Easter 2012 Lesson
March 26, 2012
for Saturday, 31 March 2012
Teaching: Janice, Alyssa
Helping: Janaya, Ally
Driving: 10am: Fran; 12pm: Sheila
Topic: Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus
- You may choose to teach all the kids together, or divide into two groups
- Please give black hairband (in CBS bin) to Lolo — she left it behind last time
- It’s a long lesson — feel free to summarize some parts, as you see fit
Key Verse: I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11; NIV 84)
- two coloring pages (Paul)
- any activity supplies?
- From the time He was a baby, people had tried to kill Jesus, but it was not yet God’s time.
- “No one takes [my life] from me. I give it up myself. I have the authority to give it up. And I have the authority to take it back again. I received this command from my Father.” (John 10:18; NIRV)
- Today’s story begins after Jesus had taught as an adult for about three years.
- On a Thursday, Jesus ate a Passover meal with His students. Jewish people celebrate this feast once a year.
- One of the apostles named Judas went out.
- After eating, Jesus and His students sung a hymn, Jesus prayed, and they all walked to a hill called the Mount of Olives — a place they had met at often.
- In a grove of olive trees, Jesus spoke about a part of the Bible, and told them that they would all scatter away from Him that very night.
- They went to a garden on the side of the Mount, called Gethsemane. Jesus Christ told His students to sit down while He went with Peter, James, and John to a different spot to pray.
- He said to these three men, “My soul is very sad. I feel close to death. Stay here. Keep watch with me.”
- He went a little farther. Then he fell with his face to the ground. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want.”
- An angel appeared to give strength to Jesus. He was in agony, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
- Peter and the other two men were asleep when Jesus looked at them. He wished that they would stay alert with Him for even just one hour.
- Jesus prayed more, and returned to find the men sleeping again.
- He prayed the same prayer for the third time. When He returned to His students, He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look! The hour is near. The Son of Man is about to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let us go! Here comes the one who is handing me over to them!”
2. Arrested and Tried
- A betrayer is someone who only pretends to be your friend. Jesus’ betrayer was one of His students named Judas.
- Judas had made a plan with the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus so much that they wanted Him to be killed. These leaders paid Judas thirty silver coins so that he would help them find Jesus.
- Judas told the Jewish temple guards and Romans soldiers that he would lead them to Jesus and then kiss Jesus as a signal to show the murderers which of the men to grab and arrest.
- A kiss was a normal way to greet a friend, even as it still is today in some countries. It would not seem unusual to Jesus’ students, but it would secretly show let the Jewish officers know which one was Jesus.
- Judas knew that the Mount of Olives was a likely place to find Jesus and His followers. [John 18:2]
- While Jesus was still speaking, Judas arrived. He was one of the Twelve. A large crowd was with him. They were carrying swords and clubs.
- Judas went up to Jesus and said, “Hello Teacher!”
- Jesus answered with a question, “Judas, do you plan to betray me with a kiss?”
- Then Judas kissed Jesus.
- Jesus knew everything that was going to happen, so He stepped forward and asked the crowd, “Who are you looking for?”
- “Jesus from Nazareth,” they answered.
- He said, “I am he.”
- When He said this, they stepped back and fell! So Jesus asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”
- They said, “Jesus from Nazareth.”
- “I told you that I am he,” said Jesus, “So if you are looking for me, let these people with me go.”
- The crowd of men with weapons then arrested Jesus and tied Him up as their prisoner.
- Jesus could have called sixty-thousand angels to help Him! But instead He obeyed His Father even though it would mean suffering and death. Jesus knew from the Bible what needed to happen.
- Jesus spoke to the crowd: “Have you come out with swords and clubs to capture me as though I were a robber?” [Mounce & Mounce translation.]
- “Every day I was with you,” He said, “teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the [prophesies in the] Scriptures must [come true].”
- All of the students of Jesus ran away, just like He had said they would.
- The gang of men took Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas. [ KIE’ – AH – FASS ]
- The 71 most important Jewish law-makers gathered with other Jews to pretend to decide whether Jesus was innocent or guilty. They did not plan to be fair. The Bible says that they “were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.”
- After some time, two people finally told a lie about Jesus that was fat and juicy, so Caiaphas stood up and said to Jesus, “Have you no answer to what these men have said?” (The lie was: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” (Mark 14:58))
- But Jesus was quiet.
