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Jesus in Gethsemane, Annie VallottonThis Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane Sunday School lesson and resource forum is part of's Palm Sunday to Good Friday, to Easter Morning forum of resources.

Drama, Puppet, and Storytelling Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for Teaching Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane.

Post your Sunday School drama, puppet, and storytelling lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane.

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Including: Luke 22:39-51, Mark 14:36, Jesus, take this cup away, pray, not my will, thy will be done, disciples asleep, arrest, betrayal, etc.

Bible lessons for Jesus in The Garden of Gethsemane -with Drama, puppets, scripts, skits, acting, newsroom, etc.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer
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We will have our Drama workshop (primary & above) act of the scenes in the garden of Gethsemane In full costume. Jesus Praying, Judas' betrayal with a kiss, the soldiers arresting Jesus...and peter's outrage and lashing out.... Time permitting, we may also act of Peter's denial & remorse. 

Preschoolers will watch a puppet show of the scenes, and then have the opportunity to use the smaller glove puppets and act out the same scene. Still working on the details, so this is so what a loose idea we are planning for March. April will be the crucifixion, Jesus' conversation with the two thieves as well. 

An idea for STORYTELLING the Bible passage

As you read the story with your students, you will RECREATE the Jerusalem landscape, including the location of the Garden of Gethsemane across from the Temple. (This is a storyteller's device.)   In effect, you are creating a VISUAL MAP OF THE STORY in your student's brains.

You can do this using blankets on the floor, or on a table. You Can Go Big and have the kids help you construct the various places. Or you can go small.

Going Big to me usually means having a roll of duct tape ready and large canvas dropcloths which we will use to 'construct' (drape) the various hills and Temple Mount by draping the cloth over a large table. Chairs or books can be put on the table to represent the Temple itself. A potted plant or evergreen branch can represent Gethsemane.

You and the kids construct the story landscape as you tell the story leading up to the Garden of Gethsemane.  A MAP of Jerusalem would be extremely handy!

Use your imagination, to help the kids use their.

Notes from my Gethsemane~Jerusalem Landscape Bible Study

  1. Place a blanket over objects to make two hills. One hill is the Temple Mount and Jerusalem, the other right next to it is the Mount of Olives. They had supper in Jerusalem Upper Room and walked up into Gethsemane --an olive grove. The name Gethsemane means "the place of the olive press." Ask the children what Jesus could see from there (Jesus was able to look on Jerusalem and the Temple that night). It must have been quite a moving sight for him. Retell the story of Jesus praying while the disciples slept, the arrest, and then point them back to Jerusalem where the trial was held. Place a few objects to represent Caiaphas', Herod's and Pilate's houses in Jerusalem. (Fans of my lessons know I like to use action figures to represent various characters. The kids like that.)
  2. Point out that Golgotha was on a small hill west of the city on the opposite side from Gethsemane where Jesus was crucified. Place a hill there and ask the students to tell you what happened there.
  3. If you want to cover resurrection and/or Walk to Emmaus in this presentation, add those locations. You can add a stone to roll away for the tomb, and a small loaf of bread for the Emmaus Walk, which you can pick up and break/share with the students in conclusion.
  4. Play a Game after your story/discussion. Disassemble your blanket hills of Jerusalem and place the objects aside. Now ask different groups to come forward and see how well they can reassemble the storyline and hills. After they lay it out, ask the rest of the students to judge the results.

If you want to do more about "the locations of Jesus on his last two days in Jerusalem", see my printable Life Of Christ "Map" Activity ~ here at ~ Link.

<>< Neil

Last edited by Luanne Payne

Something for the older children...

Idea for a Skit Describing Jesus' Choice in the Garden of Gethsemane

We know that Jesus choose "thy will," but what was the alternative going through his mind and prayer when he said, "take this cup away from me?"  What did Jesus mean when he said "not my will"? What was "his" will (his options?)  

It may be unsettling to think about it, but it is also honest. Jesus had a choice. He was not God's puppet. His pain in Gethsemane was as real as it was on the cross. Libraries have been written trying to figure out the inner-play between Jesus' human and divine nature. Suffice to say, we don't fully understand it, but we do understand the importance of having a real choice. If loving obedience is going to be real, it cannot be forced.

What was Jesus upset about?  

He had previously said that he would be raised from the dead. Did he doubt that? Probably not. But we know the disciples didn't understand it. Jesus was probably afraid of being arrested, beaten, put on trial and put to death. Who wouldn't? Obedience doesn't inoculate you from emotions. He was probably hoping God might say something, or come up with something to help him avoid the coming pain, not only for himself, but probably for his disciples and family as well.   We don't know how long he entertained that hope of another way, but it speaks volumes to the humanity of Jesus, and the love of God --who through Jesus felt both the pain of death, and abandonment.  In Jesus Christ, God is not only forgiving us, God is saying, "I understand what it feels like to be you."  


