The Walk to Emmaus
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Hear the story from three storytellers – the woman at the tomb, and two travelers who met Jesus. The students come to understand the concept of being on a journey with Jesus as they take a “walk along the road to Emmaus” (or a jaunt through the church building). [Note: 1st – 3rd graders visited this workshop.] For scripture and objectives - see above.
NOTE: This workshop requires one “workshop leader” and three different storytellers. One storyteller is dressed as the woman outside Jesus’ tomb. The other two storytellers represent the travelers who met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. The workshop leader handles other duties including prayer, Bible story reading, discussion, and guiding the students in the activities of the lesson. A Shepherd will also be present with the children.
- Read the scripture for this lesson.
- Read and reflect on the overview material provided for this lesson.
- Gather the following materials:
- Adventure Bibles (for 3rd grade and up)
- Bible story book: Bible Stories for Children (for 1st and 2nd grade)
- Easel; appropriate marker
- Storyteller’s scripts (see end of lesson)
- Costumes for the storytellers
- Sign saying “Jerusalem” pointing in one direction and “Emmaus” pointing away
- The Humongous Book of Bible Skits (with CD of background noise) and CD Player (optional)
- For full effect, set up a "tomb" (optional)
- The Storytellers should practice their story using the script given to them.
- The Workshop Leader should write the key Bible verse with the scripture reference on the easel.
- Put the sign out in the hallway outside the door to the room.
- Cue track 45 of the CD from the book The Humongous Book of Bible Skits. Set CD player to REPEAT.
Gather everyone in the storytelling tent. Greet your students warmly, welcoming them to the Storytelling Workshop. Introduce yourself and any other adults.
Say: Today we will have some special guests – visitors dressed as if from Bible times to will help us to hear our story. They will tell us about the events that happened on the very first Easter. First, let’s start with prayer.
Ask for any prayer requests. Ask if anyone would like to lead the group in prayer. Be prepared to say a prayer yourself, working in prayer requests. Use the Lord’s Prayer as the ending. A suggestion: “Dear God, We are so thankful that you are with us everyday. Help us to realize that we take this journey called life, together. Help us to see you in those around us. (End with the Lord’s Prayer) Amen.”
Ask: What holiday did we just celebrate? (Easter)
What happened on the first Easter? (Jesus was raised from the dead)
Why is that important to celebrate Easter? (allow a few answers)
Say: It is important to celebrate because it shows God’s power. Jesus is alive! Because of this we can know that we have a chance of a new way of living. Our sins are forgiven! Isn’t it wonderful to know that God gives us a second chance even when we mess up?
Today we’re going to be hearing our Bible story from several storytellers. They will tell us what happened on the very first Easter Sunday. Let’s go over to where Jesus’ tomb is, and hear from our first storyteller.
Do: Have the children move over to sit down outside “the tomb.”
Start the CD player.
The “woman-outside-the-tomb” takes over
Tell your story. (See script at end of lesson) When you are finished, turn the class back over to the workshop leader.
The workshop leader leads... Story reading:
Say: Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Ask: Does anyone know what else happened on that day – the first Easter – long ago, when Jesus rose from the dead? (accept a few answers – Jesus showed himself to others)
Say: Let’s go back under our tent to take a look in the Bible for our story.
Do: Gather everyone back under the tent.
Ask: Where do we find stories about Jesus, in the Old Testament or the New Testament?
What are the names of the first four books of the New Testament?
What do we call these four books of the Bible? (the Gospels)
For 3rd grade and up:
Make sure that everyone has access to an Adventure Bible. Have students find the Gospel of Luke.
Ask: Does everyone remember the quick way to find the New Testament? (Open the Bible at its halfway point. Take the back half and divide it in half – you will be close to the beginning of the New Testament.)
What do the Gospels tell about? (stories of Jesus’ life, his death, & how he rose again)
Say: The word “gospel” means good news. It is good news that Jesus is alive!
Do: Have them find the story in Luke, chapter 24, verse 13.
Ask: What is the title of our story? (look in Bibles – “On the Road to Emmaus"Do: When everyone has found the story, ask them to follow along as you read verses 13-35.
