The Easter Story for Children
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“Jesus on Palm Sunday”
Jesus Christ is Coming to Town...Riding on a Donkey!
It’s that time...almost Easter! The final countdown...Holy Week is a joyous and also a contemplative time in our church year.
Jesus came to save people who were needy and hurting. There were many people who recognized that He was special, and wanted Him to save them. Others did not understand
who Jesus was, and wanted to hurt Him.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
Let's talk about what is happening here....
Right before this, Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead. He brought a dead guy back to life, so it certainly makes sense that people would crowd around to see what He might do next!
They wanted to make Jesus a king, to have Him save them from political oppression. They
waved palm branches to welcome Him into town and celebrate Him. It was sort of like
waving pom-poms at a game or rally. The word “Hosanna” means “Save us.” The people wanted Jesus to save them and be their king. Well, He already was their king, but not exactly in the ways they expected...
Can you think of some ways that Jesus did not always do what was expected of Him?
And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
“ your king is coming, sitting on a donkey's colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.
Okay, so what’s the big deal with riding a baby donkey? Well, a couple of significant things were taking place here. For one thing, riding a donkey was an indication of peace. Jesus was not storming in on a grand war-horse, ready to swoop in and raise riots. He was coming gently, indicating that His kingdom was one of peace.
He was also fulfilling a prophecy. Do you know what a prophecy is or what it means? People
long before Jesus lived spoke things about what was going to happen. One of those prophets had spoken about this:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The disciples didn’t quite put the pieces together at the time, but later they realised that Jesus was exactly carrying out the words of that prophet.
To watch the story...
Holy Monday -
A People’s Fruitless Faith
Following His arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus spent Sunday night in Bethany, the village at the foot of Mount Olives (Matthew 21:7). Whether He spent the night in a house in town or in the open air is uncertain. As Jesus returned on Monday to Jerusalem, He noticed a fig tree that had produced leaves ahead of the season. Jesus knew that fig trees bear fruit twice a year -- in June and September. This was April, so even the unripened fruit should have still remained for Him to eat. But since the fig tree bore leaves, He expected to find figs, yet it was fruitless. Jesus cursed the tree and it withered the next day.
The disciples were surprised to see the tree wither so rapidly. Just as Jesus had cursed the fig tree, He would judge a generation that rejected Him.
Holy Monday – A Temple Cleansed
Another event of Holy Monday is the Temple cleaning. People believe that on the Monday of Holy Week, Jesus freed the animals being sold and killed. The freeing of the many sheep and oxen has been compared to the slaves being set free.
The thirty-minute journey from Bethany to Jerusalem provided Jesus the time to reflect on how the city had changed. In the past two years, some had forgotten whose house the Temple was. Money and greed had altered the character of the Temple. Currency (temple money), used to purchase sacrifices, was often stolen. Jesus chose to clean out the Temple one last time. In righteous indignation, “He who comes in the name of the Lord,” overturned the money changers’ tables and benches in the outer court of the Gentiles (Matthew 21:9; 12–13).
Having heard the commotion, the courtyard was in chaos. Yet those who had needs did not hesitate, nor did the children. First, the blind and lame came when they heard Jesus was in the Temple. As the children saw Jesus standing there and teaching, they began to shout again, “Hosanna, Hosanna, to the Son of David.” There was nothing the Pharisees could do to stop Jesus as the Messiah.
On Tuesday, Jesus Goes to the Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives overlooks Jerusalem. Why don’t you copy and colour this picture?
On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus spoke to his companions about the importance of faith.
Back at the Temple, religious leaders were upset at Jesus.
They organized an ambush with the intent to place him under arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps.
Later that afternoon, Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which sits due east of the Temple and overlooks Jerusalem. Here Jesus spoke to the disciples about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age.
Can you name all the Disciples?
He speaks, as usual, in parables, using symbolic language about the end times events, including His Second Coming and the final judgment.
