This teacher’s copy of the Easter explained lesson plan is printer-friendly.
None is required for this lesson plan.
Q. Do you do anything special at Easter?
Q. What do you know about Easter?
Imagine owing something to someone which you cannot pay back and then an unknown person comes along and pays your debt back.
Q. How would you feel?
Q. What do you think this person is like?
When Jesus was about 30 years old he started speaking publicly about God and the Kingdom of heaven. Thousands of people followed him to learn about God and see the miracles and healings that he performed.
For three years he did this, and then this happened:
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”Matthew 16:21 ESV
Jesus warned his disciples several times that this was going to happen.
Q. What would you have thought if you had been one of Jesus’ disciples?
Then Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, decided that Jesus was not going to lead the Jewish nation in an uprising to free them from the Roman oppressors.
So he decided to betray Jesus to the jealous religious leaders:
Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.’ And he came up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings Rabbi!’ And he kissed him.Matthew 26:47-50 ESV
Jesus said to him, ‘Friend do what you came to do.’ Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.”
Jesus then was taken to an unlawful court, held during the night, where so-called witnesses tried to cook up some ‘evidence’ to convict him.
But they could not all agree and the whole trial was falling apart until this happened:
Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him ‘I adjure you by the living God tell us if you are the Christ [the Messiah] the Son of God.’Matthew 26:63-67 ESV
Jesus said to him, ‘You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
Then the high priest tore his robes and said ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?’
They answered ‘He deserves death.’ Then they spat in his face and struck him. And some slapped him.”
Q. What makes this an unlawful court?
Q. What annoyed the religious leaders so much that they wanted to kill Jesus?
When Jesus said that he, the Son of Man, will be “seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven” that was code for saying that he is the Messiah, the Son of God.
The religious leaders saw this as blasphemy and so they took Jesus to Pontius Pilate who was a Roman and who was in charge of the whole area. They could not execute Jesus themselves as it was against Roman laws.
Pontius Pilate was a little scared of Jesus because he could see that he was innocent and that he was a king of an invisible kingdom, but the religious leaders stirred up a riot.
Pontius Pilate, the governor, could see that it was escalating so he decided to, literally, wash his hands of this situation and give in to their demands.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters and they gathered the whole battalion before him. and they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.”Matthew 27:27-31 ESV
Jesus was laid in a tomb, which was likely to be a cave with a large stone rolled against the opening.
The religious leaders remembered that Jesus had said that he would be raised from the dead after three days, so they got some guards to stop that from happening.
Q. How likely is it that the disciples, who were paralysed by fear, could have stolen Jesus’ body?
Q. Would they have had any motivation to do that?
Q. Could the disciples then have pretended that Jesus had been raised from the dead?
The Bible tells us that those soldiers could not stop what happened next:
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for can angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and came like dead men.Mathew 28:1-10 ESV
But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’
So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ ”
Christians then believe that Jesus then appeared to more than 500 people ( Corinthians 15:6) within 40 days and then he returned to heaven.
It seems extraordinary that it was part of a plan for Jesus to die and rise again. A prophecy in Isaiah, hundreds of years before Jesus came, explains it like this:
He (the Messiah) certainly has taken upon himself our suffering and carried our sorrows, but we thought that God had wounded him, beat him, and punished him. He was wounded for our rebellious acts. He was crushed for our sins. He was punished so that we could have peace, and we received healing from his wounds. We have all strayed like sheep. Each one of us has turned to go his own way, and the LORD has laid all our sins on him.”Isaiah 53:4-6 GodW
Christians believe that everyone has wandered away from God and has bad thoughts and bad actions and not many good actions.
God expects us to be perfectly good but we can never achieve that, so he stepped in to provide a solution – his Son, Jesus, would take the penalty.