For 1st and 2nd graders:
Do: Show the picture on page 314-315 of the book, Bible Stories for Children as you read the following story. [Consider asking the students to tell you the story instead of you reading it to them. Fill in any missing details.]
---------------------It was the end of the first Easter day and it was getting dark. Two of Jesus’ friends were walking from Jerusalem to a small town named Emmaus. They were very sad because Jesus had died. As they were walking, a man began to walk with them. He asked what they were talking about.
“We were talking about Jesus,” they answered. “Haven’t you heard about what has happened in Jerusalem? Jesus died three days ago. Some women are saying he is not dead, but that he is alive! We don’t understand what is going on.”
This stranger walked quietly beside the two friends. He listened to everything they said. Then he told them some wonderful things: “Long ago God promised to send a Savior into the world. God said that that Savior would die and that he would live again.”
When they reached the town of Emmaus, the man wanted to keep going further down the road. The friends urged him to stay with them. “The day is over. It is dark. Please stay with us.” So the man did.
They all sat down at the table for supper. The man took bread, gave thanks to God, broke the bread and gave it to them. Immediately their eyes were opened and they recognized the man. IT WAS JESUS! But then, Jesus was gone. The two friends were so amazed. They had seen Jesus alive!
The men were so excited; they ran all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the others. “It’s true!” they said. “Jesus is alive!”
For all students: Discussion
- Who did the two travelers meet along the road to Emmaus? (Jesus)
- Did the two travelers recognize Jesus when they first met him? (no)
- I wonder why they didn’t recognize him? (allow a few answers)
- When did they recognize him? (when he broke bread with them)
- Breaking bread…what does that remind you of? (Communion)
Say: When we take Communion – the bread and the grape juice – it is to remind us of what Jesus has done for us. Because he died, our sins our forgiven. When we share the bread and the cup of Communion it gives us a chance to recognize God as active in our lives because he has forgiven us.
Say: I would like us to now pretend that we are in Jerusalem. Let us pretend that it is the first Easter. We have just heard the report that Jesus’ tomb is empty. What does this mean? Let’s go on a little journey – let’s head for the village of Emmaus and see what happens.
The time of traveling:
Remind everyone that there will be no running on our little trip. Insist that you are always in the lead. Remind everyone that Emmaus was about 7 miles from Jerusalem. Head left out of the room. (Travel around your church. If weather permits and it's possible, go outside.)
We stopped by our time line...
Why are we sending kids out to look at our timeline? Well, we are mighty proud of our time line! It is a work of art! For pictures view
the artist's web site
(Click on the Murals tab and scroll down to click on First United Methodist Church in Ann Arbor.)
Say: This is what we call a “time line.” It is a way of seeing events that happened as time has passed. There are thousands of years of time pictured here. We can see events are listed on the bottom of the wall along with the dates of their approximate happening. [Point this out.]
Ask: Where can we find God in these pictures?
[There are lots of answers – here’s a hint: look for the color of peachy-orange. See it, for example, in creation, in the proclamation of Isaiah’s words (“unto us a son is born"), and see it in the time line bar during Jesus’ life. The artist purposely painted this color everywhere she saw God.]
Ask: Isn’t it good news to see that God has been involved in our history since the creation of the earth?
[Walk down to the “New Testament” part of the time line.]
Say: God became very involved in our lives when he sent his son Jesus to earth. Jesus came to teach us about God’s love.
[Point out how the story of Jesus’ life is depicted in a circle.]
Say: It is also very good news that God is still involved in our lives.
Do: Head out and eventually meet the two men as storytellers.
Meet the other storytellers, they take over:
The travelers tell their stories.
When you are finished, turn the class back over to the workshop leader.
The workshop leader leads again...
Say: Thank you very much for visiting with us and sharing your story.
Ask: What did the two travelers do after they realized it was Jesus and he disappeared? (they went back to Jerusalem and shared the good news)
Say: Let’s go back to “Jerusalem” where we can share the good news.
Head back to the tent room:
Go back to the room by going past the Chapel and going up via the back stairs.
