Pray so you won’t give in to temptation.”

47-48 No sooner were the words out of his mouth than a crowd showed up, Judas, the one from the Twelve, in the lead. He came right up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, “Judas, you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49-50 When those with him saw what was happening, they said, “Master, shall we fight?” One of them took a swing at the Chief Priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.

51 Jesus said, “Let them be. Even in this.” Then, touching the servant’s ear, he healed him.

A Rooster Crowed
54-56 Arresting Jesus, they marched him off and took him into the house of the Chief Priest. Peter followed, but at a safe distance. In the middle of the courtyard some people had started a fire and were sitting around it, trying to keep warm. One of the serving maids sitting at the fire noticed him, then took a second look and said, “This man was with him!”

57 He denied it, “Woman, I don’t even know him.”

58 A short time later, someone else noticed him and said, “You’re one of them.”

But Peter denied it: “Man, I am not.”

59 About an hour later, someone else spoke up, really adamant: “He’s got to have been with him! He’s got ‘Galilean’ written all over him.”

60-62 Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” At that very moment, the last word hardly off his lips, a rooster crowed. Just then, the Master turned and looked at Peter. Peter remembered what the Master had said to him: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” He went out and cried and cried and cried.

Mark 15
Standing Before Pilate
1 At dawn’s first light, the high priests, with the religious leaders and scholars, arranged a conference with the entire Jewish Council. After tying Jesus securely, they took him out and presented him to Pilate.

2-3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the ‘King of the Jews’?”
He answered, “If you say so.” The high priests let loose a barrage of accusations.

4-5 Pilate asked again, “Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.

Luke 23
4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”

5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”

13-16 Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge.  It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

18-20 At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again.

21 But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!”

22 He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”

23-25 But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down.

Matthew 27
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.”

25 The crowd answered, “We’ll take the blame, we and our children after us.”

26 Then he pardoned Barabbas. But he had Jesus whipped, and then handed over for crucifixion.

Mark 15
16-20 The soldiers took Jesus into the palace (called Praetorium) and called together the entire brigade. They dressed him up in purple and put a crown plaited from a thornbush on his head. Then they began their mockery: “Bravo, King of the Jews!” They banged on his head with a club, spit on him, and knelt down in mock worship. After they had had their fun, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they marched out to nail him to the cross.

The Crucifixion
21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.

22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.

25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the King of the Jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”

Luke 23
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Mark 15
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”

37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”

Luke 23
50-54 There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.

Mark 16
The Resurrection
1-3 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?”

4-5 Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man (angel) sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.

6-7 He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”

Luke 24
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.

John 20
19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Luke 24
50-51He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.

52-53 And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.

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Filed under Agape Love, Angels, Christianity, Easter, Game, Games that Teach, Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, Love, Object Lesson, Resurrection, Simon-Peter, Spiritual Warfare, Thomas, unconditional love

Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice


Time

20-25 minutes

Description

This object lesson teaches about the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross and helps children to recognize that He did it for all of us – even those of us who choose not to accept His gift. (It’s called “Mr. Bobby’s Sacrifice in honor of the big man with a bigger heart who always volunteers for this strenuous activity.)

This activity works best with a larger group of kids. However, if you have a small group, try having each child make several trips up to put their rocks in the bucket. Only on the last trip can they get the incentive.

Materials

  • Two buckets with strong handles
  • A place where children can pick up at least two rocks each
  • Some type of incentive for the children (I’ve used individually wrapped packages of fruit snacks and candy before.) If you can get something that most of the kids will like but that a few will not, you will have more success with the activity. (In this case, be sure to have another incentive hidden that these children can choose at the end of the activity.)
  • Two signs that say, “SIN.”
  • Tape

Preparation

· Find a strong volunteer, and explain the object lesson to him.

· Put your incentives in a place where they will be easily seen by the children and where they have easy access to them.

· Put tape of your “SIN” signs, and lay them close to the teaching area

· Ask the children to each grab at least two rocks for a special activity in class. They can grab more than two rocks if they want, but they must have at least two. Rocks can be the size of a small egg or larger.

· Practice the script.

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

· “Hey, everyone! Did each of you grab at least two rocks before you came in here?” (Have the children hold them up so that you can see them.)

· “Fantastic! Hey, I’ve got great news! Mr. (supply the name of your volunteer) wants to buy everyone some (supply the name of your incentive)!”

· “How many of you want some (incentive)?”

· “Okay, Mr. (volunteer) is going to earn those for you by showing us how strong he is.”

· “Everyone who wants (incentive) has to line up with your rocks right here.”

