The One About the Cross

“Teacher, when you tell stories, do you think sometimes you could tell me the one about the cross. I keep wondering what that cross is about.” I will never forget that question from a little boy who attended church and my Bible class for the first time.

This little boy had loved the Bible story and learning activities that day. He told his parents and me that he wanted to come back every Sunday (and he did). What he experienced that day with us was extremely important in his faith journey but it was clear that we were not the beginning of his journey. God had been planting seeds in his heart all along the way. Seeds were planted every time this young man passed a church building with a cross on it. Seeds were planted when he would see jewelry and billboards and bibles with crosses on the front.

Seeds are planted at Easter time. Children see the crosses people are putting up on signs and in decorations. The words “Christ”, “Christian”, “Jesus”,”resurrection” and phrases like “He is risen” are uttered by many people whether they understand deeper truths or not. Many children (and adults) wonder, “What does it mean?”

Any day is a good day to share the story of Jesus but Easter time creates a perfect opportunity to answer the questions children are wondering about.

Resources for Telling the Story of Jesus

The One About the Cross

And yes, I shared the story of the cross with that little boy that first day. It was a condensed version but I wanted to make sure he knew that this was one of the most important questions anyone could ever ask.

I told him that God created the whole world and he wanted everyone to be happy and love him. Sadly, people made bad choices and that has made lots of bad things happen in this world. Sometimes people even die. God was very sad that people had caused the earth to be so bad. Even though many people did not follow him he still loved them. So God sent his son, Jesus, from heaven to earth to show everyone how to obey God and make good choices.

But many people did not believe Jesus and got so angry that they made him die on a cross.

But guess what!? He was dead but after 3 days Jesus came alive again! Jesus showed that he is stronger than death and stronger than any bad thing that can ever happen.

Soon after he came back to life, the time came for Jesus to go to heaven to live with his Father again in heaven. Before Jesus left he told his followers to be sure and tell other people the good news. The good news is that “Jesus died but he came alive again!” God says that Jesus dying on the cross means that people can change from being bad to being good. People who follow Jesus do not have to be afraid of dying. If you follow Jesus then you will also come alive again to live in heaven someday!”

And THAT is the one about the cross!

25 Ways to Teach Children About the Resurrection of Jesus

Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday.  Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV

  1. Learn about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus so you will understand the story and feel comfortable sharing it with a child.
  2. Gather your family together for quality time  and learn about the Burial and Resurrection in this Family Bible Time lesson
  3. Download and view a slideshow and pictures from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-alive/
  4. Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection.  Search for songs on YouTube:
    • Low in the Grave He Lay
    • Christ the Lord is Risen Today
    • Rabboni!
    • He Lives
    • Lord I Lift Your Name on High
  5. Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
  6. Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb.  Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
  7. Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
  8. Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones.  Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them.  As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words.  Here are some words you might use:
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Resurrection
    • Cross
    • Tomb
    • Forgiveness
  9. After telling about the Resurrection guide a child in praying thanks to God.
  10. Read a book about Easter.
  11. 9-torn-cross-instructUse these instructions for The Story of the Cross to learn a simple way to tell the story using one sheet of paper.
  12. Responsive Drawing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Drawing Response
  13. Responsive Writing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Writing Response
  14. Ask younger children to draw the story of the resurrection.
  15. Make use of plastic eggs on sale at Easter time.  Use these instructions for “Resurrection Eggs” to re-tell the story of the resurrection.
  16. Burial and Resurrection CraftMake a tomb craft from a paper plate.  Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together.  To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry.  The stone is just crumpled brown paper.  In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside.  During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies.  The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection.  When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing.  I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing.  The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt.  At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
  17. 2015 Verse scramble (2)Write the individual words of Romans 6:9  on a whiteboard or chalkboard.  Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time.  Soon, the children will have it memorised.
  18. Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up.  Children can unscramble the verse  and practice repeating it to memorise it.
  19. Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
  20. Cook bread rolls that share the story of the resurrection: Cooking craft: Short youtube video on how to make Resurrection Rolls to tell the story- from CullensABCs at http://youtu.be/louAYkJPETQ
  21. Make a mobile using these instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/jesus-rose-from-the-dead-moblie.php
  22. Make a miniature garden using instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/garden-with-tomb.php
  23. Make a salt dough tomb using instructions from one of these online resources:
  24.  Try out some of the ideas on the Pinterest Board: Life of Christ (late ministry)
  25. More puzzles and worksheets to print:

This post is an update of one published 22 March 2015.