Sit everyone down under the tent.
Say: We have learned about the experience of the woman who discovered Jesus at the empty tomb. We have heard from the travelers who discovered that Jesus was walking with them. The two travelers were walking with Jesus. They didn’t realize it at first but he was there.
Say: Let’s talk about our lives as being a journey that we are walking. We started our journey when we were born. We didn’t walk at first but we learned. We walked our way through preschool and kindergarten and now we’re in __ grade (fill in the grade).
Ask: Has your journey had some bumps along the way? (accept a couple of answers)
Say: Maybe you’ve had some sad times in your life. Jesus was there with you during those sad times.
Ask: When someone talks about “walking with Jesus” – what do you suppose that means for us today? (Jesus is always with us, walking with us along our journey thru life)
How about in your lives, how do you experience having Jesus in your life – have you recognized him as being there? (be sure to share an experience of having “seen” Jesus in your life)
What can make it difficult to recognize Jesus in your life? (we forget, get distracted, get “busy")
Say: Let’s practice our key Bible verse from our story. It is good to have Bible verses stored in our hearts for when we are feeling the need to remember that what happened to the two travelers can happen for us too.
Repeat the key verse together a couple of times: “Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” Luke 24:31a
Say: May your eyes be opened to the loving presence of Jesus in your life this week and may you share your experiences with others.
If you have extra time:
For 3rd graders and older: Have them find the key Bible verse – Luke 24:31a. Show them the scripture written on the easel. Explain that the “a” means just the first part of the verse. Have them notice that verse 31 in the Bible is longer.
For all students: Have them look in the back of the Bibles at the maps. Have them find Emmaus on the map of “Jesus’ Ministry.” Explain why there is a question mark next to the word Emmaus on the map. (Because the exact location of Emmaus is unknown.)
Crane, Amy. WT Storytelling Lesson.” 2004.
Horn, Geoffrey and Arthur Cavanaugh. Bible Stories for Children. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1980. ISBN: 978-0025540606.
Story for the younger children was adapted from theheights.org preschool lessons which are no longer available on their web site.
For Woman outside the tomb
Hello! Have you come to look to see where Jesus was buried?
Well I can tell you, he is not here! He is alive!
I am still amazed at what has happened. Let me tell you about it.
Jesus had been killed on a cross. It was a horrible way to die. We were all so sad. We were followers of Jesus and we all couldn’t imagine life without him.
I saw them place his body in this cave. You know, a tomb -- where dead bodies are placed. There was a HUGE stone rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb. We were worried about that stone.
You see, very early on Sunday morning, the other women and I came here to the tomb. As we were walking here we were discussing how we’d roll away that stone. You see the other women and I were coming to the tomb with spices. We needed to cover Jesus’ body with the spices. But it turns out that we didn’t have to worry about the stone – it was rolled away!
Then, we saw an angel! The angel told us not to be afraid. Ha! We were terrified! Angels are always telling people to not be afraid. But then this angel told us to peek in the tomb and see that it was empty. And sure enough it was! The angel said that Jesus was alive! We didn’t know what to think.
Then the angel told us to go, and tell Jesus’ other disciples that Jesus was alive.
Well we snapped to attention at the angel’s instructions. We had been so shocked at finding the tomb empty. But now we had work to do – of course – to tell the others!
So we rushed off.
And then… who should we meet on the road… but Jesus! He was alive!
I am just so happy!
You know it is starting to make sense…(look off in the distance)
…all that Jesus has taught us.(pause, then speak slowly)
Jesus died for us so that our sins could be forgiven. What wonderful good news… meeting Jesus on the road.
== The End ==
Storytelling Script for the Men
You will meet the children “on the road” (they will have been traveling around the church a bit). You will meet them outside the... They will approach from the... You can wait in the... until you hear them coming, then go out into the hall and approach them so that it will be like you meet them on the road...
Cleopas: (excitedly) Hello! Have we got some news for you!
Other traveler: You are all followers of Jesus aren’t you?(wait for a reply) Yes. Good, then you know about him having been killed. But, we have the best news!
