In two Wednesday evening bible classes I taught a group of children about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus.
The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important story a child will ever hear because it is the core of the Gospel. If it was not for the sacrificial death of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead none of us could receive forgiveness of sins and a relationship with God. (see I Corinthians 15:1-5)
To help the children experience this story I chose a craft as an activity. If a teacher chooses an appropriate and meaningful craft then the time spent making it can be used the time to “chat” or talk about what the bible says happened.
The children were given paper plates, paper and toilet tissue to make their own tomb, body and stone to re-enact the story.
We cut a paper plate in half and cut out a “door” on one of the halves. We painted one side of the plate black and the other grey to resemble the stone tomb. Then we used staples to attach the edges together (see photo above).
As we made the tombs we talked about how Joseph of Arimathea arranged for the burial (John 19:38-42)
We cut a simple outline of a body from cardboard. Then we wrapped the body with a couple of layers of toilet paper. After this first layer of toilet paper we then sprayed it lightly with water to dampen it. (I supplied a spray bottle filled with water to make this easy) Then we added a second layer of toilet paper and sprayed it. To add a scent like the spices we dapped on a little perfume. We repeated this with a few layers until the damp (but not soggy) shape resembled a linen-wrapped body. When this dried all of toilet paper remained stuck together.
Again, we continued the discussion (from the Scripture above) about burial customs and how they wrapped bodies in linen and placed spices in between the cloths.
This was simple to make by crumpling up paper into a ball.
As we made the stones we talked about how this big stone was put in place and guards placed over it (see Matthew 27:57-66)
At this point each child placed their tomb on a table and put the body inside. Each carefully rolled the stone in place. Because everything was still a bit damp we decided to leave them in the classroom until the next week.
Just before class the next week I went into the room and removed the “body” from each tomb and put it away. Then I waited. Just as I predicted, one by one the children arrived and went straight to the tomb they had created and moved the stone to look inside. Each one found the tomb empty. One child said, “Oh, no! Who took my Jesus?”
Of course I told returned the bodies I had hidden but their reaction to an empty tomb was the perfect way to begin the class and talk about the resurrection. The children got to experience the same emotions as the soldiers, the women and the apostles as they each found the tomb empty. Mary Magdelene used almost the same words (verse 13) as the children when she said, “They have taken my Lord away…and I don’t know where they have put him.” (John 20:1-18).
This was a great class!
Note: You could teach this story in one lesson but you will need to distract the children while a helper removes the bodies from the tombs.