What other Parables do we know?
After a tiring day of confrontation and warnings about the future, once again, Jesus and the disciples returned to Bethany to stay the night.
Why don’t you make a set of Jesus with the Disciples
as they go around Jerusalem?
also called Spy Wednesday.
On Spy Wednesday, Christians remember that Jesus was betrayed by Judas, a clandestine spy among the disciples.
Then one of the Twelve - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So, they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Watch this version of how Judas betrays Jesus
(watch the first 4mins. 30 secs. Then watch the rest tomorrow)
The building blocks of friendship are based on sharing the deepest parts of yourself and believing that they will be held sacred… If you don’t have trust in your friend, you don’t have friendship.
Can you think of other stories where people were let down by their closest friends?
On Holy Wednesday many Churches hold a Tenebrae service. Tanebrae is Latin for "shadows". This service held during the three days before Easter allows people to gradually extinguish candles, while hearing a "loud noise". The service also takes place in total darkness.
The purpose of the Tenebrae service is to recreate the emotional aspects of the passion story, so this is not supposed to be a happy service, because the occasion is not happy.
Around this time, during a meal, we also hear the story where Mary anointed the feet of Jesus with costly oil.
What do you think about Mary using the expensive perfumed oil to anoint the feet of Jesus?
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter.
There many important things happen on the Thursday before Easter but today we will be thinking of three of them. Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The name ‘Maundy Thursday’ is derived from the Latin word mandatum meaning “commandment.” The primary commandment of Jesus' message is found in the story of the Last Supper when Jesus humbles himself to wash the feet of his apostles prior to the traditional Passover meal.
Question: "What was the significance of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples?"
Answer: Jesus washing the feet of the disciples occurred in the upper room during the Last Supper and is important in three ways. For Jesus, it was the display of being human and acting as a servant.
Walking in sandals on the filthy roads of Israel in the first century made it important that feet be washed before a communal meal, especially since people reclined at a low table and feet were very much in evidence. When Jesus rose from the table and began to wash the feet of the disciples, He was doing the work of the lowliest of servants. The disciples must have been stunned at this act, that Christ, their Lord and master, should wash the feet of His disciples, when it was their proper work to have washed His. But when Jesus came to earth the first time, He came not as King and Conqueror, but a s a suffering Servant. As He revealed He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The humility expressed by His act with towel and basin foreshadowed His ultimate act of humility and love on the cross.
Jesus’ attitude of servant-hood was in direct contrast to that of the disciples, who had recently been arguing among themselves as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). Since there was no servant present to wash their feet, it would never have occurred to them to wash one another’s feet. When the Lord Himself stooped to this lowly task, they were stunned into silence. To his credit, though, Peter was profoundly uncomfortable with the Lord washing his feet, and, never being at a loss for words, Peter protested, “You shall never wash my feet!”
Further, when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He told them (and us), “I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” . As His followers, we are to copy Him, serving one another in lowliness of heart and mind, seeking to build one another up in humility and love.
You could colour in the picture of Jesus washing feet, or make some feet and place them in a bowl…
The Last Supper
In the New Testament, Passover and Easter are tied together. Jesus enters Jerusalem and gathers his disciples to celebrate the Passover meal, now known to Christians as the Last Supper.
The Last Supper is more than just the last meal that Jesus had with His disciples. It is a demonstration to help us remember Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice to this day!
During the last supper Jesus explains how the bread and drink are symbolic of His body and blood. Jesus said to His disciples, “Remember me when you eat this.” This is where our Eucharist comes from.
This story shows that Jesus chose to be with His disciples before He was crucified. We learn the importance of being together.
The story teaches us that Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught everybody about God’s Kingdom. Consequently, we are inspired to be kind, merciful, and benevolent, just as Jesus was.
We learn that religious leaders did not like Jesus’ teachings and were jealous of Him even though He served the community.