- Caiaphas said to Him, “I order you to tell us if you are the anointed King, the Son of God.”
- “It is as you have said,” Jesus answered, “and you will see me sitting at the right hand of God.”
- This was the moment Caiaphas was waiting for – Jesus had said something amazing about Himself – that He was the prophesied king who would sit on the throne of David forever, and that He was the Son of God. Now Caiaphas felt he had a reason to start acting like a crazy animal to please the people, and help excite them into making a fuss big enough to wake up Jerusalem city.
- Caiaphas ripped his clothes and said, “Jesus has insulted God! You all heard it! Now what is your decision about whether he is guilty or not?”
- The people answered, saying, “He deserves to die!”
- They spat in Jesus’ face, hit Him, slapped Him, and teased Him. Even the officers slapped Him in the face. Some soldiers put a blindfold over Jesus’ eyes, hit Him, and said, “Tell us who hit you.”
- Early the next morning, all the important Jewish people in Jerusalem talked about how they might put Jesus to death. They tied Him up and led Him to the Roman ruler of the area around Jerusalem. His name was Pontius Pilate. The Jews needed to convince the Romans to kill Jesus, because, as they said to Pilate later, “It is against the law for us to kill anyone.”
- There is a prophecy in the Bible that the Christ would die on a cross. Since the Romans used crucifixion, Romans had to kill Jesus and not Jews, in order for this prophecy to come true. These wise Jewish rulers thought they were important men who were in charge of everything that happened. But really, they were just living lives that proved the Bible is true – this Bible that they had studied all their lives!
3. Pontius Pilate
- Inside his headquarters, Pontius Pilate said to Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
- “You say so,” Jesus replied. Then he said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But [now] my kingdom is from another place.”
- “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
- Pilate went back outside to the Jewish people. They were standing outside, because they did not want to become “dirty” by going inside a non-Jewish home; yet their hearts were full of murder and lies!
- The leading Jewish men told Pilate a lot of lies about Jesus. For example, they said that He was trying to trick everyone in the nation. However, Jesus did not answer any of their accusations. This amazed Pontius Pilate.
- As a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
- Pilate asked the crowd of Jews, “What should I do with Jesus?”
- The crowd shouted together, “Let him be crucified!”
- “But what has he done wrong?” asked Pontius Pilate. “He has not done anything that deserves death.”
- Instead of answering, the crowd just shouted even louder, “Crucify him!”
- Not even one friend was standing beside our King Jesus. He was all alone.
- When Pilate saw that a riot was about to start, he took water and washed his hands so that all the crowd could see. While he did this, he said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood, […] It is your responsibility!”
- Pilate wanted to please the crowd
- During the time of the Roman Empire, a whip that had pieces of metal in its cords was used to punish criminals. This whip was able to quickly rip a man’s skin off.
- Imagine a Roman soldier mauling a man with one of these whips until his officer orders him to stop because the man is almost dead.
- Jesus Christ was that man on the most important Friday that has ever happened in world history.
- Already badly wounded, Jesus was brought to the army headquarters in Jerusalem city, where about 600 Roman soldiers had gathered.
- These soldiers surrounded Jesus, hoping to have a fun time picking on Him and torturing Him. He was here because many of the Jewish people (who He had come to save) hated Him and wanted somebody to murder Him.
- These Roman soldiers dressed Jesus up as a pretend king, and they laughed about it. They took His clothes off, and dressed Him in a bright purplish-red cape. They twisted some thorns together to make a crown shape, and put it on His head. They also put a tall grass stick in His right hand as a fake rod for a king.
- Then some of them made fun of Jesus by kneeling down in front of Him and saying, “We salute the king of the Jews!”
- They spit on him, and took the [rod from his hand] and [hit] him on the head, [where the thorny crown was,] again and again. After they had [laughed at him], they took off the [cape] and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
- Crucifying a man is a way of killing him by nailing or tying his hands and feet to a cross made of large wooden beams. The Romans figured that this the most shameful way to die, so this is how they usually punished non-Roman criminals.
- The Jews also knew about how shameful it was — they knew this from God’s law: Everyone who is hung on a tree is cursed by God. (See Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Galatians 3:13)
- The soldiers took Jesus to a place that was called the “Place of the Skull.” A crowd of people followed them, including women who loved Jesus and were crying. Two criminals were also being led to the same place, to be killed with Jesus.
