GOD S WONDERFUL PROMISE

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1 BOOK 3, PART I, LESSON 7 GOD S WONDERFUL PROMISE THE BIBLE: Luke 23: 50 - Luke 24:35, Psalm 118:24 THEME: We remember that Jesus taught about love and showed love in everything he did. During Lent and Easter, we remember and celebrate God s love made known in Jesus. PREPARING FOR THE LESSON MAIN IDEA: Jesus resurrection shows God s love for the whole world. At Easter, we celebrate God s love with great joy. MEMORY VERSE: The Lord has risen indeed! Luke 24:34a NRSV KEY WORDS AND CONCEPTS TO BE LEARNED: a. Resurrection Three days after Jesus died, he rose from the dead, and now he lives in heaven. When Christians die, they also go to heaven. b. Easter The early Christians chose a special day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. This day is called Easter. BIBLE BACKGROUND: Jewish custom required that a body be washed, rubbed with perfumes and spices, and wrapped in a shroud. It was also the custom that no one could do any work during the Sabbath. The Sabbath began at sundown on Friday evening, and therefore, no one could prepare Jesus body until after the Sabbath. So it was left undone. Women who had followed Jesus from Galilee planned to come back after the Sabbath to perform the task. Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin. Joseph did not agree with the council s beliefs about Jesus. He took Jesus body from the cross and wrapped in cloth and laid it in his own tomb. The tombs were often like caves dug out of rock. A heavy stone was rolled in front of the opening to seal the tomb. UNDERSTANDING YOUR STUDENTS: Children of this age cannot understand the full meaning of Easter. This requires a deeper theological understanding than they have. We are Easter people, but it will be many years before the children can absorb the true significance of Jesus life, death and resurrection. Celebrate the joy of Easter! Concentrate on the greatness of the day and God s unconditional love for the world. Teach the symbols of new life. Help the children identify today as a special day! The full meaning will come later.

2 DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH: Read Luke 24:1-12. Jesus is alive! What does that mean to you? How does the resurrected Jesus make a difference in your life? Read Luke 24: How odd that the two followers of Jesus did not recognize him on the road! Have there been times when you have not recognized Jesus love working in your life? Are there times when you have met God unaware? Think of the children you teach. How do they touch your life and bring God into your life every week? 1. INTRODUCTION TEACHING THE LESSON Today is a special day for the church. Greet the children with great joy. ASK: What is so special about today? (Accept all answers.) What do we celebrate on Easter Sunday? Take out the pictures of the Easter symbols used in Lesson 5 & 6. Review the meaning of the branches, the praying hands, the bread & wine, the cross. SAY: Remember in our last story. We called it The Saddest Day because it was the day that Jesus died on the cross. We said that there was going to be a happy ending to the story. Today we will hear about the happy ending. In fact, we can call today The Happiest Day! 2. EXPLORE THE BIBLE MESSAGE TELL the story: Jesus enemies had finally won. Jesus was dead. He would no longer be a troublemaker. All of Jesus friends were very sad. Everything had happened so fast. The Sabbath was upon them and they had no time to show Jesus the proper respect at burial. They loved Jesus while he was living. Now they could not show him how much they loved him. They even had to bury him in a borrowed tomb. Early on the morning after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and John and Joanna made their way through the quiet city streets to the garden. Since it was still early, the vendors at the market had not even begun to put out their wares for the busy day ahead. The women brought spices to put on Jesus body and linen to wrap his arms and legs. This was according to Jewish custom. The women wanted to give Jesus a proper burial despite all that had happened. But who will roll the heavy stone from in front of the tomb if it is much too heavy for us? asked Mary Magdelene. In Jesus day, caves were often used as tombs. A big, heavy stone was put in front of the cave door. The women knew that it would be too heavy for them to move. Perhaps there will be a groundskeeper or a gardener. We can ask him. said Joanna.