Cleopas: That’s right…Jesus is alive!
Other traveler: Yes! Alive! We saw him. It was so amazing he was...(you are cut off by Cleopas)
Cleopas: (impatiently) Let me tell them. We saw Jesus! (you use, pacalm yourself, and speak more slowly) We were on the road to Emmaus, that’s our hometown. We had left Jerusalem to go home. We were so sad about Jesus’ death.
Other traveler: Yes, we were just dragging along, talking about the sad events of the last few days.
Cleopas: And then suddenly, there was someone walking with us. We didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
Other traveler:(shaking your head) don’t know how we missed noticing that it was him.
Cleopas: He asked us what we were talking about. Ha! We were kind of surprised. Where had he been that he didn’t know what had happened? I thought everyone knew!
Other traveler: So we told him everything. Including the part about some of the women who had gone to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. The women said that they’d seen angels and that they’d actually seen Jesus alive. We didn’t know what to think.
Cleopas: Ha, ha. Then this stranger…it was Jesus, but we didn’t recognize him yet…he tells us that we were being foolish! (shake your head) He reminded us what the prophets had told us – about how our Savior, the Messiah, would die – not for a crime he had committed but to bring forgiveness from God.
Other traveler: Well, in our traveling together we had reached Emmaus. This man wanted to keep going further down the road. We urged him to stay with us. So he did. He went in to eat supper with us.
Cleopas: He took the bread, (hold imaginary bread in your hands) said a prayer over it and broke the bread (break your imaginary bread)…
Other traveler: And that is when our eyes were opened. We saw that it was Jesus.
Cleopas: Then he just disappeared.
(pause, and look at each other)
Other traveler: We were so amazed. It was Jesus! He’s alive!
Cleopas: Well that’s when we realized we needed to tell the others the news – Jesus is alive!
Other traveler: Come on Cleopas, we need to be on our way…to tell more people.
(start to walk away...)
Cleopas: Isn’t it amazing…we met Jesus on the road.
== The End ==
NOTE: I had trouble finding two men who could be there on all 3 weeks of our Rotation so we ended up using just one male storyteller. Here is his script:
(excitedly) Hello! Have I got some news for you! You are all followers of Jesus aren’t you?
(wait for a reply) Yes. Good, then you know about him having been killed. But, I have the best news!…Jesus is alive!
Yes! Alive! I saw him. It was so amazing. I am so excited I am shaking. I must calm myself to be able to tell you my story.
(speaking more slowly) Cleopas and I were on the road to Emmaus, that’s our hometown. We had left Jerusalem to go home. We were so sad about Jesus’ death. We were just dragging along, talking about the sad events of the last few days. Jesus, whom we thought was to be our Savior, had been killed.
And then suddenly, there was someone walking with us. We didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
(shaking head) I don’t know how we missed noticing that it was him.
He asked us what we were talking about. Ha! We were kind of surprised. Where had he been that he didn’t know what had happened? I thought everyone knew!
So we told him everything. Including the part about some of the women who had gone to Jesus’ tomb and found it empty. The women said that they’d seen angels and that they’d actually seen Jesus alive. We didn’t know what to think.
Ha, ha. Then this stranger…it was Jesus, but we didn’t recognize him yet…he tells us that we were being foolish! (shake your head) He reminded us what the prophets had told us – about how our Savior, the Messiah, had to die – not for a crime he had committed but for our sins…in order to bring forgiveness from God.
Well, in our traveling together we had reached Emmaus. This man wanted to keep going further down the road. We urged him to stay with us. So he did. He went in to eat supper with us.
He took the bread,(hold imaginary bread in your hands) said a prayer over it, and broke the bread(break your imaginary bread) …And that is when our eyes were opened. We saw that it was Jesus. Then he just disappeared.
We were so amazed. It was Jesus! He’s alive! Well that’s when we realized we needed to tell the others the news – Jesus is alive!
Well, I need to be on my way…I need to get back to tell the others about meeting Jesus on the road. (start to walk, heading down the hall towards the Sanctuary)
== The End ==
Written by Carol Hulbert for First United Methodist Church
120 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104