- At the Place of a Skull, the soldiers gave Jesus some wine that was mixed with a disgusting ingredient. This might have been:
- mucus from animal guts;
- some poison with fungus scraped off a plant; or
- a bitter white drug [myrrh] from a tree.
- Whatever it was, Jesus tasted it, and it was bitter, not sour like the common Roman wine. Then He refused to drink the rest of this awful wine.
5. The Cross
- At the Place of the Skull, the Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to a wooden cross. The cross may not have looked like the [Latin] cross that we always see. The Bible does not tell us. We know it had a crosspiece, because he was ordered to carry it; however, the complete cross may have been in the shape of a capital ‘T.’
- Jesus spoke to God, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
- There was a sign above Jesus’ head, written by the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate, that told people the supposed crime Jesus had committed. It read, “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews,” in three different languages. The chief priests of the Jews did not like what this sign said, and asked Pilate to change the accusation that he had written on the sign.
- But, Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
- The two robbers were also hung on crosses that Friday – one on each side of Jesus Christ.
- Some of the Roman soldiers arranged the clothes of Jesus into five piles, and played a game with straws of different lengths to decide who would get the different parts. King David had already prophesied that this would happen.
- People walked by and insulted Jesus, shaking their heads at Him. They said, “If you are the Son of God, then come down from the cross!” But Jesus always obeyed God; He did not do what people suggested.
- The ruling Jewish priests were also mocking Jesus: “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!” … some of these priests would eventually believe on Jesus and became Christians! [Acts 6:7.]
- Even the robbers who were suffering on the crosses beside Jesus were taunting Him. Later, one of them understood the truth, and changed his words.
- Then, for three hours there was darkness over all the land – there was no light coming from the sun.
- Jesus cried in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” This is something that king David had written in a song that is in the Bible. (Psalm 22.)
- Jesus cried out once more, saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and, “It is finished.”
- Then He could not breathe any more, and the King of the Jews bowed His head and died.
- At that moment, the earth shook and rocks broke. Graves opened up and the dead bodies of many of God’s children woke up.
- All of this frightened the soldiers who were keeping watch over Jesus, and their commander said, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
- The people standing around Jesus returned to the city in fear.
- From a distance, many women who had looked after Jesus during His life were watching. A woman name Mary Magdalene was among them.
- Another follower of Jesus, named Joseph (from Arimathea), was actually a member of the Jewish council, but he had not agreed with their decision to have Jesus crucified.
- Joseph was rich, and he owned a brand new tomb in a garden near the “Place of a Skull” where the Roman soldiers had crucified Jesus. Joseph had cut this tomb into a rock.
- After Jesus died, as the sun went down in the sky, Joseph went to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus Christ.
- This surprised Pontius Pilate! Was Jesus already dead? Pilate asked the Roman commander in charge of the crucifixion if Jesus had been dead for long.
- When the commander [centurion] said that Jesus was dead, Pilate ordered soldiers to allow Joseph to have the dead body.
- Since the Jewish Sabbath day of rest was soon upon them, Joseph did not want to carry Jesus very far, so he would put Jesus in the newly cut tomb because it was nearby.
- Joseph took Jesus down from the cross.
- A man named Nicodemus was with Joseph, and had about seventy-five pounds of funeral spices. Nicodemus was also a Jewish teacher who had secretly believed in Jesus. Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body in strips of clean and expensive linen cloth, along with the spices. This was the usual thing for Jewish people to do before burying a dead body in a grave.
- The two men laid the body of Jesus in the new tomb. Then Joseph rolled a large stone across the door of the tomb, and they left.
- Two women were sitting across from the tomb, and they were watching carefully where Jesus was laid. Both women were named Mary, and one of them was Mary Magdalene. They went home to prepare some spices for the burial of Jesus; however, they planned to rest on the Sabbath (Saturday).
- The next day, which was Saturday, the leaders of the Jews went together to Pontius Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while [Jesus] was still alive that [liar] said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and [pretend] that he has been raised from the dead.”
- Pilate said to them, “Take soldiers with you and make the tomb as secure as possible.”
- So, they went to the tomb, sealed the stone that was over the door, and posted soldiers to guard it.
