He Is Alive! An Easter Bible Lesson

Easter Lesson “He is Alive!”
John 11:35; 20:1-18; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22; 1 Timothy 3:16

Note: This post is the most viewed page on the SojournKids site in its history.  If you are planning to use our lesson plan at your church for Easter, then please let us know in the comments how it goes.  We’ll definitely use your feedback to tweak what we do at Sojourn in the future.

Easter Sunday Resources to Accompany this Lesson

THE BIG IDEA: An Introduction for the Teacher and Liturgist:

He appeared in a body,
was vindicated by the Spirit
was seen by angels
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16)

What makes Jesus different from every other religious leader in history?  What makes him different from every other human being in history?  He lived a sinless and righteous life.  So, death had no claim on him.  It could not hold him.  Jesus was, as the apostle tells us, “vindicated by the Spirit.”  Jesus Christ was raised from the dead.  He is alive!  He is risen!  He is risen indeed!

This is the great truth that we celebrate during Easter.  Jesus was dead.  But now he is alive!  But this is not all!  Because Jesus’ resurrection is the central event in our own vindication and salvation, we can also have life:

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)

Today, we will introduce our kids to the one who is himself the Resurrection and the Life, and we will challenge them to trust him alone for life.   Here are our keys for this lesson.  When the lesson is through, each child will know…

  • Jesus was dead
  • But God raised him from the dead
  • Now we can have new life in him

GATHERED STORY (5-10 minutes): Don’t just read it.  Know it and bring it to life!

Good morning, boys and girls! (Good morning!).  Let me tell you a story.  This is a story about what happened after Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus died on a Friday.  It was a very sad day.  It was sad because Jesus’ friends didn’t know what was going to happen.  They didn’t understand why Jesus had to die.

Late on that Friday afternoon, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross.  It was wrapped in long strips of cloth.  And it was buried in a rich man’s tomb.  A large stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb, and soldiers were standing outside to make sure that nothing happened to Jesus’ body.  Jesus was dead.

The Bible tells us (hold up your Bible or open to John 20) that this is what happened next:

Early on Sunday morning when it was still dark, Jesus’ friend, Mary Magdalene, went to the tomb and saw that the large stone that was rolled over the mouth of the empty tomb was gone!  So, she ran away.

Why do you think Mary ran away?  (Let the children answer:  Was she afraid?  What could have happened?  Jesus’ body was not there.  The stone had been moved.)

Mary ran to two more of Jesus’ friends, Simon Peter and another friend that Jesus loved very much.  So, Peter and the other friend that Jesus loved ran very fast to the tomb.
(Have the children stand and run in place.)

The second friend ran so fast that he beat Peter there.
(Have the children stop and sit down)

Why do you think the friends ran (really animated)?   (Let the children answer:  Were they shocked?  Was it hard to believe what Mary had told them?)

The friend and Peter looked inside the tomb.  They saw the strips of cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ body.  They saw the cloth that had been put on Jesus face.   It was neatly folded in a corner of the room.  The second friend saw and he believed.  What did he believe? Jesus was dead, but God raised him to life.

Do you believe that Jesus is alive?  (Pause).

Mary didn’t believe.  She was sad.  She thought Jesus was missing.  The friends went back to their homes, but Mary stayed at the tomb, and she cried.  Why do you think that Mary cried?  (Let the children answer: She thought that Jesus was dead, and now his body was missing too!)

A man came to Mary.  He said, “Why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?”  Mary said, “If you took him away, please tell me where he is.  I’ll go and get him.”  He said her name, “Mary.”  It was Jesus!  He had been dead.  But now he was alive!  Now Mary believed!  She wanted to touch him and hug him!  Jesus said, “Not yet.  I’m going to the Father.  And he is your Father too!”  Then, Mary ran away.

Why do you think Mary ran this time?  Let the children answer.

Mary had good news!  She was going to tell her friends, “I have seen Jesus! He was dead!   But now He is alive!  He is risen!  And he is giving us life, so that we can live with the Father again!

More Practical Tips and Encouragement

28 Responses to “He Is Alive! An Easter Bible Lesson”

  1. kayla March 12, 2010 at 3:32 PM #

    “Good morning, boys and girls! (Good morning!). Let me tell you a story. This is a story about what happened after Jesus died on the cross. Jesus died on a Friday. It was a very said day” … it says “it was a very SAID day.. instead of sad. :)

  2. kayla March 12, 2010 at 3:37 PM #

    “A man came to Mary. He said, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Mary said, “If you took him away, please tell me where he is. I’ll go an get him.” “… it says AN instead of and. :)

    • Jared Kennedy March 12, 2010 at 11:24 PM #

      Thanks Kayla! Fixed both mistakes.

  3. Carolyn Godshall March 14, 2010 at 4:01 PM #

    I teach 2-3s. How much should this age be told about Jesus’ crucifixion. Do you have a lesson for preschoolers on his arrest and death?

    • Jared Kennedy March 14, 2010 at 7:56 PM #

      We haven’t written a lesson ourselves, but we use the crucifixion lessons for Toddlers from Great Commission Publications’ Show Me Jesus! curriculum. Jesus death is of first importance. We’re not of the philosophy that small children need to be kept from the violence in the Bible as it is told there, whether that is the killing of the Canaanites in the Old Testament or the cross in the New. This is an important part of our Christian history, and the story is incomplete without it. Here are the precautions we take:

      (1) The Bible isn’t illustrated, and we wouldn’t illustrate every graphic scene. Having said this, I think the graphic scenes as illustrated in a book like The Big Picture Story Bible by David Helm are in good taste. Ultimately, I think that the illustrations are an individual judgment call. Some kids and family/church cultures can handle them better than others.