Jesus will never turn His back on us. He has, and always will be, faithful to His children.
Jesus was already aware of Judas’ betrayal. This teaches us that ours is an all-knowing God.
Jesus did not stop Judas from going against Him. Jesus had completely submitted to God’s will.
Watch this and try to imagine what the disciples must have felt like?
After supper Jesus and the Disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus and the apostles walked through the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. It was after midnight, and the moon was full. When they arrived at the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus said to them: “Stay here and keep on the watch.” Then Jesus went a little way into the garden and fell on his knees. In great distress, he prayed to Jehovah: “Let your will take place.” Then Jehovah sent an angel to encourage Jesus. When Jesus went back to the apostles, he found three of them sleeping. He said: “Wake up! This is not the time to be sleeping! The hour has come for me to be given into the hands of my enemies”.
Soon Judas arrived, leading a large mob armed with swords and clubs. He knew where to find Jesus because they had often come to this garden. Judas had told the soldiers that he would identify Jesus for them. He went right up to Jesus and said: “Greetings, Teacher,” and then he kissed him. Jesus said: “Judas, are you betraying me with a kiss?”
Jesus stepped forward and asked the mob: “Whom are you looking for?” They said: “Jesus the Nazarene.” Then he answered: “I am he,” and the men drew back and fell to the ground. Again, Jesus asked the mob: “Whom are you looking for?” Again, they said: “Jesus the Nazarene.” Jesus answered: “I told you that I am he. Let these men go.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqlaETBe9qU watch this short film.
When Peter realized what was happening, he pulled out a sword and cut off the ear of Malchus, a slave of the high priest. But Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him. Then he said to Peter: “Put your sword away. If you fight with a sword, you will die by a sword.” The soldiers seized Jesus and tied his hands, and the apostles ran away. Then the mob took him to Annas, the chief priest. Annas interrogated Jesus and sent him to the house of High Priest Caiaphas
Jesus Dies on the Cross
by Sharla Guenther
Very early in the morning, the soldiers brought Jesus to Pilate, the governor at the time. Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
Jesus replied, "Yes, I am."
This upset the chief priests because they were jealous of him and the Jewish friends He had made.
Pilate listened to the complaints of the people that brought Jesus, but he couldn't find any reason to punish Him. Pilate questioned Jesus, but Jesus didn't stick up for himself (He knew that they wouldn't listen anyway). He had done nothing wrong.
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. He said to them, "I have talked to Jesus, and I find no reason to kill Him."
After they heard that, all the people shouted, "We want Jesus! Release Barabbas instead!" Barabbas had been in jail because he had killed someone, and the people wanted him to be free, and Jesus to be punished. (It sounds strange but it was like peer pressure. The chief priests went around telling people lies about Jesus, so that they would be afraid of Him, and would want to kill Him).
Pilate didn't like this one bit. He wanted to let Jesus go, so he tried to talk to the people but they didn't let him. They just kept shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
Pilate tried again, yelling, "What has Jesus done wrong? I can punish Him but then I must let Him go, He doesn't deserve to die!" But the people just shouted louder to crucify Jesus and Pilate wanted to please the crowd so he freed Barabbas and sent Jesus to die.
The soldiers led Jesus into the palace and made Him put on an old royal robe and they twisted together a crown of thorns to put on His head. Then they made fun of Him and said, "Hail, king of the Jews." They didn't understand that He was a king; that's why they made fun of Him.
Next, the soldiers led Jesus toward a hill called Golgotha. They made Him carry the cross on His back, but because Jesus couldn't carry it the whole way, He fell down. The soldiers had whipped His back and it hurt so much that Jesus couldn't handle the weight of the cross on His shoulders.
A man named Simon happened to be near Jesus when He fell, and the soldiers grabbed him, and made him carry the cross the rest of the way. The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh. This was supposed to help make it less painful, but Jesus refused to have any.
When they reached the top of the hill, they nailed Jesus to the cross. There were three crosses: Jesus was in the middle, there was a criminal on His right, and on His left. Pilate made a sign to be put on the cross. It read what He was being punished for: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.
The soldiers watched Jesus and made fun of Him; they even divided up His clothes to be even more mean. Some people walked by and shouted, "You saved others, why can't you save Yourself?" Jesus could have saved himself, but he chose not to. He wanted to save us instead.
Jesus ignored the people, but He did see His mother, His aunt, and some other women He knew. Jesus felt bad for His mother, she was so sad to see her son die (just like your parents feel when you get hurt).
Then Jesus saw one of His disciples close to His mother, and He said, "Mother here is your son, and friend here is your mother." Jesus couldn't say too much for he was very weak. But He wanted His friend, the disciple, to be like a son to His mother and take care of her. And from that day on, the disciple did.
Later, Jesus could not handle the pain any longer and He said, "It is finished." That is when Jesus bowed His head and went to Heaven.
Suddenly, a huge curtain that hung at the temple was torn in half, from top to bottom. And a man that had wanted Jesus to die saw all of this and he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
He realized he had been wrong about Jesus.
It seems like a really sad story, but its one of the greatest stories of all! Jesus died knowing that you would do things wrong -- things that you're not supposed to like not obeying your parents, saying something mean to your sister or brother, or not telling the truth. He knew what you would do when He died so many years ago. Jesus died for everybody's sins, so now when we ask God to forgive us, and we are truly sorry for what we've done, He will act like it never happened. That's right He forgets what we did! Now that doesn't mean we should ever make the same mistake again, because by doing that it's like we're hurting Jesus all over again.
So, next time you do something you're not supposed to, remember to say sorry to Jesus, and remember what He did for you!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NIV)
The way of the cross
Watch this clip to find out more about the way of the cross
Can you find where each station of the cross is in the Bible?
You can read the lessons together as a family:
1. Jesus is condemned to death. Jesus was accused of many crimes he didn’t commit. He didn’t defend himself. He knew he needed to die for our sins.
Prayer: Jesus, I often get defensive when I know I did something wrong. Help me be honest. I also don’t want to be a tattletale or accuse others of doing wrong.
2. Jesus accepts the cross. The cross was big and heavy. It was hard for Jesus to carry it. Jesus carried the heavy cross without complaining once.
Prayer: Sometimes schoolwork or jobs at home are hard for me and I complain. Jesus, please help me not to complain. I want to keep trying, even when I find something hard.
3. Jesus falls the first time. Jesus was already badly wounded when he fell the first time. It must have hurt very much. Jesus got up and kept on going.
Prayer: When we don’t succeed in school or when we lose a sports game, it can make us feel defeated. Jesus was hurt but never defeated. Jesus, I want your attitude of hope and victory even if I am not succeeding.
4. Jesus meets his mother. Jesus knew that his mother was sad to see him suffering so much. But he was so happy she came to him. Mary loved Jesus very much.
Prayer: Our parents love us very much, and sometimes we don’t let them hug us and care for us because we are mad or sad or don’t want them to see us in trouble. Jesus, I thank you for my parents and their love for me.
5. Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus. Simon didn’t come to help Jesus but to see what was going on. Then he was ordered by the soldiers to carry the cross, because Jesus was having such a hard time.
Prayer: Sometimes I don’t want to help my friends or brothers and sisters or parents when I am told to. Jesus, help me know that when I do help others, it is like helping you. I want to be kind and helpful.
6. Veronica wipes Jesus’ face. Veronica loved Jesus very much. When she stepped out to wipe his face, she risked getting in big trouble from the soldiers. Her love and kindness overcame her fear.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to love you like Veronica. Help me to be brave and love others who are unpopular.
7. Jesus falls a second time. Jesus fell again because he was so weak and tired from all his wounds. He still didn’t give up. He got back up and continued on.
Prayer: Think of something that makes you feel weak, something that is hard for you to do. Ask Jesus to help you with this.
8. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem. A lot of people were against Jesus, but a lot of people followed him. They were his faithful friends.
Prayer: Help me to be a faithful friend. When my friends are going through a hard time or are being made fun of, I want to help them and be a true friend.
9. Jesus falls a third time. It’s unbelievable that Jesus fell again and the soldiers didn’t help him. They only yelled louder for him to get up and continue on. Jesus didn’t get mad at them; he forgave them.
Prayer: Sometimes people say or do hurtful things to us or don’t help us when we need them. Jesus, help me to forgive everyone like you did. Help me not to get angry or hold a grudge against someone who has hurt me.
10. Jesus is stripped of his clothes. To be without clothes in front of everyone is a humiliating thing. Jesus wasn’t ashamed because he knew his Father in heaven loved him and everyone who was there.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to know how much you and the Father love me, so I will never be embarrassed or ashamed.
11. Jesus is crucified. The soldiers drove nails through Jesus’ hands and feet. They lifted up the cross and put it in place. Jesus was in a lot of pain.
Prayer: Many people suffer pain every day from being sick, hungry, poor, and because of war or natural disasters. Jesus, please comfort everyone who is in pain today.
12. Jesus dies on the cross. When Jesus died, the sky got dark and the ground started to shake. This made some people very scared. They saw that Jesus was innocent and that they had made a big mistake.
Prayer: Jesus, help me to admit when I make mistakes. Help me to say I’m sorry. Thank you for always forgiving me. I love you, and I want to do the right thing.
13. Jesus’ body is taken down from the cross. Joseph of Arimathea gave Jesus his own burial cave because Jesus didn’t have a place to be buried. Joseph was another one of Jesus’ friends who took a risk to help him.
Prayer: Sometimes it is risky to step out and help people who are in need. Jesus, I want to be a risk-taker and help others. Give me love and courage.
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb. Even when things look very difficult and sad, there is always hope that God can bring new life.
Prayer: Jesus, I believe that you died and rose from the dead so that I could have new life. Thank you!
The Easter Story for Children
The Burial of Jesus took place late on Friday as Saturday was the Holy day of the Jewish people.
Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
After the burial of Jesus on the Friday afternoon came the day of Holy Saturday which commemorates the day that Jesus Christ lay in the tomb after his death.
The Easter Story for Children
Jesus Christ is Risen today
What happened on Easter Sunday?
Happy Easter! While many will spend this weekend scoffing chocolate eggs and hunting for the Easter bunny, millions will be celebrating Jesus coming back from the dead. For Christians around the world, Easter is one of the most important dates in their religious calendar. And Easter Sunday is the day when Jesus emerged from his tomb after his crucifixion, proving there is life beyond death.
Easter Sunday – also known as Resurrection Sunday – is a happy day for Christians, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and that this resurrection symbolises that death is not the end. The week previous to this is known as the Holy Week, and it contains Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. Jesus’s resurrection was on the third day after his crucifixion by the Romans.
This was discovered on the Sunday after his death, when Mary Magdalene visited his tomb and found that not only had the stone been moved, but that the body of Jesus had gone. Jesus was seen later that day by Mary, and other disciples and for 40 days by many others.
The actual word ‘Easter’ does not appear in the Bible, and there aren’t any early church celebrations mentioned. It appears that Easter, like Christmas, developed later in church history.
How is Easter celebrated?
Easter egg hunts take place and many Christians will go to church for a special Easter sermon.
Many Christians and non-Christians exchange Easter eggs, and a lamb roast is common on Easter Sunday. Oh yes, and of course there’s the egg hunt.
What’s the deal with Easter Eggs? Many of us are familiar with the chocolate aspect of Easter. Eggs symbolise new life, as Jesus began his new life after his resurrection on Easter Sunday, and cracked eggs are symbolic of an empty tomb.