Note that we have separated the worship and Sunday school materials into separate posts to keep things organized. You can find the Sunday morning sermon here.
Family Sunday School Devotion for April 12
Family Lesson-“Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection” from Matthew 26-28
Listen to- “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” here:
and- “Up From the Grave He Arose” here:
Younger kids, listen to- “One Two Three” here:
During the Bible story, watch- “He is Risen (Matthew 27)” from Share Faith Kids here:
Consider watching this later- “Jesus Film for Children” from Jesus Film Project here:
Summary- Jesus gives us life with God forever.
Introduction Younger Kid Activity- Name Important Things Encourage children to name important things that have happened to them. Prompt as needed to be sure they include their own births, birth of siblings, starting school, changing babysitters, playing on a ball team, and so forth. Consider encouraging children to choose one important thing to draw. Say, “We celebrate important things that happen in our lives. You might have a birthday cake or even a party to celebrate the day you were born. Today is Easter. Easter is the day we celebrate the most important thing that ever happened: Jesus died and was raised from the dead!”
Introduction Older Kid Activity- Crime and Punishment Direct kids to come up with silly rules and silly punishments to go along with those rules if they are broken. For example, you could say that there is a new rule that you may not bend your elbows; if you bend your elbows, you will have to hold your hands over your head for two days. Say, “Those crimes were silly, and the silly punishments fit alongside the crimes. Today we will learn about Jesus. His punishment was severe and very serious, but He did not commit any crime at all. Why do you think Jesus was punished severely if He was not guilty?”
Big Picture Question- Say, “As we get into the story, we should say our big picture question and answer. Why did Jesus become human? The answer is: Jesus became human to obey His Father’s plan and rescue sinners. God had a plan since before the creation of the world. His plan included sending Jesus, His own Son, to earth as a human. Jesus obeyed and came as a human so that He could perfectly understand our suffering and pain that comes from sin and live the sinless life we fail to live. He then died on the cross for our sins and rose again to defeat death. That’s how He rescued sinners!”
Bible Story- Timeline Say, “We are pausing in our timeline to hear today’s Bible story, but let’s look back at some recent stories. All the stories of the Bible actually point to the story we are going to hear. We’ve been hearing about how Jesus came into the world and how Jesus obeyed God by being baptized. Jesus wanted to do God’s plan all along, and today’s story- the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection- show how Jesus carried out that plan.” Open a Bible to Matthew 26-28. Either tell the story in your own words from this passage or read aloud from the Big Picture Interactive Bible Storybook (the Bible storybook your younger child received from Sunday School) page 256. Consider viewing the video “He is Risen” (see above list) together as an alternative or reinforcement.
Christ Connection- Say, “Jesus showed that He has power over sin and death. God accepted Jesus’ payment for sin, so everyone who trusts in Him can be forgiven and have eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope for eternal life. Jesus’ death and resurrection is the center of the Gospel. In Adam, we were spiritually dead in sin, but Jesus died to pay for our sins. Jesus is alive! God gives new life to everyone who trusts in Jesus.”
Key Passage- Open a Bible to John 3:30. Read the verse aloud. Use the following hand motions (or have kids make up their own): “He” (point up towards Heaven), “must increase” (move hands apart), “I” (point to self with both thumbs), “must decrease” (move hands together). Say, “When Jesus started His ministry, John the Baptist pointed people to Him. The King had come, and He was the very Word of God. At best, John could point people to Jesus and say, ‘I am not Jesus! But look, there He is!’ Jesus must increase because He is from heaven and is above all. He is the best and no one compares. Jesus spoke of what he had seen and heard from God the Father. Like John, we should say, ‘Jesus must increase!’”
Younger Kid Activity- Find a Doll Hide a small doll (or stuffed animal) somewhere in the room. Encourage children to find the doll. Let the child who found the doll take a turn hiding it for the rest of the family. Say, “When someone hid the doll, we had to look for it. We found the doll right where the person who hid the doll left it. Two women in our Bible story today went to Jesus’ tomb because that was where a man named Joseph had put Him. But when the women arrived, Jesus was gone! Jesus had a wonderful surprise for His friends- He was alive!”
Older Kid Activity- It’s Empty Place a rock or paper wad beneath two or three upside-down cups while kids are watching. Try to confuse them by quickly rearranging the cups in front of them (think magician’s “Shell Game”). After several seconds, ask kids which cup is empty. To make the game more difficult, turn away from the kids and mix up the cups. Allow kids to take a turn mixing up the cups, too. Say, “In the Bible story today, some of Jesus’ friends went to the tomb and expected to find His body there. But the tomb was empty!”
Review Questions- Ask the following questions:
- What did the religious leaders want to do with Jesus? (Matthew 26:66)
- What sign was hung above Jesus on the cross? (Matthew 27:37)
- Who saw Jesus raised from the dead? (Matthew 28:1,16)
- How can you know if you are saved? (Guide kids to see it is not our feelings that save us; it is God’s grace given to us through faith- Ephesians 2:8-9. Help them understand that salvation comes to everyone who trusts in Jesus- Romans 10:9. Explain what is written in the Bible- we can know that we are saved, even if we don’t feel saved or do sometimes still choose to sin- 1 John 5:12-13.)
- Why is the resurrection so important? (Discuss Jesus’ role as a substitute. Jesus died for our sins because He had no sin. If He had stayed dead, it would have meant His sacrifice wasn’t enough. Jesus’ resurrection ensures that we will live forever with God because it proved that sin is paid for completely.)
- What does it mean to have eternal life? (Help kids understand that eternal life is more than just a place with God after we die. Point out that our new life begins as soon as we believe the truth about Jesus. We become new creatures. Our current lives reflect that change through loving obedience to Jesus, and we look to the future when Jesus will return and fix all that sin has broken.)
Say, “Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope for eternal life.”
For Older Kids- Also, ask the following questions:
- Why is it important that Jesus didn’t stay dead but He came back to life? (read Romans 8:11)
- How do we know Jesus is alive? (read Acts 7:55-56)
- How does the fact that Jesus’ tomb is empty affect how we live today? (read 1 Corinthians 15:57-58)
Reflection- Ask older children to answer one of the following questions:
- What does this story teach me about God or the Gospel?
- What does the story teach me about myself?
- Whom can I tell about this story?
Closing Activity- True or Untrue Direct children to hold up their thumbs if what you say about the Bible story is true and down if what you say is not true. Try to come up with detail-oriented statements to challenge older children. For younger children use the following statements: Jesus never sinned (up), Jesus was put on a cross (up), Six criminals were put on crosses next to Jesus (down, two criminals), Jesus was buried in a tomb (up), A large door was locked on the tomb (down, a large stone was in front of the tomb), Two women named Ava went to the tomb (down, Mary), The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid! Jesus is not here! He has risen from the dead.’ (up), The women saw Jesus and worshiped Him (up), Three people saw Jesus alive (down, over 500). Say, “Good job remembering! The most important things that ever happened is that Jesus died and was raised from the dead. We can believe that Jesus is alive! When we turn from sin and trust in Him, Jesus gives us life with God forever.”
Pray- Thank God for the gift of salvation through His Son and for the hope of life with Him forever.
Adult Sunday School Devotion for April 12
Adult Lesson- “Alive with Christ” from 1 Corinthians 15
Listen to- “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” from Joslin Grove Choral Society here:
and- “Behold Our God” from Sovereign Grace here:
Summary- The resurrection of Jesus is good news that changes lives and is the source of our hope for eternal life.
Christ Connection- The resurrection of Jesus represents the power of God to change lives and usher in the new world He has promised. Jesus’ resurrection is the firstfruits of the future resurrection of His people, the guarantee that God’s kingdom will come fully to earth, and the first nail I the coffin of death, which will one day be defeated forever.
Application- Because we have been forgiven and our hope is in our future resurrection, we hold fast to the truth of Christ’s resurrection and proclaim this good news as we await His return.
Point 1. The Good News of Christ’s Resurrection (read aloud 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Note- When Paul was in Corinth, he preached the Gospel. Paul did not dream up this story; he heard it and believed it, and what he had received he turned around and told to anyone who would listen about who Jesus is and what He has done. God, the eternal Creator of all things, created us for relationship with Him. Yet each of us has sinned against God, meaning we’ve chosen our way over God’s way (Psalm 51:5; Romans 3:23). Because God is holy- completely good and completely separate from evil- our sin separates us from God. God’s righteous verdict for our sin is death and judgment (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3). Yet God sent His Son into the world to save us from this. Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, came to live a sinless life, die on the cross in our place, and rise from the grave that we might have eternal life and joy (Romans 3:21-26; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). It was for us that Jesus bled and died. He hung upon the cross to atone for our sins: for every lust of our eyes, every curse of our tongue, every lie we have spoken, every jealousy we harbor, every trace of greed in our hearts. Jesus’ sacrifice for us was deeply personal, and this is good news, as is His resurrection, which was corroborated by so many witnesses.
