Empty Tomb and Resurrection
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will create "Empty Tomb Rolls" using Crescent Rolls and a half of a large marshmallow. When baked, the marshmallow melts and the "tomb" is empty! In addition, while the rolls are baking, a review game similar to Hot Potato will be played, using Resurrection Eggs.
John 19:1-3, John 19:28-30, Luke 23:27, John 19: 38-40, Matthew 27: 59-66, Mark 16: 1-6
- Review the events of Holy Week.
- Experience that the tomb was empty on Easter morning.
- Discover the significance of the empty tomb on Easter morning.
- Review Bible Background notes
- Gather the materials.
- Make the Empty Tomb rolls once at home so you know how it works
- Prepare the ingredients to use each week
- Time your lesson so that there is enough time to make the rolls, bake them, eat them, and do the journaling.
- Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the crescent roll package.
- Packages of crescent rolls (1-2 packages per week)
- Wax Paper
- Plastic zipper bags
- Pecans (beware of nut allergies!)
- Wooden spoons, plastic hammers, etc (1 per child to beat the pecans)
- Vinegar and cup to pour vinegar in
- Plastic Spoons (1 per child)
- Large marshmallows cut in half—one half per child
- Cupcake liners
- Permanent marker
- Muffin tins
- Resurrection Eggs—a set of 12 eggs with various symbols inside each egg. Do not use the eggs with the coins, leather, die or spear (we haven’t covered that in our stories). You could replace these with a heart (God’s love), crumbled black paper (sin), sad face (how Jesus’ followers felt).
(Teacher lesson begins after "Shepherd time"—we call our "shepherds" "guides." They will review/ask questions about what happened last week.
Make sure you have your nametag on. Introduce yourself to the students.
Open with a prayer if guide did not.
Introduction & Bible Story:
Have the children wash their hands before starting the activity.
We are going to learn about Jesus’ death and resurrection as we make some rolls (do NOT call them “empty tomb” rolls because we want the students to discover for themselves that the tomb is empty). As you hand out each ingredient, read (or have the older students read) the related Bible passage. Don’t tell the children that beating the nuts is like the soldiers beating Jesus—let them come to that realization on their own.
- Give each child a small piece of wax paper with a crescent roll piece of dough on it and a Q-tip and a plastic spoon.
- Place Pecans in zipper baggy and let children beat them with the wooden spoon or other implement to break into small pieces. Read John 19:1-3 (where Jesus was beaten by the Roman soldiers after His arrest). Place the nuts on the dough (if desired—some kids may not like nuts). You could have several children beat one baggy of nuts.
- Let each child smell the cup with vinegar and ask what that smells like. Dip their Q-tip in the vinegar and gently rub on the dough. Read John 19:28-30 (Jesus was given vinegar to drink when He was on the cross).
- Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest onto the dough. Read Luke 23:27. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
- So far the ingredients are not very appetizing and the story hasn’t been very happy. Sprinkle a little sugar into each child's hand. Let them taste it and sprinkle the rest onto the dough. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
- Have the children sprinkle the dough with some cinnamon. Each child should place a ½ marshmallow in the center of the dough and then fold the dough up around the marshmallow. Pinch the dough closed. You and the guides should make sure that the dough is pinched close. Read John 19: 38-40 (Jesus’ body is wrapped with spices).
- Put the rolls in the cupcake liners, pinched side down. Earlier, while the lesson is going on, the guides should write each child’s name on the outside of a cupcake liner (so that each child gets “their” bun after they are baked). Place the muffin tins in the oven. Read Matthew 27: 59-60 (Jesus is placed in the tomb).
- Give each child a piece of masking tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt. 27:65-66. You could ask the older children why they sealed the tomb (so that no one could steal the body).
You will have some time while the rolls are baking. Play a review game with the Resurrection Eggs (similar to Hot Potato). Have the children form a circle (standing or sitting around the table). Hand them one egg, which they will pass around the circle. Play music or just say stop at some point. The child left holding the egg should open it and tell what part of Holy Week/Resurrection it stands for. Repeat until all the eggs have been opened (or the rolls are done!). Try to give everyone a chance to open an egg.
When the rolls are done (and cooled a little), hand them out to the students. Once everyone has a roll, tell them they may eat them.
Ask them what they discovered.
What do they think that means in relation to the story.
Read Mark 16: 1-6 (the empty tomb).
Ask the students:
Why was the tomb empty? (Jesus was risen from the dead).
What does that mean for us? (Our sins are forgiven; we will go to heaven to be with Jesus after we have died).
Journal Topic (last 5 minutes of class):
Help the guide to hand out pencils/pens and the student folders. Place the sticker with the journaling topic on a blank page. The children should find a place to sit quietly and think and write in their journals. You and the guide may need to help the younger children with their writing. Another option for younger children is to draw a picture about the topic.
Journal Topic (Older children): What would your reaction have been if you had been at the empty tomb on the first Easter morning? Why?
Journal Topic (Younger children): Same as older children.
Dear God, Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Thank you for the new life that we have because of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Amen.
Guide ("Shepherd") Information
1. Detailed Summary of Activities: The students will be making “Empty Tomb” Buns. Different Bible passages related to the crucifixion will be read as the students are working with various ingredients: nuts, vinegar, salt, sugar, spices (cinnamon), dough, marshmallow. As the dough bakes, the marshmallow will disappear—the Resurrection!
2. How the guide might help (this might be changed by the teacher): Help pass out ingredients. Help the students roll up the marshmallow into the crescent roll dough. Help the students find/read the Bible passages. As the lesson is being presented, write each child’s name on the outside of a cupcake liner (so that each child gets “their” bun after they are baked).
A lesson written by Cathy Walz