The header image is the copyright of the http://www.LumoProject.com (Big Book Media) and distributed for free download, under license exclusively by FreeBibleimages for teaching purposes only.  All rights reserved.

Unscrambling that Empty Egg

We often speak of emptiness as a bad thing but sometime “empty” is good.  That is the case of the empty tomb!

Many of us re-tell the resurrection story around Easter time.  I thought I would share my favourite teaching tool for telling the Easter story.   And, yes, it involves plastic eggs.

I did not come up with this teaching idea but I have to say I’ve used it over and over through the years.  Kids love it and teachers find it very easy to use.  I published a blog post about it in 2012 but I think it is worth posting again.

Here’s what you do:
(click here for printable instructions)

  1. Collect 12 plastic eggs and a used egg carton to store them in.
    Note that you don’t have to use plastic eggs if they are not available.  You can use 12 sacks or boxes or just cover the items with 12 cloths or paper.
  2. Use a permanent marker to number the eggs from one to twelve.
  3. Collect representative items (listed below) and put them inside the eggs.  Place the eggs inside the egg carton.
  4. Introduce the story by asking the children how they would feel if they went on an Easter egg hunt and every egg they found was empty.  Lead into the lesson by saying sometimes it is GOOD if an egg is empty.  Sometimes an empty egg is the best egg of all.
  5. Open the egg carton and begin the lesson by opening egg number one.
  6. As you open the eggs one at a time you re-tell the story to the children.  You might let them guess what each of the items might represent.
  7. After you tell the story distribute the eggs to the children and let them take turns re-telling the story.
  8. If you are able and have fewer children then you might help the children make one of these sets each to take home.

Here’s a list of items for inside the eggs:

 

As I said, this idea is not new with me.  I’ve listed some sites I have seen that explain some other variations.

25 Ideas for Teaching Children about the Resurrection of Jesus

Many teachers are making plans to tell the resurrection story on Easter Sunday.  Whether at Easter or any other time here are some ideas that will help you share what is the most important event in the Bible.