3 But when the women came into the garden, they stopped where they were. The stone had already been rolled away. Fearing trouble, the women slowly walked to the tomb and looked into the cool darkness. It was empty! The women were confused. They were frightened. They did not know whether to stay or to run away as quickly as possible Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive?, a voiced asked. The women turned quickly, dropping the jars of oil and spices and the baskets of linen bandages. They saw two men in dazzling white clothes sitting outside the tomb. They did not recall seeing them there before. They were certainly not the groundskeepers. He is not here, continued the man who had spoken, He has been raised. Remember, this is what Jesus told you would happen. At once the women did remember Jesus words. We must tell the others! exclaimed Mary, They must hear of this wonderful thing! Jesus is alive! And as they went to tell the disciples, Jesus met them. They were puzzled and afraid. Jesus said: Don t be afraid, go tell the disciples to go to Galilee and they shall see me there. The women hurried back to the city to find Peter and the rest of the disciples. Then they found the disciples, they told the story about how the stone was rolled away and about the two strangers. But Peter could not believe it. Are you sure you are not dreaming or making this up? Peter asked. No, said Mary, Go and see for yourself. So, Peter ran all the way to the garden and looked into the tomb. He saw the linen cloth and nothing else. Now he knew that God had truly raised Jesus from the dead just a Jesus had promised. His friend and teacher was alive! On the same day two other followers of Jesus were traveling to a nearby village. As they traveled, they talked about the things that had happened. Suddenly a stranger joined them on their journey. It was Jesus but they did not know it. What are you talking about? asked the stranger. Are you the only person in this country who hasn t heard about Jesus the man they crucified and whose tomb was found empty? asked the one called Cleopas. The two began to tell the stranger all the news. When the time came to stop for the night, the two invited the stranger to stay and eat with them. During the meal, the stranger took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them to eat. At that moment, the men knew that the stranger who was eating with them was really Jesus. But just as suddenly as he had appeared on the road, he was gone. Cleopas and his friend hurried back to the city. They found the disciples and told them what had happened. Jesus the Lord has risen indeed! they exclaimed. ASK: 1. Why were the women coming to the tomb? (You may want to explain that is was forbidden for a Jewish person to do any type of work on the Sabbath. For this reason, the women had to wait

4 until the Sabbath was over to prepare Jesus body.) 2. What did they discovered when they got there? (The stone had been rolled away and the tomb was empty.) 3. Who did the women meet when they were going to find the disciples? (They met Jesus!) 4. To whom else did Jesus appear in the story? (Jesus met the two followers of Jesus who were walking on the road.) 5. At first these followers did not recognize Jesus. How did they finally recognize Jesus? (At the end of the day they all went to eat together. Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and gave it to them. Right away they knew it was Jesus.) 6. Why should we call this the happiest and the saddest week of all times? (Jesus was dead and Jesus was alive again.) 3. RESPOND TO THE BIBLE MESSAGE ACTIVITY 1: Symbols (Artist: Draw pictures of eggs, flowers, butterflies and any other symbols of new life that is familiar to the children. Draw the picture to be duplicated for coloring. Include these in the teacher s book.) (Teacher: Make copies of the symbols for the children to color or have the children draw their own symbols.) Talk about the meaning of the symbols. SAY: Symbols are pictures of things that help us remember something. For example, our flag is a symbol of what? (Our country.) SAY: For the past weeks, we have been looking at symbols of Easter. Today we add one more symbol an empty tomb. What does that remind us of? (That Jesus rose from the dead.) SAY: Let us look at other symbols that remind us of Jesus resurrection and new Life: EASTER EGGS: Long before Jesus was born, eggs were a common gift to celebrate the new life of spring. Christians adopted this custom. They would decorate the eggs and give them as gifts to celebrate the new life Jesus gives. FLOWERS: When a seed or bulb is planted in the ground and comes up in new life, it reminds Christians of the new life that Jesus gives us. BUTTERFLY: The butterfly begins life as an egg and becomes a larva (caterpillar). Then a marvelous thing happens. The caterpillar spins a cocoon around itself and then inside this cocoon wonderful changes happen. The caterpillar becomes a butterfly. These changes remind us of new life God gave to Jesus. These changes also remind us that we become like new people when we decide to follow Jesus.

5 4. CLOSE IN PRAYER If possible, give each child a few seeds wrapped in paper. Have the children try to figure out what kind of seeds they are. Then hold up the flowers or picture of the flower and show them what the seed will become. TELL the children: Take these seeds home and plant them. Just like the love of Jesus brought new life to his followers in Bible times, Jesus love brings new life to us. As we watch our flowers grow, we will try to live more like Jesus taught. (If not convenient for each child to take seeds home to plant, plant the seeds in class in a pot or outside the church. Each week have the children check the growth and talk about new life.) PRAY: God, sometimes we may not understand how much you love us. Today we are reminded of how special we are to you, of how much you love us. This is the day that you have made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. AMEN. Suggested pictures: Three women walking to the tomb. They look worried and sad. The same three women looking at the empty tomb. They look surprised. One picture of the three women on the road talking to the risen Jesus, another of Jesus walking with two disciples along the road, and one in a home where Jesus is breaking bread and giving it to the disciples. (This could be three separate pictures or three scenes in one picture.) The symbols: butterfly, flowers, Easter eggs, and any other symbols of new life.

6 This lesson has been quoted or adapted from New Invitation, Grades 1 & 2, Spring, Pgs

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