April: Easter Surprise
Look It Up
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don?t know where they have put him!" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. [The other disciple] bent over and looked at the strips of the linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter ? saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus? head. Finally, the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed (John:20:1-3,5-8).
You?ll need a shoebox with its lid, a white handkerchief, a picture or figurine of Jesus, a small toy soldier and a small bottle of perfume.
Talk it Over
WEEK 1: The Preparation
After you read the passage, wrap the picture or figure of Jesus in the handkerchief. Next, have each family member dab a spot of perfume on the wrapped image of Jesus. Have one child place the wrapped image in the shoebox carefully and close the lid. Talk about what it might have been like for the disciples to see Jesus buried. Ask each person to talk about a time when things didn?t end up the way he or she expected. Leave the shoebox "tomb" in a place where you can see it during the week to remind you of the way the disciples might have felt. End by thanking God for the gift of his Son.
WEEK 2: The Guard
Place the "tomb" in the center of the table. Put the toy soldier next to the box as a "guard." How do you think the disciples felt when they saw the guarded tomb? Why did Pilate order the tomb to be guarded? What was he afraid of? End by asking God to help you trust in his plan for your lives, even when life feels uncertain.
WEEK 3: The Empty Tomb
During the week, remove the image of Jesus from the shoebox while keeping the cloth in place. At the beginning of your time together, set the closed box where everyone can see it. Then ask everyone to close his or her eyes while a parent reads the passage. Ask your youngest child to open the tomb very carefully. Ask the older children to look for Jesus in the linens. Talk about how Mary might have felt when she discovered that Jesus was alive (John:20:10-18). What does it mean to you that Jesus rose from the dead? Leave the box open this week to remind you of Jesus? victory over death.
WEEK 4: The Risen Lord
Read the passage, adding verses 14-16. Bring the picture of Jesus out and have the children take turns reading Mary?s part. What was it like for Mary to realize she was speaking to Jesus? Talk about how God kept his promise to give us eternal life by overcoming death. End by thanking God for his great love.
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" (John:20:18a).
Karen L. Maudlin, Psy.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in family therapy. She also taught in a Montessori-based children?s worship program at her church.
Talk to your child about the way the disciples might have felt after they buried Jesus. Help your child remember a time she was disappointed or afraid. Talk about how she can trust God to always keep his promises. Give her a small handkerchief to keep in her room as a reminder of God?s promise to always be with her.
Ask your child to memorize the Remember This verse. Ask him questions like: What would it have been like for you to be there when the disciples found the empty tomb? Why would it have been hard to believe your eyes? If you were Mary, what would you have said to Jesus?
Either talk with your child or have her write down her thoughts on questions such as: Do you really believe that Jesus rose from the dead? What makes you believe? What, if anything, causes you to doubt? If your child has some doubts, encourage her to talk about them with you, her youth pastor or another Christian adult. Encourage her to learn the Remember This verse as well as John:11:25.
Have each person carry a small handkerchief in his or her pocket, purse or backpack during the month. Each time you look at the handkerchief, think to yourself, I am a child of the risen Lord. How does that feel? Do you believe it? How can this truth affect your day today?
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April: Easter Surprise
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