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9. The Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)

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Main Point: God raised Jesus from the dead to give us new life.

Key Verse:

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. - Romans 6:4b NLT

Props: Several dollar bills, folded and tied so none can see the denomination. (This will represent one million dollars.); “No throwing rocks” sign; Thick chain


Say: Jesus willingly went to the cross to be crucified, even though He was innocent. In a moment of overwhelming shame, He took on the sin of all mankind, and for the first time, God turned away from Him (Mark 15:34). Jesus gave up His spirit, and He died. He paid the penalty for the guilty.

Let’s look at it this way. Teacher: Choose an adult volunteer, preferably a man (because a student may not take this role seriously enough). Let’s just say I am the ruler of a country, and here is my son. I make the rules and I am just, so I MUST punish people when they break the rules. Now, I am extremely good. I only make rules that are good, and they are good for everyone in my country. One of my rules is, “No throwing rocks.” Hold up sign. I know this is a good rule to keep everyone safe. Choose a student volunteer. So, along came (student’s name), and guess what she did? She threw a rock and broke a window. She was brought to me to be sentenced. The law is, she has to pay one million dollars, or go to jail - forever. Turn to the student volunteer. Say: Okay, because you broke my good rule, you have to pay $1,000,000.00. Hold your hand out. Explain that she has to pay $1,000,000.00, or she’ll go to jail forever. Say: There are no exceptions. I wouldn’t be a fair ruler if I made some people pay, and let some people go without paying. You have to pay. Wait with hand out. Well, I knew this very thing would happen, and I have a plan. I am so good that I don’t want you to go to jail forever, but I am so fair, that I can’t let you go without paying. Here’s what I’ll do. Give the roll of money to the man volunteer. I’ll provide it. I’ll give the $1,000,000.00 to my son, and he can pay it for you. Have the man stand next to the student. In an official voice, say: Your fine is $1,000,000.00, or go to jail forever. Do you trust my son to pay your fine? (yes.) Hold out your hand and take money from your “son.” Declare to student: Your fine has been paid in full. You are free to go. Thank your volunteers.

The Bible says that every one of us has sinned, or broken God’s rules. There is nothing we can do to “undo” our sin - not any more than (student volunteer’s name) could “un-shatter” the glass she broke with the rock. And the punishment is separation from God forever, because He is perfect and holy. God is so good, and loves us so much, that He didn’t want us to be separated from Him. But He is perfectly just, so He HAD to punish our sin. So God provided a way; He sent His Son. When Jesus poured out His innocent blood on the cross, He paid what God required to take away our sin. Everyone who places their trust in Jesus is forgiven of their sin. When God looks at those who put their trust in Jesus, He no longer sees their sin. He sees His perfect Son. This is AMAZING news!

But the story does NOT end there! The Bible says:

Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. - Hebrews 12:2a NLT

Today we will finish the story. We’ll look at the JOY that Jesus was looking forward to.

Resurrection (Matthew 28:1-15; Mark 16:1-13; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18)

Remember that the Jewish leaders knew that Jesus said He would rise again after three days and three nights. So, they asked Pilate to seal the tomb to keep Jesus’ followers from stealing His body and telling people He had risen.

Some of the women who cared about Jesus wanted to put perfume and spices on His body, to show love and respect to Him. But, the Jewish law said they were not allowed to go to His tomb on the Sabbath. So they went home to wait until the Sabbath was over.

Very early on the morning after the Sabbath, an amazing thing happened.

There was a powerful earthquake. An angel of the Lord came down from heaven. The angel went to the tomb. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. His body shone like lightning. His clothes were as white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. - Matthew 28:2-4

Wow! The sight of this angel was so stunning that the soldiers were petrified! They had just spent the night in a graveyard. They were undoubtedly talking about what had happened during the crucifixion, and whom they thought Jesus really was. Then, the very ground they were standing on began to shake. And an angel appeared like lightning. These guards were wearing weapons and they knew how to use them. But the sight of the angel scared them nearly to death. God’s power was far greater than that of the guards.

When Mary Magdalene and the other woman came to the tomb, they saw the stone was rolled away.

John tells us that Mary ran back to tell Peter and John what she saw. Peter and John ran to the tomb as fast as they could. John arrived first. He saw strips of linen cloth lying outside the tomb. He did not go in. Peter was the boldest of all the disciples. When he arrived moments later, he went right into the tomb.

He saw the strips of linen lying there. He also saw the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself. It was separate from the linen. - John 20:6b-7

Then John followed Peter into the tomb. The Bible says, “He saw and believed.” (John 20:8b) When John saw that Jesus was not there, he believed that God had raised Him from the dead.

The disciples left to go back to their homes, but Mary Magdalene stayed by the tomb, crying. She didn’t realize that Jesus was alive. She thought that someone had taken His body. She looked into the tomb and saw two men. They were angels (John 20:10-12). They said:

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here! He has risen! Remember how He told you He would rise. It was while He was still with you in Galilee. He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people. He must be nailed to a cross. On the third day He will rise from the dead.’ ” - Luke 24:5b-7

Then, Jesus appeared to her. Matthew tells us that she fell down at His feet and worshipped Him (Matthew 28:9). Just imagine this scene. Jesus had once rescued Mary Magdalene from demons (Luke 8:2). From that point on, she believed in Him and followed Him. He had taken away her shame, and died to take away her sin. Now He had risen to give her new life. She and the other women could do nothing less than fall down and worship Him.

Jesus told her not to be afraid, but to go tell His disciples to go to a specific mountain in Galilee (Matthew 28:16). He would appear to the disciples there.