· “When I tell you to, you will trade your rocks for the (incentive) by putting at least one in each of Mr. (volunteer’s) buckets.”

· “He will earn the incentive for you by carrying your rocks.”

· “Isn’t Mr. (volunteer) great!” (Encourage enthusiastic responses.)

· (Have Mr. (volunteer) stand at the front of the room with a bucket in each hand. As well as he is able, he should stretch his arms wide like Jesus on the cross. It’s important for the kids to be able to tell that this is challenging and painful to the volunteer. Have the children line up with their rocks.)

· (Ask the first child.) “Do you want a (incentive)? Okay, then divide all your rocks between the two buckets.”

· (After the child puts his/her rocks into the two buckets, allow him/her to get the incentive and then return to his/her seat. Keep working your way through the children, occasionally pointing out your volunteer’s straining or facial expressions.)

· (If a child says, “no” to the incentive, he or she should lay his or her rocks down on the floor and return to his/her seat. Your volunteer should then set down the buckets, pick up the rocks and divide them between the two buckets. Then, he should resume his former position. This typically doesn’t happen until later in the object lesson, and it usually requires some prodding to get the first child to lay down his/her rocks.)

· “Did you notice that he still picked up the rocks? You see, Mr. (volunteer) already agreed to pay for everyone. Even if you don’t want your (incentive), he will still pay for it for you.”

· (Continue having children put their rocks in and take their incentives. If you get three-fourths of the way through the children without one of them laying down his or her rocks, you will need to do some prodding using the following script.)

o “Wow! Mr. (volunteer) is really sweating! It looks like a real struggle holding up those buckets?”

o “How do you feel about that?”

o “Mr. (volunteer), how are you feeling?” (Have him be honest about the pain and struggle.)

o “If it’s that difficult, why are you doing it?” (Have him share about his love for the children.)

o (Back to the children) “Is it okay with you that he is having to work so hard for you to you’re your (incentive)?”

o “Do you think it is fair that he is having to go through so much pain?”

o “Are you sure, you want to put your rocks into his buckets”

· (After all have made (or not made) the trade, allow your volunteer to put the buckets down.)

· “Kids we did this activity to give you a picture of how much Jesus loves you. Just like Mr. (volunteer) loves you enough to pay for your (incentive), Jesus loves you enough to pay for you to join Him in heaven.”

· “The rocks you brought today represent your sin, the bad things you’ve done.” (Label both buckets with the “Sin” signs.)

· “You may have noticed that some of you brought small “sins,” and some of you brought big “sins.” Some of you brought just two “sins,” and some of you brought several handfuls!”

· “When we go before God, some of us will just have a few sins compared to the others. And our sins might not seem that bad compared to theirs, but to God, sin is sin – no matter how small and no matter how few.”

· “The Bible says that the payment, the punishment for sin is death. It’s what we owe to pay for our sins.” (Romans 6:23)

· “Unfortunately, none of us can pay for our sins. We owe too much.”

· “The only One who could pay was someone who didn’t owe anything of his own.”

· “And the only Person who has ever lived and not sinned is Jesus. He’s the only One who could pay what we owed for our sin.”

· “Just like Mr. (volunteer) spread his arms to pay for your (incentive), Jesus spread His arms on the cross to pay for your sins and mine.”

· “But do you remember that not everyone wanted their (incentive), but Mr. (volunteer) paid for them anyway?”

· “You see, Jesus paid for everyone’s sins – even those of us who don’t want to believe in Him.”

· “And isn’t that a shame? To leave something that is already paid for on the table?”

· “Shouldn’t we enjoy it if Jesus went to so much trouble to get it for us?”

· “Jesus paid for it! He didn’t just die for a few. He died for ALL of us!”

· “But Jesus loves us so much that He won’t force us to take what He bought for us. He still lets us choose.”

· “You have to want it and accept it, but you don’t have to do anything to earn it.”

· “If you want what Jesus has bought for you on the cross… if you want life with Him forever in heaven, all you have to do is tell him in your prayers.”

· “Tell Him that you want what He bought. Tell Him you want to follow Him and to go to heaven.”

· “And then, tell all of us so that we can celebrate with you!”

· “I know that some of you who didn’t take your (incentive) did it out of your love for Mr. (volunteer).”

· “If you are one of those people, Mr. (volunteer) wants to see you after we finish.” (Have your volunteer tell these children how much he appreciates the sacrifice they made for him and that they really helped with the lesson. Then, he can give them the choice of taking the incentive – no rocks this time.)

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