Editor’s Note: Holy Week (April 17-24, 2011) is arguably the most significant week of the year for Christians. Deeply meaningful for adults, the events we observe can sometimes confuse or trouble young children. If you’re a children’s pastor, a Sunday school teacher, or a parent looking for a way to clarify Holy Week events and help younger kids connect with them, consider using the Jesus Lives! Come and See! Gospel Easter Egg.®
Here’s the free downloadable Ministry Message that accompanies these materials. You can download a copy, duplicate it, and send home with children, encouraging them to share it with their parents:
The week Jesus died is called “Holy Week.” During Holy Week, Christians remember all that Jesus did to make us God’s very own children! It’s a very sad time because we think about how Jesus had to suffer and die. But it’s a very happy time, too, as we remember our Savior’s love for us and his victory over sin and death. This placemat will help us think about the things Jesus did for us. We can talk about those things together.
Getting to the Heart
Who are the people in frame 1? What is happening here? (Give the children time to think and tell what they know. Then read Mark 11:1–11, perhaps from a children’s Bible.)
The day this happened is called “Palm Sunday.” All the people cheered when Jesus rode by. They waved palm branches like flags. They shouted, “Hosanna,” which means, “Save us!” They thought Jesus had come to be their king or president, a powerful ruler who would make them rich and happy here on earth.
What was Jesus really doing in Jerusalem? He went there to die on the cross so our sins could be washed away. Jesus had come to Jerusalem to save them—to save them and to save us from sin! (Help the children add palm branch stickers to the placemat.)
(Then look at frame 2 and read the sentence there. Ask:) Who is the person in the picture? (Jesus.) Why is there a table in the picture? What happened at that table? (After the children speculate, read John 13:1–17, again from a children’s Bible. Then ask:)
- How did Jesus serve his friends that night? How did Jesus serve us that night and the next day, too?
- What are ways we can serve others in our family? What other people could we serve?
(Help the children affix the towel and basin, bread, and chalice stickers to the placemat.)
(Then read aloud the sentences from frame 3 on the placemat.) Christians call the day Jesus died “Good Friday.” On that day, Jesus died for all our sins, all the wrongs we have done. Good Friday is good—very, very good for us—because on that day Jesus washed our sins away. We are very sorry for our sins, but we are very happy because of Jesus’ love.
(Read Mark 14:16–20. Affix the crown of thorns sticker to the cross in frame 3 of the placemat. As you do that, say:) Once, Jesus wore a crown of thorns for us. But now he wears a king’s crown (Revelation 14:14). Jesus is the King of Love! One day, our Savior Jesus will give us and all his faithful people the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
(Next read the sentences from frame 4 on the placemat and ask:) What is “Resurrection Day”? For Christians, that day is the happiest day of all! Why is that? (Help the children answer, if necessary.)
Let’s put the rest of our stickers on the placemat right now to help us remember what happened on that first Easter Sunday morning! (After doing so, read Mark 16:1–7, and then talk about Resurrection Day, using questions like these:)
- What good news did the angel tell the women?
- What makes Resurrection Day an especially happy day for you?
The angel said to the women, “Go, tell the disciples that Jesus is alive!” God has given us the same happy news. How could we “go, tell” it? With whom could we share?
Jesus is alive. Our sins are gone. Death is defeated. We will live with Jesus—now and forever. What great news we get to share!
Dear Jesus, you are our best friend forever. You died for our sins and you rose again to win the victory over death. Now we belong to you forever. Teach us to love and trust you always. Help us to love and serve other people. Help us share the good news of your love. We love you, Jesus! Amen.