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!

The Story of the Cross

Final

A great way to give meaning to the story Jesus is Crucified and to explain the story of the  Burial and Resurrection is to tell them using a single sheet of paper.

Notebook paper or typing paper is fine.  You will be tearing layers of paper so I would suggest light or thin paper instead of something thick.  It won’t matter if the paper is already written on so you could even use a page out of a magazine or newspaper.

Note: I can’t claim this idea as an original.  I have seen it used in many ways and sourced from many different places so I’m not sure what the original source is.  I’ve written my own story words and took my own photos but I used some of the ideas for folding instructions from http://maryricehopkins.com.

Photo Instructions:

Printable Instructions in PDF

Words you could use to tell The Story of the Cross

Do you know about Jesus and the story of the cross?  A cross has special meaning for Christians because it reminds of something very sad and something amazing all at the same time.  And the story of the cross is about you and me and every single person in the world.

First for the SAD part:  (Say this part as you fold the paper)

Jesus always did good.  He taught people how to love God.  He made sick people well.  He even did miracles like changing water to wine and turning a small amount of fish and bread into enough food to feed over 5,000 people.

Jesus never sinned (did bad things).  It doesn’t make sense that a good person like Jesus would be punished as if he was a bad person.  But that is exactly what happened.  Even though he had never done anything wrong he was punished.  His punishment was to be put on a cross and to stay there until he died.  It was a very sad day when Jesus died.

After he died Jesus was taken down off the cross.  His body was wrapped in cloths and buried in a tomb.

“Death” is the sad part of the story of the cross.  (Unfold the cross as you say this)

Now for the AMAZING part:

On the third day after Jesus died some women went to go visit the tomb where he had been buried.  But Jesus’ body was not inside the tomb.  The cloths were there but Jesus’ body was gone.

There were an angel nearby and he told the women that Jesus was not in the tomb because he was now ALIVE!  The women could hardly believe it.  But then, Jesus appeared to them and even talked to them.  Jesus died and then came back to life again.

“Life” is the amazing part of the story of the cross. (Form the word “life” as you say this)

Now for the part about YOU and ME: (Just say this last part)

After Jesus rose from the dead he spent forty days with many of his friends and others.  Then, he did not die but went straight up to heaven instead.

The good news is that Jesus died on the cross for you and for me and everyone in the world.  He loves us and does not want us to have to be punished for our sins.  Dying on the cross and coming back to life showed that Jesus has power over death.  He has the power to save us from death, too.

Jesus will live forever and he wants everyone to live forever with him.  Anyone who follows Jesus will live forever with him.  Do you want to follow Jesus?

The story of the cross reminds us that “Jesus loves you and me”.

Scriptures for the Teacher to Study: