Monday, June 2, 2014

We Serve a Risen Savior by Martin Wiles

(All material is original to the author with the exception of songs and activities which have been borrowed from various sources. All studies are free for public use.)

We Serve a Risen Savior
Scripture Reference: Matthew 28:5-6
Related Scripture References:  I Corinthians 15:3-9
(Compiled and written by Martin W. Wiles)

Objectives: To teach children that God loved us so much that he sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins. But not only did he die for our sins he was also raised to life three days later proving that God accepted his payment for our sins. To be prepared to lead children to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 

Say: Today we will learn about what Easter truly means. 

Say: (Write the following verse on paper and display it where the children can easily see it.) Let’s say our memory verse together. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.  He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” (Matthew 28:5-6 NLT)

Reflection: Due to the commercialism of Easter, many children (even those of believers) grow up with misconceptions about the meaning of Easter. They may associate it with dying eggs, receiving a basket of colored eggs and chocolate bunnies, egg hunts, parties, and stories of the Easter bunny who may bring them gifts much like Santa Clause. Church may be the only place they hear the true meaning of Easter. The teacher should be careful not to demean the ways children and their families celebrate Easter currently, but they should relate the real significance of the holiday. Before telling the story, ask children the following questions:

How do you celebrate Easter in your home?
How does your church celebrate Easter?
Does the way your church and family celebrate Easter differ? 
Do you think the way you celebrate Easter is what Easter is all about? 
How do you see your friends celebrating Easter?

Bible Story Time: 
Be prepared to tell the children the real story about Easter:

Easter isn’t about dying eggs, believing in the Easter bunny, going to parties, receiving gifts, or getting a large basket full of goodies. While all these things might be fun, the real meaning of Easter has to do with God’s Son, Jesus. 

While God loves us, he doesn’t love the bad things we do. Those bad things that disappoint God, he calls sin. (You have previously covered the topic of sin, but this may be a good time to reinforce with the children what sin is. Let them give a definition, but then be ready to correct any misguided definitions they may have.) When we sin, we miss God’s best for us. Adam and Eve sinned at the beginning of time by eating from the tree God told them not to, and since then everyone born has sinned also. If something isn’t done about our sin, we will go to a bad place called hell when we die. But God doesn’t want this. He wants us to spend eternity in heaven with him. That’s why he sent Jesus to this earth to die for our sins. 

Jesus lived on earth 33 years, and for three of them he went about telling others how much God loved them and how they needed to believe in him so they could have forgiveness for their sins. Some people believed and followed him, while others didn’t. Some of the church people hated Jesus. They were jealous because some of their followers were following him. They also didn’t really believe he was God’s Son. Many of them accused him of lying and of being a false teacher. 

Eventually, things got so bad that they accused him of lying. They finally convinced the Romans that he might lead a rebellion and try to overthrow the Roman ruler. Finally, they put him to death by crucifying him. This was a terrible and painful way to die. His followers were so upset. They loved Jesus, and now he was gone. His mother cried also as she watched him dying on the cross. 

After Jesus finally died, they put him in a tomb and rolled a large stone in front of it. But when some women went to finish preparing his body for burial on Sunday morning, the stone was rolled away. Angels told them Jesus wasn’t there. They initially thought someone had stolen his body, but the angel said no. God had raised his Son to life again to prove that he accepted his payment for our sins. Now all we have to do is believe in him and ask for his forgiveness. When we do, we can go to heaven after we die and live with him forever. 

Ask: What does this story teach us about the real meaning of the Easter story?

Activity Break: (15 minutes)

Game: Easter Treasure Hunt
Use this fun Easter game to help kids better understand the true meaning of the "Treasure" God has given each of us.
Let the children visit selected locations around the church where they can find "treasures" related to Easter. When the item is located, be prepared to tell the children how it relates to Easter. 

Suggested items to be placed at various locations: empty plastic egg (represents the tomb Jesus was buried in. When opened, it is empty just like Jesus’ grave was.), nail (symbolizes the spikes driven into Jesus’ hands and feet), spear (the one driven into Jesus’ side while he was on the cross), rock (represents the stone that sealed Jesus’ tomb), piece of cloth (represents all that was there when the women looked in the tomb. Jesus was gone.), water (the tears cried by those who loved Jesus). 

Optional:
The Resurrection Egg Story (see attached material)

Transition
Let’s sing a song to remind ourselves how powerful God is.

Song:
Lord, I Lift Your Name on High

Lord, I lift Your name on high.
Lord, I love to sing Your praises.
I'm so glad you're in my life.
I'm so glad you came to save us.

You came from heaven to earth to show the way,
From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay,
From the cross to the grave,
From the grave to the sky,
Lord I lift Your name on high.


Wrap Up: 
Give each child a blank sheet of paper and let them color something related to Easter. 

Take Away:
Let each child tell one thing they learned from the story of Easter. 

Resurrection Egg Story 
1. Donkey or Palm Branch 
Matthew 21:9: Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: 
“Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!” 
2. Silver Coins 
Matthew 26:14-15: Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and 
said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. 
3. Cup or Thimble 
Matthew 26:26-28: And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.” 
4. Praying Hands or Prayer Written on a Scroll 
Matthew 26:39: He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” 
5. Whip or Piece of Leather 
Mark 15:15: So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered 
Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. 
6. Crown of Thorns 
Matthew 27:29: When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in 
His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 
7. Nails 
Matthew 27:31: And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. 
8. Dice 
Matthew 27:35: Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be 
fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.”
9. Spear or Toothpick 
John 19:34: But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break 
His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water 
came out. 
10. Linen or Cheesecloth 
Matthew 27:59: When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 
11. Stone 
Matthew 27:66: Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you 
know now.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. 
12. Empty Tomb (Empty Egg) 
Matthew 28:25: But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.