Application: Do you take time to stop and worship Jesus? He died to take away your sin, and God raised Him to give you new life. If you have put your trust in Him, your sins are forgiven and you have abundant, eternal life. You may have heard this story many times, or it may be new to you, like it was to Mary Magdalene that day. Either way, we should never stop taking time out of our week to worship Him. When we sing worship songs in here, or in big church, are you paying more attention to the friend beside you than to the One who saved you? If things around you are a distraction, move, or close your eyes. Do whatever it takes to focus your worship on Jesus.

False Report (Matthew 28:11-15)

Some of the guards went and reported what had happened to the chief priests. Ask: How do you think the chief priests would have felt about Jesus rising from the dead? Listen for answers. Say: Surely, when they heard about Jesus rising from the dead they would finally believe in Him, right? Wrong. Say: The leaders came up with another plan. They decided to pay the soldiers to lie about what happened. They gave the soldiers a lot of money and told them to tell everyone that during the night, while the soldiers were sleeping, the disciples came and took Jesus’ body. The soldiers took the money and did what they were told. Some people still believe this lie.

Let’s stop and think about the chief priests for a minute. Even when they heard from eye witnesses that the very earth trembled, an angel came from heaven, the stone was rolled away, and Jesus came back to life and walked out of the tomb on His own, they still would not admit who Jesus was! There could be NO other explanation for these events other than that Jesus was truly the Messiah, the Son of God. Still they rejected Him. The chief priests had their own plan, and they would not change their ways even for God Himself.

Note to Teacher: This is not a case of the chief priests not knowing who Jesus was. Eyewitnesses had made it clear. This was a case of knowing, yet rejecting Him. This was the same choice of Satan and his minions. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder.” (NIV) No one knew who God was better than Satan, but he chose to magnify himself instead of God.

Next week, we’ll see the disciples’ reaction when they see Jesus for themselves.

New Life In Christ

The Bible tells us that if we place our trust in Jesus, then not only will our sins be washed away, but we will receive new life.

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. - Romans 6:4b NLT

Call up your same two volunteers. Say to student volunteer: Through my son, I provided the way for your fine, or penalty, to be paid. That was mercy. You did not get the punishment that you really deserved.

But now, I also want to give you new life. You can have all the blessings that my son has. He has access to everything I own. He has my power, he can talk to me any time he wants to without an appointment, I let him work right beside me, I make things work out well for him, and I bless him. In fact, I want to adopt you so you will be my child. And I want you to live in my wonderful castle. You can live with me forever. My giving you great things that you do not deserve is called grace.

Ask the group: (Student’s name) broke my law, and could not pay the penalty. What did she deserve? To go to jail forever. But I paid the price, and what else did I do? Adopted her, treated her as your own child, invited her to live in your castle forever. Thank your volunteers.

Say: This was a fun illustration to show you something very serious. Not only did God show mercy by sending Jesus to die on the cross to erase our sin, but then He gives us new life and pours out His blessings on us, treating us as His very own sons and daughters (Romans 8:17).

Let’s look at some of these blessings:

Once we believe in Jesus, God sends the Holy Spirit to live inside of us (John 7:39). God’s Spirit lives inside of each believer, to teach him God’s truth (John 16:13). His Holy Spirit helps us to have spiritual fruit such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). And, God’s Holy Spirit gives us power to tell others about Jesus (Acts 1:8). He gives us just the right words at just the right time (1 Corinthians 2:13).

The Bible says, “Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) We are new because our sin nature is dead. Before we put our trust in Jesus, we are slaves to sin (John 8:34). Teacher: wrap chains around your wrists. Hold the ends in your hands, and tug at them so they seem immovable. It’s as if we’re wrapped in chains, and we can’t break free. We keep sinning, no matter what. But after we put our trust in Jesus, we are FREE. Drop the chains! We no longer have to sin. He gives us the power NOT to sin (John 8:36). Romans 6:14 says, “Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free.”

And, Jesus now sits next to God in heaven and prays for His followers (Romans 8:34). Have you ever thought about Jesus praying just for you? He is also preparing a place in heaven for all believers to live one day (John 14:2-3). It will be more wonderful than any of us can even imagine! (1 Corinthians 2:9) There will be no crying, no sadness, no divorce, no cancer, and no sin! (Revelation 22:3)

Application: There is nothing you can do to earn God’s favor. Amazingly, Jesus did it all for you. You must come to the point where you know you are a HOPELESS sinner - unable to pay the penalty you deserve for your own sin. Believe that when Jesus willingly gave up His life for you, He took away ALL of your sin (2 Corinthians 5:19). He paid your debt. When you truly believe and place your trust in Him, not only are your sins washed away in His mercy, but also you are blessed forever by His grace.


Key Verse:

Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. - Romans 6:4b NLT


Main Point: God raised Jesus from the dead to give us new life.

Note to Teacher: The four gospel accounts each give different details about the events of the resurrection. Some critics have deemed these to be contractions, but that is not the case.

First of all, the differences prove there was no collusion (or getting together to “get the story straight.”) Law enforcement agents know that a story that is too perfect cannot be true.

The gospel writers give different perspectives from the various witnesses of the events. They are not contradictions, but different details that we can piece together to gain greater understanding of all that transpired. If you are teaching older students who ask about these differences, try this illustration:

Choose 3 students. Have one stand about 6 feet in front of you, another stand 6 feet behind you, and the third student stand 6 feet to the side of you. Do not allow the students to speak to each other. Hold up a 3 x 5” card that has a red dot the size of a quarter drawn in the center of one side of the card, and has a small smiley face drawn in the center of other side. When you hold up the card, lift it straight up and then lower it straight down. Do NOT turn it from side to side. Then ask each student to describe what they just saw. There will be 3 different accounts, all true. These can be pieced together to form a full account.

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Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society / Used by permission of IBS-STL. All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum

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