The Crucifixion

Scripture: Matthew 27, Luke 23, John 19 or pages 450 – 455 in The Golden Children’s Bible

Target Age Group:  1st through 6th grade

Welcome the children to the classroom and chat with them about their week as they gather around the table.

Pray and ask God to teach the children not just head knowledge, but also heart knowledge.

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Bible Lesson:
Have the children open their Bibles to Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19 or pages 450 – 455 in The Golden Children’s Bible.  I have written pieces of each chapter to put the story in order as it is written in The Golden Children’s Bible.  This is a long story, so stop along the way to ask questions that highlight the events.

(Read the story to the children because at this age some of the children do not read smoothly, which hinders comprehension for the whole class.)

The Golden Children’s Bible p. 450 – 455

Matthew 27: 27 – 31

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.  They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

  • What did the soldiers dress Jesus in? a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns.
  • What did they put in his right hand? a staff
  • What did they say to him? “Hail, king of the Jews!”
  • Then what did they do to him?  They spit on him and hit him in the head with the staff many times.
  • Can you imagine how Jesus must have felt?

Luke 23 : 26 – 34

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed.  When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

  • What did the soldiers make Simon from Cyrene do?  carry Jesus’ cross for him
  • When he was crucified, what did Jesus say? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

John 19: 23 – 27

When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

“Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”

So this is what the soldiers did.

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

  • What prophecy was fulfilled?  That the soldiers would cast lots for his garment.
  • What does it mean to cast lots?  It would have been a game to win his garment – like tossing a coin, or drawing straws.
  •   What did Jesus say to his mother?  “Woman, here is your son”
  • What did he mean by that?  John was to take her into his house and take care of her as his mother.

Matthew 27: 39- 49

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him.  “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”  In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.  About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink.  The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

  • What happened from noon until three in the afternoon?  It got dark
  • At three, what did Jesus say?   “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
  • What drink did the soldier offer Jesus?  Vinegar
  • Have you ever tasted vinegar?  It’s pretty bad isn’t it. That would have been a terrible drink.

Luke 23 : 38 – 49

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

  It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (And after this he said, “It is finished.”) When he had said this, he breathed his last.

  The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”  When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.  But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

  • What did the sign above Jesus say? THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS
  • How did the criminal insult Jesus? “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
  • The other criminal defended Jesus saying that he was being crucified even though he was innocent.  He then said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  How did Jesus answer him? “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
  •   What happened to the curtain in the temple?  It was torn in two.
  • Does anybody know why the curtain was torn in two?  Because we can pray directly to God through Jesus now instead of going through the priest.
  •   What did the centurion say when Jesus died? “Surely this was a righteous man.”
  • If Jesus didn’t sin, why did He die on the cross?  (Remind the children of the story of the passover lamb that had to be perfect.  To pay for our sins, Jesus had to be perfect, too.)
  •   How do you think that you would have reacted if you had been there an watched this happen? 

John 19: 31 – 34

     Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.  The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.  But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

  • Why did the soldier pierce Jesus side with a spear?  To make sure that he was dead

Matthew 27: 57 – 66

  As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him.  Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,  and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.  Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

  The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.  “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’  So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

  “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.”  So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

  •   Who’s tomb was Jesus buried in? Joseph of Arimathea
  •   Why did the priests and Pharisees ask Pilate to seal the tomb?  Jesus had promised that he would rise in 3 days, so they didn’t want the disciples to steal the body to make it look like he had risen from the dead.
  • How did they secure the tomb?  They sealed it and posted a guard.
  • Let’s pray and thank Jesus for dying on the cross for us…

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During the remaining class time do activities that help to reinforce what the children have learned. Here are some suggestions…

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Memorize the verse.

1 Peter 3:18a   “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”

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Share  the object lesson “Paid in Full” from Sermons4kids

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Have the children make the “Colors of Christ” cross necklace.

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Make cross Stained Glass Window Sun Catchers from Crafting the Word of God.

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Read the story “Finished” by Keys for Kids.

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Share the clip of this story from “The Jesus Film”   or “The Story of Jesus for Children”

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Have the children use colors or pastels to draw their own vision of the story on a sketch pad page. Or have them color a color page related to the story.

Color page #1

color page #2 (scroll down)

color page #3

color page #4

color page #5

Color page #6 from What’s in the Bible?

There are several color pages here.

An excellent color page book is “Through-the-Bible Coloring Pages For Ages 4-8” by Janet Skiles.  The pages are reproducible.

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Have the children fill in this forgiveness worksheet , or this sign on the cross worksheet from Bible Wise.

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Sing “He Made Him”, “All We Like Sheep” or “Wages” by Mary Rice Hopkins.

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Serve cross shaped sugar cookies for snack time.

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Evaluate what the children have learned.  While they are coloring or crafting ask each one what they learned today.

Send each child’s parent an e-mail (or a hard copy) of the Parents’ Page.

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