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:9, NIV

  1. Learn about the Burial and Resurrection of Jesus so you will understand the story and feel comfortable sharing it with a child.
  2. Gather your family together for quality time  and learn about the Burial and Resurrection in this Family Bible Time lesson
  3. Download and view a slideshow and pictures from http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-alive/
  4. Sing songs together from the church hymnal about the resurrection.  Search for songs on YouTube:
    • Low in the Grave He Lay
    • Christ the Lord is Risen Today
    • Rabboni!
    • He Lives
    • Lord I Lift Your Name on High
  5. Visit a mature older Christian and ask them to share why the Resurrection is important to them.
  6. Black out the windows of your classroom to make it dark like the tomb.  Quietly tell the story of the resurrection by the light of a candle or by torch/flashlight
  7. Place a dark cloth over a small table to form a “tomb”. Ask someone to be the body inside. Place a cardboard rock at the entrance. Let the children see the body inside and then put the stone in place. “The body” crawls out the back and the children remove the stone to see an empty tomb. Young ones love this obvious re-enactment.
  8. Choose words related to the resurrection story and tape them onto stones.  Before class begins hide the stones so that children can hunt for them.  As the children collect the stone discuss the meaning of the words.  Here are some words you might use:
    • Death
    • Burial
    • Resurrection
    • Cross
    • Tomb
    • Forgiveness
  9. After telling about the Resurrection guide a child in praying thanks to God.
  10. Read a book about Easter.
  11. 9-torn-cross-instructUse these instructions for The Story of the Cross to learn a simple way to tell the story using one sheet of paper.
  12. Responsive Drawing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Drawing Response
  13. Responsive Writing:  Guide older children in reading today’s scripture references.  Then have them draw about what they have read.  Use a blank piece of paper or print this worksheet: The Burial and Resurrection of Jesus_Writing Response
  14. Ask younger children to draw the story of the resurrection.
  15. Make use of plastic eggs on sale at Easter time.  Use these instructions for “Resurrection Eggs” to re-tell the story of the resurrection.
  16. Burial and Resurrection CraftMake a tomb craft from a paper plate.  Cut a paper plate in half, paint if desired, and then staple the top rims together.  To make the body of Christ cut a simple body shape from cardboard, wrap with one layer of toilet paper and dampen with water from a spray bottle, repeat layers and let dry.  The stone is just crumpled brown paper.  In one class we had the children each make a tomb and then put the body inside.  During the week I moved the stones and removed the bodies.  The next week we were going to be studying about the resurrection.  When the children arrived that day they immediately went to the tombs they had made and were shocked to find the body missing.  I let them search and conjecture for awhile before leading into the story of how the women came to the tomb to find Jesus’ body missing.  The children could totally relate to how the women must have felt.  At the end of class I returned the “bodies” so that the children could take the craft home and recreate the event for their families.
  17. 2015 Verse scramble (2)Write the individual words of Romans 6:9  on a whiteboard or chalkboard.  Say the verse together. Erase one word or phrase and say the verse again. Say it over and over, eliminating one word or phrase each time.  Soon, the children will have it memorised.
  18. Write the individual words of Romans 6:9 on pieces of paper and then mix them up.  Children can unscramble the verse  and practice repeating it to memorise it.
  19. Print and use a colouring page or puzzle from one of these online resources.
  20. Cook bread rolls that share the story of the resurrection: Cooking craft: Short youtube video on how to make Resurrection Rolls to tell the story- from CullensABCs at http://youtu.be/louAYkJPETQ
  21. Make a mobile using these instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/jesus-rose-from-the-dead-moblie.php
  22. Make a miniature garden using instructions at http://www.sundayschoolcrafts.net/garden-with-tomb.php
  23. Make a salt dough tomb using instructions from one of these online resources:
  24.  Try out some of the ideas on the Pinterest Board: Life of Christ (late ministry)
  25. More puzzles and worksheets to print:

Curiosity that Leads to God

Photo by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/When was the last time you were curious about something?  I mean really curious; the kind of curiosity that compelled you to get off the couch, or out of the office to go and earnestly seek out the answer; the burning desire to “know” that enticed you to look around the corner or walk down the untravelled path.

How energising is that quest!  How thrilling and satisfying is the answer once found!

I never want to deny a child the chance to feel that energy, thrill and satisfaction.  In my rush to GIVE information I must first allow children an opportunity to actually WANT it.

 

An Expectation of Curiosity

God draws children to himself through their curiosity.  I love how he prepares the Israelites leaving Egypt for future questions their children will ask.

In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the Lord our God has commanded you?” tell him: “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Deuteronomy 6:20-21, NIV

Notice he says “when” your son asks you and not “if” your son asks you.  God knows children will be curious.

 

Curiosity Comes from God and Leads to God

God does not want us to feel the satisfaction before we have answers because he is the answer.  Only God can satisfy the curiosity and longing children (and adults) feel.

You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1, NIV

 

Keep Them Guessing

PIC_0061The Bible is filled with interesting and attention-grabbing stories that children can easily relate to.  Before sharing a Bible story I will often share one small part of it as a “teaser”.  Here’s a fun and effective activity to try next time you teach children.  Keep Them Guessing is a simple activity where children are provided with items as clues to guess what comes next.

The photo at the top of the page is by Mikhail Kryshin downloaded via Flickr. Use licensed by Creative Commons: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/