Respond- How should we view and read the Old Testament in light of Paul’s explanation of the Gospel in this passage?
Note- In the Past: We received the Gospel when we first heart the good news of Jesus Christ and believed. We heard who Christ was and that through Him alone we could be reconciled to God. The Holy Spirit drew our hearts to the truth. We repented and believed, and now we have become brand new people (2 Corinthians 5:17). In the Present: Right now, believers stand on the Gospel. The Gospel wasn’t just the good news that our sins were forgiven; it’s the good news that our sins are forgiven forever and that we have a restored relationship with God even now. In the Future: We will be saved by the Gospel. We are being saved not by what we do but by faith in what Christ has done. Christ’s death and resurrection assures us that our sins are forgiven, that God is with us today, and that someday we will be with Him for eternity.
Point 2. The Power of Christ’s Resurrection (read aloud 1 Corinthians 15:8-11).
Note- Paul didn’t walk with Jesus before His resurrection. He even persecuted the Church and oversaw the execution of at least one Christian before becoming a Christian himself (Acts 7:57-8:1). But one day, while Paul was headed to persecute Christians, Jesus came to Paul. A blazing light from heaven shone, and the voice of Jesus spoke to him. Paul’s physical eyes were blinded, but his spiritual eyes were opened. He couldn’t see the way forward, but he could finally see the redemption he had longed for (Acts 9:1-20). In that moment, everything changed. God’s grace completely transformed Paul. The power of the resurrected Christ had changed him from the inside out. As a Pharisee, Paul had tried to earn the approval of God by keeping all of the rules, and he excelled in this (Galatians 1:14). But when he finally receive God’s grace, he went from being a person who hated Christ and the Church to being a champion of Christ and His Church.
Respond- What are some ways we might try to earn God’s approval instead of resting in His grace?
Note- On the cross, Jesus suffered and died so that the grave would lose its sting. Christ rose from the grave so that death would not have the final word. The empty grave marking Jesus’ resurrection is a symbol of His victory over sin and death to accomplish our salvation.
Respond- How has your life changed since coming to faith in Christ and believing in His death and resurrection?
Point 3. The Result of Christ’s Resurrection (read aloud 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).
Note- In ancient times, an Israelite farmer would take the firstfruits of a crop harvest and offer it to God in recognition of His blessing upon the earth (Leviticus 23:9-14). This was a statement of faith that the harvest would continue. In the same way, resurrection of Jesus promises the future resurrection of His believers.
Note- The Scriptures teach us that through Adam’s sin, all humanity will die (Romans 5). So every person born after Adam is sinful from birth, and as we’ve already considered, the penalty for sin id death (Genesis 2:17). This was the curse given to humanity because of sin (Genesis 3:19). If that were the end of the story, we’d have no hope. But there’s more. Just as one man brought death to all of us, another man brings life. Jesus’ death and resurrection results in forgiveness of sin, eternal life, and resurrection from the dead for those who believe. Everyone who calls out to God for salvation will not face the worst of death- eternal separation from God- but will receive eternal life (John 3:16).
Conclusion- Brothers and sisters, let us be filled with Gospel-fueled hope, and let us not lose the vision of how important the resurrection of Christ is and what it means to us. We are a people who stand in the power of the resurrection, live in the light of the resurrection, and look forward to our own resurrection. We have an unshakable hope. This good news was proclaimed to us and we have believed. Someone spoke. Someone loved. Someone took the time to invest in us spiritually and invited us to taste and see that God is good. Likewise, every relationship God has given you with an unbeliever is so you can proclaim the Gospel that they may believe. Our friends and neighbors and family need this same resurrection hope. They need to know about the hope we have in Jesus.
Apply- Because we have been forgiven and our hope is in our future resurrection, we hold fast to the truth of Christ’s resurrection and proclaim this good news as we await His return.
-How will you respond in faith to the good news of Jesus’ resurrection?
-What are some ways your family can encourage one another with the truth of the resurrection to live in grace and obey God’s call on your lives?
-With whom will you share the good news of Jesus that they might believe and be saved?