Easter: An Empty Tomb!

Matthew 27:27 – 28:10

Jesus dying on the cross is difficult to tell children.  But his death and resurrection is the truth and hope of our faith.  Kids need to know that Jesus willingly sacrificed his life for us so our sins can be forgiven.  And also the excitement and joy that he did not stay dead, but rose again so we can have eternal life!

Key Verse

The angel said… “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”

     –  Matthew 28:6a


Lesson

Suggested Props:

Crown of thorns, purple cloth, staff, cross, large nails, sign with “Jesus – King of the Jews” written on it, Cardboard tomb, stone, white cloth.  (All these things will be provided).

Lesson Intro (Something bad for something good)

Ask the children if they have ever had something bad happen that resulted in something good.  It may be something like their family car being hit and damaged, but then they got a brand new car, or when they lost a tooth, but then got a gift from the tooth fairy (and then a new bigger tooth!), or gave your toys away and other kids got a chance to play with them.  Share a personal story of a time something seemed bad and then turned out good.  I think of my friend with cancer, whose treatment made her really sick, but the medicine killed her cancer and now she is free of it and heathy and strong again!  Today we are telling the story of how something really bad happened to Jesus, but how it was necessary so something really great could happen.  Jesus died so we can be free from our sin, and then he rose again so we can have eternal life!  

Bible Story

Tell the story from the Bible. You could use the NLT or NIV for the 6-8s but you’ll probably want to paraphrase or use the Beginners Bible for the 4-5s. Use the props as visual aids as you tell the story, then have the kids act out Jesus being put in the tomb and then the women finding the tomb empty.

Have props in the basket and show them as you tell the story.  Have the cardboard tomb on the side of the room with a leader standing behind it to help Jesus out the hidden trapdoor in the back so the tomb will be empty.   Choose a child to be Jesus, (someone who can be serious and follow direction!), and two soldiers.  Also three girls to be the women, and two boys to be Joseph and Nicodemus.  

It could go something like this:

Have Jesus stand in front with a soldier on either side. Read Matthew 27:27-31. Have the soldiers put the purple cloth on his shoulders, the crown on his head and the staff in his hand.  Then remove them.  At verse 32 hold up the cross, then give Jesus the nails to hold in each hand. At verse 35, hold up the dice, and at verse 37, hang the sign around Jesus neck.  Have him and the guards stand there as you continue to read through vs. 50.  Skip to vs 54 and have one of the soldiers exclaim “surely he was the Son of God!”  Have Jesus lie down.  

Read vs 55 and 56 and have the women come stand to the side.  Read verses 57-61, adding that Nicodemus was also there and helped Joseph, and have Joseph and Nicodemus wrap a white cloth around Jesus and carry him and put him in the cardboard tomb, and roll the stone in front.  Read vs 62-65 and have the guards stand in front of the tomb.   (While this is happening, have the adult volunteer open the trapdoor and have Jesus crawl out the back and stay hidden behind the box.)

Read Chpt 28 vs 1 through 10.  Have the women come to the tomb.  Have the kids sitting, stomp the ground with their hands and feet to make a “earthquake.” Have the adult volunteer act out the angel and roll away the stone and show the tomb empty.  Then have Jesus come from behind the tomb and meet the women.  Make sure you have the women be shocked and excited jumping up and down!  

Application

When Jesus died he took all the sins of everyone in the world with him.  It was bad that he had to suffer and die.  But Jesus did not stay dead!  He came back to life and all our sins were gone.  Something great came from something bad. This is a wonderful thing!  If we believe and accept what Jesus did we can have life forever with him and God!  Thank you Jesus for dying for us!  

Prayer: Thank Jesus for suffering so much and for dying on the cross.  We are sorry for the wrong things we do.  Because of you our sins are forgiven!  Thank you for loving us so much!  We love you!  Amen


Review Questions

  • Why did Jesus have to die?
  • Will everyone go to heaven?  
  • Where is Jesus now?
  • How do we accept Jesus and all he did for us?

Activity

Game: The Stone was Rolled Away

Supplies: Small fist sized rocks.   

How to play: Split the kids up into groups of five or so with one volunteer in each group.  The volunteer starts passing the stone to the right saying the first word of the memory verse. Each child says one word of the verse as they continue to pass the rock.  When someone thinks they can say the whole verse, roll the stone to them and let them try.  keep passing until someone else wants to try, and roll the stone to them.  Once everyone in the group can say the verse, including the volunteer, Yell “THE STONE IS ROLLED AWAY.”  The first group to do this is the winner.


Image Credit: Byzantine Icon, Myrrhbearers.