Please note that this post is intended for elementary-aged children and may be completed anytime between now and Friday. It will take us through the Stations of the Cross that we would have set up in our church building. It’s important to know what all happened in the days leading up to Sunday. It’s important to prepare our hearts so we can understand the overwhelming joy of Easter and understand just why it is the greatest day of the year.
Before you start, grab your Bible and turn off all distractions. This time is for your family to spend intentionally with God through prayer and a shared experience of learning about Christ’s path to the crucifixion. We hope that you will use this time to teach your children and answer their questions and we encourage you to engage them in the process.
- Jesus Prays in the Garden (Luke 22:39-46)
- Jesus knew that people were coming to arrest Him and take Him away to the cross. He went to a garden called Gethsemane with his friends, the disciples, to pray. Jesus asked his friends to pray for him too. Jesus went off by Himself and asked God if there was a way for Him to not have to be crucified. But He knew the most important thing wasn’t what He wanted, but what God wanted. Jesus prayed so hard that drops of blood fell from His body onto the ground. When He finished praying, He returned to the disciples – and they were asleep.
- We don’t deserve what Christ did for us on the cross, but He was willing because of His love for us.
- Spend some time thinking about times that you have acted like the disciples. Was there ever a time you should have been paying attention to Jesus and instead you “fell asleep”?
- Jesus Is Betrayed, Arrested, Sentenced (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:43-46, Matthew 27: 22-25)
- One of Jesus’s disciples, Judas, led a group of people to the garden where Jesus was praying. Judas was there to show them who Jesus was so they could arrest Him. The people took Jesus to the Governor, Pontius Pilate, for punishment. Pilate asked the people “What should I do with Jesus? What evil has He done?” The people shouted over and over “Crucify Him!” Pilate saw how angry the people were and that he could not stop them even though he didn’t think Jesus was guilty of anything. He took some water and washed his hands in front of the people, which showed that it was the people’s decision to crucify Jesus and not his.
- We all break our promise to Jesus when we sin (make bad decisions) and disobey Him by choosing our way over God’s way. Think about a time that you made a bad decision and when you are ready, confess your sin (admit your bad decision to God).
- Jesus Is Beaten And Mocked (John 19:1-3)
- Think about how Jesus was whipped. Think about how much it would hurt to wear the crown of thorns. Close your eyes and really think about how much it hurt Jesus to save you. Thank Jesus for taking on so much pain. He didn’t do anything to deserve it. He did it for us, because of all the bad decisions we make every day.
- Simon Of Cyrene Was Forced To Carry Christ’s Cross (Luke 23:26-27)
- Can you imagine what it was like to be this man? Simon literally took and carried the heavy cross that Jesus would be crucified on a few minutes later. What do you think he was thinking about when he was carrying the cross? How do you think he felt?
- Sometimes we talk about “carrying our cross.” When we say this, we mean that we are willing to give up everything to follow Jesus even when it is hard. How will you handle it when it is hard to follow Jesus? Will you be unhappy or will you remember what Jesus did and say “Thank you, God.”
- Jesus Is Crucified (Luke 23: 32-34)
- Jesus was nailed to the cross to take away the sin of the world, to defeat death. What sins do we need to confess (tell God about)? Think about what Jesus went through because of the decisions you make every day.
- Jesus Is Offered Something To Drink (Mark 15:33-36)
- The drink Jesus was given on the cross is called “gall”. It is sour wine mixed with myrrh. [Note: the wise men brought Jesus myrrh as one of the three gifts.] And it tasted really, really bad. If you have vinegar at home, try to just sniff it (or taste if you’re feeling brave). In the olden days, people thought this drink could help get rid of pain. But Jesus was dealing with more than just pain in his body. Thank Jesus for dealing with the pain on the cross.
- Jesus On The Cross
- We sing songs that say Jesus was crucified for us. But do we really know what that means? Crucifixion was not something special just for Jesus. It was a regular punishment for the worst criminals and Jesus got that punishment even though He was not a criminal. We know that was not fair. But do we realize the horrible pain that Jesus went through for us? Because it was a punishment for especially bad criminals, crucifixion was designed to be as mean, slow, and painful as possible. Crucified people did not die from being nailed to the cross. They slowly suffocated to death, in extreme pain.
- Jesus Talks With The Other Men On The Cross (Luke 23: 39-43)
- Jesus was not crucified alone. There was a criminal on each side of Him. One of the criminals kept making fun of Jesus, saying “Aren’t you the son of God? Why don’t you save yourself and us?” But the other criminal believed that Jesus was the son of God. He yelled at the first criminal and said “We’re getting what we deserve for our crimes, but Jesus has done nothing wrong.” Then he asked Jesus to remember him after he died. Jesus replied to him, “Today you will be with me in Heaven.”
- This verse gives us hope. Hope for everyone in the world. What a great promise Jesus gives to the believing criminal! No matter what you have done or where you have been in life, Jesus wants to offer you a new life in Him. We need to repent (turn away from our bad decisions), turn toward God and accept His amazing gift of life forever with Him in heaven.
- Spend some time thinking about how God loves us and forgives us even though we did nothing to deserve it.
9. Christ Is Dead (Mark 15:37-39)
- In the time of Jesus, people worshipped God at a place called the holy temple in a city called Jerusalem. There was a part of the temple called the Holy of Holies. This part of the temple was so special that only once each year, only one man (called the high priest) was allowed to go inside to ask God to forgive His people. The Holy of Holies was divided from the rest of the temple by a curtain. The curtain was very important because it showed the people that they were separated from God by sin.
- At the moment Jesus died, the curtain of the temple tore itself in two pieces, from top to bottom. This is because Jesus’s death forgave us forever and ever. We are no longer separated from God and we don’t have to go to a holy temple in Jerusalem to talk to God. We can talk to Him anywhere and anytime and have a personal relationship with Him.
So let’s remember, Jesus died on the cross for YOU. He did this for you, because of who you are, because of all the decisions you make. Do you live your life to honor this free gift that Jesus gave you? Spend time thinking and talking about how you could live your life to honor God. What changes should you make? How can you show your thanks?
I really hope you made it all the way through. It’s not easy, but it is really important to understand the sacrifice and love Jesus has for us.
Can’t way to see you Sunday and celebrate that He Is Risen! Hallelujah, He Is Risen Indeed!