To download as a PDF, click here.
Bible passage: Luke 22:39-23:56
Background: Tensions have continued to rise since Jesus’ controversial ride into Jerusalem. It is the week of Passover and Jesus has celebrated this with his friends, although not in the usually scripted fashion. He is pointing forward to what is going to happen next, and that is alarming for the disciples. Judas makes the decision to betray Jesus and hands him over to the chief priests. Peter swears he is with Jesus for the long haul but Jesus calls him out on it, stating that before the night is through Peter will deny him three times.
As you begin the session, invite the children to sit together in a circle and pass around a simple object. When a child has the object they can share their response to the question. Sometimes it’s helpful to have a sand timer so you have time for each person to share if they want to. If a child doesn’t want to say anything they can just pass on the object. Ask the children what the most confusing situation they have ever been in is – a time when they didn’t expect or understand what had happened.
You will need: nine cardboard people shapes; felt-tip pens
Ask the group if they can name any key characters in the Good Friday story. As they do so, write each correct name on the back of a person shape and give it to a child (or pair of children depending on the size of your group) to colour in as that person. The characters you will need are Jesus, Judas, Peter, the high priest, Pilate, Herod, Barabbas, Simon of Cyrene and Joseph of Arimathea. If they don’t get all of them, add in the missing ones and give them out.
You will need: cardboard people from ‘Intro activity’
Today’s passage is long, so you will need to paraphrase rather than reading out every word of it. Make sure you have read the passage yourself a couple of times before the session, and planned how you are going to retell it using the key points below. After each point, ask the children to hold up the correct character as you tell their bit of the story.
- After having the special Passover meal with his disciples, Jesus went out by himself to pray. He was asking God for strength for what was about to happen. Once he had finished praying he woke the disciples, who had fallen asleep.
- A crowd of soldiers arrived with Judas. Judas kissed Jesus to show the soldiers who to arrest. There was a fight and one of the disciples cut off a soldier’s ear. Jesus healed it and told them to stop fighting. He was arrested.
- Jesus was taken to the high priest’s house. The disciples followed to see what would happen. People kept recognising Peter as a friend of Jesus, but three times Peter said he wasn’t. Jesus was mistreated by the soldiers, chief priests and teachers of the law cooked up a charge against him so they could have him executed.
- They took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman who was in charge. He didn’t really understand what Jesus had done wrong, so he sent Jesus to Herod.
- Herod was excited to meet Jesus, but Jesus wouldn’t do what he asked, so Herod mocked him for a bit and then sent him back to Pilate.
- Pilate wanted to release Jesus but the crowd shouted for Barabbas, a political terrorist, to be released instead.
- The crowd was going crazy, demanding that Jesus be crucified. In order to keep the peace, Pilate agreed. Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross, so they grabbed a man called Simon of Cyrene and he had to carry it instead.
- Jesus was crucified with two other men. While Jesus hung on the cross it all went strangely dark, and in the middle of the afternoon he died. When Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross, a man named Joseph of Arimathea (who was part of the group that had had Jesus killed) asked if he could have the body. Joseph didn’t agree with what had happened, and he buried Jesus in a brand new tomb on his land.
Ask the children these questions, encouraging everyone to take turns to contribute:
- What sort of feelings would Jesus have experienced during these events?
- How might Peter have felt after he denied knowing Jesus?
- What do you think the high priest and chief priests felt about Jesus?
- How do you think Pilate felt, and what made him agree to crucify Jesus?
- What might Joseph of Arimathea been feeling, and what led him to ask for the body?
You will need: visual aids from ‘Bible story’
Give everyone a blank person and ask them to choose a character from the story. Ask them to fill the shape with words that might describe the person and how they felt about these events. Once everyone has finished, invite any children to share what they have written or drawn if they would like to
You will need: cardboard people from ‘Creative response’; felt-tip pens; pencils
Ask the children to turn their response characters over and write on the back the things they feel about today’s story. Encourage them to think about all aspects of their feelings, as they might have responded differently at different points in the story. Remind them that none of their feelings are wrong. They may feel thankful, confused, sad or even happy. As they hold the figure, they can imagine giving all these feelings to God.
Supporting documentsClick link to download and view these files
- PDF, Size 0.4 mb