Focus Passage: Luke 24: 1-12
Memory Verse: “Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.”
Items for Preparation
- Okay, it’s Easter Day. We can’t help it. Bring a candy egg, a cookie, a deviled egg, a plastic egg filled with fish crackers — something as a treat for every child, making sure your group of kids can have the things you bring. Are you aware of food allergies, diabetes and other ailments among your children which might limit what they can eat? Are you aware which children might not have had a good breakfast today? Are you aware that parents have planned for them to have Easter lunch over at Aunt Becky’s house where they have to eat liver and onions and vegetables from Uncle Jim’s garden which they hate? Be mindful.
Read the adult lesson in the Nurturing Faith print edition and find additional material online. Again today, the soaring limitless nature of our textual content is overwhelming. We’re going to focus on the women. Our adult lesson doesn’t really do this despite its title, but we need a narrow focus. We’ll discuss the definition of faith, which includes room for doubt. In the dictionary the preferred definition of faith isn’t a set of beliefs, or some airtight sense of 100% certainty. Faith is a cultivated ability and decision to trust, even in doubt, a commitment. It really is. We looked it up.
[Have your basket or tray of treats ready, but wait til the end of your Children’s Sermon to hand them out. Not one moment early.]
Say: I’ve got an Easter treat for you today, so Happy Easter! I’m going to give you the treat at the end of our Children’s Sermon time; that’s two reasons you’ll be glad it’s over! You’ll have to trust me and wait til the end. Can you trust me? If you can, say Happy Easter! [Wait til they do.]
Say: It’s a happy day for Jesus-followers – the happiest day of the year, even happier than Christmas. Do you know why? [Allow for answers.]
Say: This is the day that the women who were in Jesus’ family and friends went to his grave to put spices on and near his body. This was sort of like when we go to somebody’s grave and take some flowers to place there – have you ever done that? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Jesus had been dead and buried in his grave since Friday night, and it was Sunday morning, which the Jewish people considered the first day of the week. On our calendar, Sunday comes first in the week, too.
Say: The women – remember, as Luke tells the story, it was Mary, James’ mother, Joanna, and Mary Magdalene, who were friends. A lot of women had the name Mary. They went to Jesus’ grave, and what did they find?
[Allow for answers. Don’t give out that treat yet.]
Say: They found the grave, empty. Now, if you went to visit somebody’s grave to put flowers there, and found it empty, what would you think? [Allow for answers.]
Say: Well, you would feel confused. You might be a little afraid. You might also be very curious about what was going on! This is the way these women felt too. Then, two angels came to them, and told them Jesus was risen. The angels reminded them that Jesus had told them he’d be killed and then would rise again, and when the angels said this, the women remembered Jesus had said that. Do you know how they felt then? The writer of Luke says they were afraid! They ran back to tell the other Jesus-followers what happened.
Say: The women who loved Jesus had very deep faith in him. What does it mean to have faith in Jesu? [Allow for answers.]
Say: The women had faith to believe he had told the truth. They had faith to be curious. They had faith to listen to the angels even when it was frightening them. They had faith enough to get very excited, and to run back and tell the other Jesus-followers. The women had enough faith that they became the very first people to share the good news, the very first preachers in the world to say: Jesus is not dead. Jesus is risen. Jesus lives!
Say: We want to have this much faith. We want to make a decision to believe that Jesus lives, and to trust Jesus’ words, and to let the way we live show our happiness and excitement. Starting today, think about your faith in Jesus, and see if you can be like the women who loved Jesus. See if your faith in Jesus can grow between now and next Easter. Happy Easter! Now, if you had faith in me, and trusted that I would give you a treat, then take one! [Give out your treats before you have your prayer.]
Prayer: Say these words after I say them.
O God of Easter,
Thank you for the happiness inside us today.
Let our faith in Jesus grow.
Let us trust even when things are curious.
Let us be like the women who shared good news.
Let us make a decision to be faithful Jesus-followers,
In Jesus’ name, Amen.