- They “sealed the stone” by pouring warm wax over both the stone door and the rock doorway. Then, they imprinted a name into the wax while it was still soft. This way, if someone rolled the stone away to steal the body of Jesus, the hardened wax seal would break, proving that somebody had moved the stone. Nobody would be able to make a new seal with the same signature imprinted on it.
7. Sunday Morning
- The Sabbath rest was over [i.e., sunset Saturday night], and the two women named Mary who had watched Jesus being laid in the tomb, along with a third woman named Salome [Sah-LOW’-me], purchased some spices and oil.
- As the sun began to rise early Sunday morning, they went to the tomb so that they could anoint the body of Jesus with the oil, but they were wondering who would roll away the stone for them.
- Mary Magdalene saw that the stone had been moved away from the entrance! So, she ran to the apostles Peter and John, and said, “They have taken the Lord Jesus out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” Mary and the others did not yet understand the scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.
- Peter and John ran to the tomb — John got there first.
- John bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there, but he didn’t go in.
- When Peter arrived, he went into the tomb.
- He saw the strips of linen lying there, and also the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head (a handkerchief or face cloth) — the cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
- Then John also went inside, and saw what Peter saw. Then they both went back home.
- Mary stood outside the tomb crying.
- She bent over and looked into the tomb. She saw two angels dressed in white, sitting where Jesus’ body had been.
- “Woman, why are you crying?”
- “They have taken my Lord away,” she said. “I don’t know where they have put him.”
- Mary turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
- “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
- She thought he was the gardener: “Sir, did you carry him away? Tell me where you put him. Then I will go and get him.”
- Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
- She turned toward him, and cried out “Rabboni!” (Teacher).
- Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me. I have not yet returned to the Father. Instead, go to those who believe in me. Tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “
- Mary Magdalene went to the apostles. “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what he had said.
8. Two Bribes and One Lie
- Meanwhile, some of the soldiers who had guarded the tomb went into Jerusalem city, and told the Jewish leaders that an angel of God had rolled away the stone, and Jesus was no longer in the tomb!
- The Jewish leaders gave money to these soldiers who had seen the angel roll away the stone, and commanded them to tell a lie – they told them to say, “We fell asleep in the night, and Jesus’ disciples came and stole His body from the tomb while we were sleeping.”
- The soldiers were probably happy to get the money, but they were worried that the Roman governor might hear this lie and think that they had fallen asleep when they were supposed to be guarding the tomb! However, the Jewish leaders had a plan for that as well.
- They said to the soldiers, “If Pontius Pilate hears about this, we will bribe him so that you will not get into trouble.”
- Those soldiers who had guarded the tomb took the money from the Jewish rulers, and went and told the lie about what happened. When Matthew wrote his part of the Bible about thirty years later, he said that this lie was still being told among the Jews!
9. Two Christians on the Road
- On that same Sunday, two Christian men were walking to a village in the country, about eleven kilometers from Jerusalem. They were talking about the arrest and execution of Jesus, and everything that had happened in Jerusalem.
- The risen Lord Jesus came to them and began walking with them. He looked different from how He appeared to Mary and the other women. One part of the Bible says that these men’s eyes were kept from recognizing Him.
- “What things are you talking about?” Jesus asked them.
- The two men stopped. They looked sad.
- One of them, named Cleopas [CLEE’-ah-pass], answered, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem [for the Passover] who does not know what things have happened these past few days?”
- “What things?” Jesus said.
- They said, “Things about Jesus from Nazareth, who was a prophet. He was mighty in everything He did before God and before people. We were hoping that He was the Christ sent to Israel, but our Jewish leaders had Him arrested and crucified. It is now the third day since this happened.”
- “What’s more,” they continued, “some women from our group of friends have told us something strange. They went to the tomb early this morning and could not find Jesus’ body. They said they even saw angels who told them He was alive.”
- So Jesus said to them, “You foolish people… you are so slow to believe what the prophets said!”
- Then Jesus taught Cleopas and his friend. He explained many things that Moses, Samuel, David, Micah, Isaiah, and other prophets had written long before Jesus was even born.
- When they got near their village, the two men begged Jesus to stay with them, because it was getting dark.
- So, Jesus went into one of their houses with them, and sat down by a table. He gave some bread to the men. As He did this, “their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.”
