Family Devotion Idea: Cross and Tomb
*About twice a month, we try to post the outline of a family devotion that you and your kids can do together. Carve out some time with your kids for a fun and creative discussion this week!
Jesus suffered for our sin, died, and rose again, conquering death so that we might join him in heaven.
Matthew 27-28; Luke 24
Wood to make 3 crosses: three 3’ pieces, three 2’ pieces
Six large and six small nails
1 box with lid, the size a case of paper comes in
Paper, pens, crayons
White handkerchief or washcloth
Lesson and Discussion:
*Words that are written in bold are when you, the parent, are speaking. Feel free to use your own words.
In your own words, tell the story of Easter from Matthew 27-28 while you are making the crosses. Help your children understand the schedule of events. Jesus had the Passover meal with his friends, the disciples, on Thursday. He was arrested Thursday night while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was tried on Friday and crucified on Friday. On Sunday he rose from the grave. Everything happened so quickly. It was just five days earlier that he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey with people praising him and calling him “King.”
#1: (This activity can be done over several days. Consider doing Activity #1 and #2 on Good Friday. Activity #3 can be done on Saturday. The kids can find the tomb empty on Sunday morning.) Make the three crosses by nailing the 2’ piece of wood horizontally across the vertical 3’ piece of wood. Connect the pieces one foot from the top of the 3’ piece and in the middle of the 2’ piece. Let the children help make the crosses by nailing two larger nails where the pieces of wood intersect (if you use just one nail and pieces of wood will swivel around). If you are concerned about the wood splitting, then you can pre-drill small holes for the nails. This will also help younger children when nailing.
#2: Make a tomb from the box. Cut a large, slightly oval piece of cardboard from the box top. This will be the stone. Cut a hole about half the size of your “stone” in the side of the box. Turn the box upside down and this will be the tomb. Optional: You can color the stone and tomb using construction paper, crayons, or spray paint.
Using three pieces of paper, draw pictures of Jesus and the two thieves. Each person should be as large as an entire sheet of paper. Optional: You can find images on the Internet by using a search engine to find “Jesus Coloring Pages.” Color Jesus and the two thieves. Tell the story of what happened. Back in Jesus’ day they would punish criminals by nailing people to a cross and letting them hang there until they died. Jesus was not a criminal. In fact, he had never sinned. He is the only one who has never sinned, yet he was hung on a cross. There were two men hung on crosses next to Jesus. These men were criminals. They were thieves. One of these men recognized Jesus was innocent and the Son of God. He believed in Jesus and Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in heaven.” Jesus paid the price for all our sins when he died on the cross. Like the thieves we have a choice to believe Jesus. One thief believed Jesus and the other did not. The one who believed had his sins forgiven and went with Jesus to heaven. Further discussion: Everyone has sinned. Sin is doing the wrong thing. Jesus died for those sins. What are some sins you have committed that Jesus died for? Do you believe in Jesus and believe he died for your sins?
When you are done coloring the pictures, use the small nails and nail the pictures to the crosses. Using duct tape, tape the crosses to the back of the “tomb” box.
Later Friday evening, take Jesus off the cross and put him in the tomb. Also, remove the thieves and put them away.
#3: Saturday night after the children go to bed, remove Jesus from the tomb. Leave the stone rolled away. When the children come down on Sunday morning, let them see Jesus out of the tomb. Retell the story and add (Luke 24) how Jesus visited with his friends, the disciples, before going up in the clouds to heaven.
The resurrection is a rich part of our faith. Take time to marvel with your kids at the tremendous sacrifice of the cross and the amazing power of the resurrection.
If you like this devotion idea, there are hundreds more available from Family Time Training. See the link on the left side of this page for more information.