In this skit idea, there is a large rock at center stage with a spotlight on it.    Prop rocks are easy to make. Just turn a couple of big brown paper LEAF bags inside-out and overstuff with newspaper. Paint the bags grey. They can be stacked or taped together with duct tape.  Why a rock? There's no rock mentioned in the Gospels, but the area around Gethsemane is a rocky hillside. Tradition and artistic tradition grew up that Jesus prayed on the "rock of agony" which is the site where the Church of All Nations now stands. The rock is an apt metaphor for a place of difficulty. Literally, Jesus was between a rock and a hard place, his choice regarding obedience.

Two groups of students work with a team leader to write up 4 different "prayers" they will present at the rock:  Two things Jesus might have said or asked that night in Gethsemane, and two things God might have said in response to Jesus at the rock that night.  This will produce a total of eight "rock" skits from the two groups. This group work is not easy. Encourage teachers to lead, not dictate.  Discuss some possibilities and write some suggestions on 4x6 cards, then hand the card to a student to "fill out into 3 or 4 complete sentences" that a student can "perform at the rock."  Go over what gets written and help improve it before performance time. (One of the reasons to do this in two different groups is to get a variety of responses.)

The two prayers about, "things Jesus might have said to God." Questions, suggestions (pleas), to change God's mind about what was about to happen to him (the arrest, trial, and death).  Why did he have to go through such a painful death? Was there another way to bring forgiveness? How was this going to affect his family and disciples.

The two prayers about, "things God might have said to Jesus in his prayers that night at the rock."  Answers to why Jesus must be sacrificed. Assurances that it God's plan was working, ...that it would change the disciples and the world. Assurances that God was going to be with him every moment. etc.

Perform: At the teacher's direction, students will walk to the rock, and act out their prayer. Go up in twos, one standing in for God and the other for Jesus at the rock.  This will go by rather quickly.

Life Application Step:

In the following "rock" activity, students will act out "my" and "thy" choices while praying at the rock.

Ask:  When I say, "Jesus' choice that night models obedience to us," what do you think I mean?

Say: All of us face important choices every day. To be kind or mean. To tell the truth or lie. To help or pass by someone in need. To stand up for someone being bullied, or keep quiet. To do your homework or watch tv. To act like Jesus is your Lord, or to act like Jesus is just a story.

What big decisions have you made this week?  Today?  (to come to church)

How do you make important decisions?  Do you weigh the cost?  What are the costs of some of the decisions I've mentioned (say them again).

Say:  We're going to split into our two groups again, and this time, you're going to fill out your cards with examples of two kinds of obedience for each situation I'm going to give you. The two kinds of obedience are:  (1) Being obedient to God's will, what God wants you to do,  and (2) Being obedient only to yourself, what you want to do.  

Students take each situation, and write "skits" on their card to perform at the rock. They must come up with two skits for each situation they choose to perform: a "my will" and a "thy will" (God's will), skit.   The skits can be the person talking to God about the situation, weighing their options, and making a decision. One version of the skit should end with a "my will" (selfish) outcome. The other with doing what's obedient to God.

Situations that can be addressed:

Somebody who's been saying bad things about you at school just walked by. Unbeknownst to them or anybody but you, a $20 bill fell out of their pocket and at your feet.

You have been asked to join a soccer team that plays its games every Sunday morning for 10 weeks at a time, twice a year.

A good friend of yours is really upset because in a week, they will be moving to another school across town (their parents are getting divorced).  Your other friends are saying they won't miss your friend when he/she is gone.

Sitting in class, a student that other people think is gross, walks in and drops a stack of paper all over the floor.

Someone in your church fellowship group is doing some bad stuff to other people at school, but they act normal at church and are a good friend to you at church.

You believe you should pray to God every day, but you have never developed the habit. Your Sunday School teacher suggests you start by getting your family to say "grace" at the table, but some in your family think it's "dumb."

Feel free to come up with new ones.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

The story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane takes place at night, and that makes it a natural for dramatizing with the Shadow Drama technique described and often recommended here at!

Shadow theater requires very little setup, and doesn't burden the students or teacher with elaborate costuming or the need for actors to read scripts -- that's done by a narrator(s).  It can also be used with PUPPETS!

Learn more about this wonderful drama technique

Shadow Theater in Sunday School

See more information along with links to scripts and lessons plans for Holy Week shadow dramas at Stations of the Cross in Silhouette.

Last edited by Amy Crane

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