- After He vanished, they were surprised that they had not realized all along that this was Jesus. They said to each other, “It even felt like our hearts were on fire while He talked to us, and helped us understand the Bible!”
- They immediately went back to Jerusalem, where they found the believers there gathered together in a locked room.
- They said, “It is true! The Lord has risen […]“
- They told the men everything that had happened, and how they had recognized Jesus when He gave the bread to them.
10. More Appearances
- While the two men who had just arrived from the village were still talking, Jesus appeared right in the middle of the room with all the apostles and believers.
- “Peace be with you,” Jesus said.
- This scared them, and they thought they were seeing a ghost.
- “Why are you upset?” asked Jesus, “And why are you doubting what you see? Look at my hands! My feet! It is me! Touch me and see that I am not a ghost. Ghosts do not have flesh and bones.”
- They were confused, happy, and amazed.
- “Do you have anything to eat?” Jesus asked.
- They gave Him a piece of cooked fish, and He ate it while they all were watching.
- Jesus said to them, “What is happening is everything that was already written about me by Moses, by the prophets, and in the Psalms. It all needed to happen.”
- Then Jesus gave them the ability to understand the scriptures [the Bible]. He said, “It is written that Christ must suffer and rise from the dead on the third day. Good news about His work is to be announced, first in Jerusalem, and then to all the world.”
- Eight days later, Jesus came back to them in the same house, appearing in the middle of the locked room. This time the apostle named Thomas was with them, who had missed the first visit, and therefore still did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead.
- He said to Thomas, “Touch my hands with your finger. Believe!”
- Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord, and my God!”
- Peter and some of the other men eventually went to Galilee.
- One day, they went up a mountain, and into a building, which was probably a home of one of Jesus’ followers. There, sitting at a table, they saw Jesus.
- They worshiped Him, but some of them were not sure what to do.
- Jesus shamed them for refusing to believe the report of others who had seen Him.
- He appeared to them again when they were fishing on the Sea of Galilee. [He helped them catch fish, made a fire, and ate fish and bread with them.]
- Sometime after this, Jesus visited more than five hundred Christians at the same time.
- Jesus appeared to Christians at different times and places for forty days before He went to heaven and sat down at God’s right hand.
- He told His apostles that everyone who believes the teaching of the good news about Him and is baptized will be saved. He said that He will always be with them.
11. Jesus Is Taken Up Into Heaven
- During the 40 days that the risen Jesus appeared to believers, he spoke about God’s kingdom and gave orders to the apostles he had chosen
- One day, Jesus led them out to Bethany (on the east side of the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem by about two miles)
- While everybody ate, Jesus told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you… Then you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the rest of the world.”
- After Jesus said this, he lifted up his hands and blessed the apostles
- While he blessed them, he was taken up to heaven. The apostles watched until a cloud hid him from their sight.
- [from NIRV] While he was going up, they kept on looking at the sky. Suddenly two men dressed in white clothing stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. But he will come back in the same way you saw him go.”
- So, the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives
- “When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying.”
- As Jesus had promised, the Holy Spirit came to all the believers about ten days after He had ascended. (Acts 2.) They were “baptized” with the Holy Spirit, which means that they were washed clean, and received power from the Holy Spirit.
12. Jesus Current Work in Heaven
- he is the King of heaven and earth on God’s behalf; (Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:23-28; Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Peter 3:22)
- he is helping those who call on his name; (Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:25)
- “interceding”: Jesus is continually talking to God about us, and is saving people and leading them to God; (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25)
- Jesus is defeating evil powers and teachers
- He is giving gifts to his people (Ephesians 4:9-16), including the Holy Spirit
13. Jesus’ Second Coming
- Jesus will return in His resurrection body, coming with the clouds of heaven, to save those who are waiting for him
- Everybody will see him return to the earth, including those who have already died
- We will hear a blast from God’s trumpet
- Those believers who have died already will rise from their graves
- After that, the believers who are still alive will be “caught up together with them”
- we will be taken up in the clouds and meet the Lord Jesus in the air
- Jesus will judge the world
- He will give glory to God’s children
- He will deliver the kingdom and become subject to the Father
- Nobody knows the time of Jesus’ return — he said, “No one knows about that day or hour. Not even the angels in heaven know. The Son does not know. Only the Father knows.” (Matthew 24:36; NIRV)