      (2) We do mute the sexual themes in the Scriptures. So long as kids are in our children’s ministry, We defer to parents for teaching on these themes as their kids are ready.

  4. Tim April 1, 2010 at 11:12 AM #

    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HELP WITH THIS INTERACTIVE EASTER LESSON! GOD BLESS YOUR MINISTRY

  5. lettie aiken April 3, 2010 at 8:42 PM #

    THANK GOD FOR THIS MINSTRY. I AM PRAYING FOR YOU . THANK YOU SO MUCH

  6. Maggie March 8, 2011 at 3:06 PM #

    Hooray and Hallelujah! This looks like the perfect thing for our Easter Club, a mini VBS the morning before Easter Sunday. My husband and I would like to use this lesson during “the story” time with each of our groups of children.

    Question: how can I print this large enough so that we can actually read it (we’re 70 years old and the ole eyes ain’t what they used to be). I’ve printed the lesson out, but it only comes out extremely tiny. Thanks in advance!

  7. Maggie March 8, 2011 at 3:08 PM #

    When I printed this lesson, it came out too small to read. How can I print it in the size that shows on my monitor!

  8. ashley March 9, 2011 at 8:54 AM #

    God Bless You!

  9. Penny April 15, 2011 at 6:53 PM #

    Looking forward to using and leaarning more of what I can do to teach our children about Jesus and what he did for us. And the gift He gave us through His death and Resurrection. Praying the excitement will come through using your ideas and lessons. Thank you and God Bless what you do to make our time teaching a great experience. I plan on sharing your ideas with our Sunday School teachers, they are looking for ideas.

  10. Maggie June 10, 2011 at 3:16 PM #

    My husband and I used your Easter idea in our church’s Camp Easter–mini VBS the day before. What we needed was “the story” for our part in the program, and we used part of your program. I have to confess that we made changes to suit our situation, and probably changed it all together, but I want to report back to you what we did, especially since you went out of your way to e-mail the program to us.
    Briefly–we set the scene as we told the children that it was Good Friday, and that we felt so sad because Jesus had died. We talked about the purpose of his death on the cross. We prepared them for the next thing by explaining that there wasn’t time to properly bury Jesus using all of the oinments (okay, the little kids understood handcream as a description!) We said that we would have to return after the Sabbath to do the job right. Then each child took a strip of cloth that I had torn from a sheet, and we went into a nearby small room where one of our teen boys was lying on a kid’s height table. We had prepared them for what we would see. The room was only faintly lighted. Each of us–child and adult escorts–then laid a strip of cloth on “Jesus,” to symbolize our burying him. (One little girl was so sad, way too sad for 4 years old, and so I had her give our teen’s arm a squeeze as I told her who it was.) As we left that room, we slammed the door and explained that we had rolled the stone over the tomb.
    Then back to our story room to talk about what had happened, and again why Jesus died. THEN: all of us girls pretended to be Mary Magdalene. We took our pretend pots of oinment and went back to that room–and Glory! found the door open, the stone rolled away, and Jesus gone! We Mary Magdalenes hurried back to the story room and told the boys–who were all Peter and John, that Jesus was gone from the tomb.
    Boys and girls alike hurried back to the room and crowded in to see that the strips of cloth were lying there and the square face cloth was folded at one end of the table. As we left the room, I pretended to hear the angel say: do not be afraid for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here–He has risen, just as he said. (Absolutely my all-time favorite Bible verse which we have the kids memorize in our Sunday School.)
    We trouped back to the story room, talked about what that meant. Then they got to write their names on small strips of the same cloth that had wrapped Jesus.
    That meant that we put our sins on Jesus, and we stuck them in the chicken-wire wrapped cross that our church has.
    And finally we gave each child 2 dollar-store lilies–one to put on that cross, and one to keep as a reminder that Jesus is alive. We also led them in a “salvation prayer,” but as a group. The Holy Spirit works as he will and one 5-year old took it to heart and loudly announced that she had asked Jesus into her heart. And she was eager to tell others! A 4th grader was visiting with her slumber party group who came at the invitation of the little hostess. She also had turned to Jesus! And she is one of the lunch buddies that we sponsor at her school.
    Okay, pause to enjoy with awe the mystery of God at work in lives.
    Oh, and the little one who was so very sad about Jesus dying?–as we talked about he rose from the dead, her little face lit up and she shouted: “God loves me!”
    IOt doesn’t get any better than this.
    I guess, we did change things a fair amount, but your program gave us grist for our mill and produced fruit in the kingdom. From the bottom of our hearts we thank you. Maggie and Ralph

    • Barbara March 28, 2012 at 5:20 PM #

      Your website is a blessing to me. I teach two little boys in our very small congregation. It’s hard to find material suited for them that is exciting and informative. I’m eager to use my first lesson this Palm Sunday. This Easter lesson sounds like just like what I need for my Easter lesson. Thank you so much for your ministry. P.S. I’m a Southern Baptist too!! That’s a good thing!

      • Jared Kennedy March 28, 2012 at 10:31 PM #

        Thanks Barbara. We’re blessed that you find our materials helpful.

    • misty scott April 5, 2012 at 11:29 AM #

      Thank you for sharing this lesson idea. I love it and am going to try it for Resurrection Sunday this week. Was praying and asking God what to do and I believe this is perfect. Thank you again!

      Misty Scott

  11. Karen March 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM #

    This is great!

  12. Karen March 31, 2013 at 8:05 AM #

    Thank you so much! :) This was really helpful. I’ve used it today

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