Easter – Trial and Crucifixion
Drama and Puppetry Workshop
Summary of Lesson Activities:
Uses a "picture it" drama activity.
- Review the Background Information, Behavioral Covenant, Teaching Tips and Lesson plan.
- Gather costumes and props needed for drama activity.
- For older grades, you may want to make a copy of the script.
- Label three areas around the stage as: Bethany, Mary and Martha’s Home, The Tomb
General Tips for Drama Facilitators
You may wish to organize costumes or puppets ahead of time to cut down on a flurry of activity and possible hurt feelings. Have props ready ahead of time. This is especially important for the younger children. The older children often are very creative with props and costumes.
You will want to limit the amount of time the children are allowed to dress-up. (They can easily spend the entire class time selecting costumes!)
Be sure that all children are involved in some way. Some children are intimidated by the prospect of being on a stage. Offer them alternative roles as well as the children who do not have main parts. They can always be “sound effects” or “crowds” or stagehands to help change scenery, or video camera operators (for the older children). Remember as well that children can draw the backdrop for the drama on the blackboard or videotape the plays (older children).
To eliminate competition, you may wish to place the names of characters in a hat and have children choose their parts.
Be sure to explain the activity to the children and ask for questions to be sure you are clear.
Even though videotaping the activities may seem unnecessary, videotaping seems to encourage better behavior from the children.
Have fun and make this fun for the children!
- Digital Camera
- Introductions/Opening Prayer: 5 minutes
- Bible Study/Create Storybook: 35 minutes
- Discussion/Review 10 minutes
- Reflection/Closing Prayer: 10 minutes
Gather the children together in the center of the room with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags from Fast Pass. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often and the children may not know you. Tell the children that today you will be creating pictures that tell the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. The pictures will be put together to create a storybook.
Opening Prayer: Pray something like this: “Dear God, You are amazing and wonderful and we praise you. Thank you for this day and for all the people who are here today. Help us to open our hearts and minds to your Word as we study here today.” Amen
Bible Study: Mark 14:43-15:47, Little Kids’ Adventure Bible - pages 348-355
Each workshop begins with the Bible story. One of our primary goals is to improve the children’s Bible literacy! If children did not bring their Bibles from home, use the classroom Bibles. Shepherds should help the children locate the stories. Use the handout “Helping Children Learn to Use their Bibles” and the Background Information to help you introduce the story.
**Remember, that as the rotation progresses, the children will become more familiar with the story. When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know. The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Then you can fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you. One of greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.
Introduce the Story: We are going to do our Bible study in a little different way today. We are going to make “still pictures” that tell the story as we learn about it.
Ask: Where would we find a story about Jesus’ life and death? (gospels in the New Testament). Today’s story is found in all four gospels. What are the gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – first four books of the New Testament)
Say: The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is found in all four gospels, but we are going to concentrate on the account from the gospel of Mark. Let’s find the story in our Bibles now. (Have 3-6 grade children locate Mark 14:43 – 15:47, 1-2 Grade children page 348 - 355. Have the children briefly look through the pages and note the headings on the pages of the story – tell them these are the main parts you will discuss as we create our storybook)
Say: This rotation we are studying about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. This story helps us understand the reason Jesus was born, lived and died. Our memory verse explains it perfectly. Let’s find our memory verse now…
Memory Verse: Each rotation we ask the children to memorize one scripture verse. Have the children locate the verse in their Bibles and review it with them at this time.
Drama Activity: Picture It – Trial and Crucifixion of Christ.
Storybooks are attached for each grade level. (These were made ahead of time using a computer and print-shop type program. The story was divided into several sections with a brief description underneath and room to place a photograph of the children as they “acted out” the scene.)
We will study our Bible story by forming still-life scenes from the Trial and Crucifixion of Christ.
Photograph the “still pictures” using the class digital camera. Print pictures and attach on the appropriate page to books after class. Pages of book will be posted on walls.
Stories can be read by everyone!
Have props and costumes ready for the younger children.Older children will enjoy this exercise more if they are allowed to determine the props they will use.
Digital Camera. You will probably want the shepherd to be photographer.
Computer and printer
Post the story pages on the wall (you can do this ahead of time or do it as part of the activity). This will help the children visualize the activity.
Use your imagination. Remember, a microphone or a recorder or a baton can be used to represent a sword, Children waving the glitter wands can represent a campfire.
Jesus (keep Jesus consistent throughout the pictures).
Different characters for each scene.
Grades 1 & 2 – Storybook attached
Grades 3 & 4 – Storybook attached
Grades 5 & 6 – Storybook attached
See attached “storybook” for the class work. Discuss each page of the storybook as you put it onto the wall. Use the information in the Study Guide that follows to help you with discussion. Discussion of scripture will be more in depth with the older children and as the weeks of the rotation progress.
The older children will also be able to stage their illustrations, select props, and have lots of input. You will need to give much more direction to the younger children.
∑ For the older children, you may want to divide the class and have half of the class acting as stage hands setting up scenes for the other half, the “models.” Jesus is the only model who will need to be consistent for the entire story.
∑ For the “Jesus is nailed to the cross” picture, you could have a cross drawn onto the chalkboard, have “Jesus” stand on a chair in front of the chalk cross and photograph above the chair. Or, there use a cross fashioned from trees.
Bible Study Guide:
Use this study guide and the Bible notes to help you discuss the story as you create the various pages of the Storybook. The Background Information provides additional discussion material.
Jesus is Taken to the Sanhedrin (Grades 1-2: page 348, Grades 3-6: Mark 14:53)
The soldiers and crowd took Jesus away to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest and president of the Sanhedrin. Do you know what the Sanhedrin is?
Locate and read the Did you Know Bible note (Grades 1-2: page 348, Grades 3-6: page 1159): What was the Sanhedrin?
The Sanhedrin was a very powerful Jewish court of religious leaders. They didn’t like Jesus and what he had been teaching. They had been looking for a way to get rid of Jesus since Lazarus was raised from the dead. They were more interested in following the rules that they made up, rather than really doing what God wanted. The Sanhedrin was very powerful, but the Romans were really in charge. As long as the Sanhedrin kept things peaceful and quiet, the Romans let them do their own thing. Caiaphas was the high priest and the president of the Sanhedrin. He was afraid that Jesus was getting people too riled up – all this talk about new Kings and all. Maybe the people would even riot. If that happened, the Romans would take over and take away the Sanhedrin’s power. Caiaphas thought it would be better for Jesus to die, since he was just one man. Then everything would get back to normal.
Grades 3-6 only: People in Bible Times: "Caiaphas" (page 1263)
Now the Sanhedrin was known throughout the world for their just laws. But this night, they broke many of their own laws! (See Background Material for list of broken laws.)
Caiaphas asked Jesus a lot of questions. Lots of people told lies about Jesus and what he had been doing. But Jesus didn’t answer any of Caiaphas’ questions. Finally, Caiaphas asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ? Are you the Son of God?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God.” This made Caiaphas so angry that he tore his clothes. This is blasphemy! This man is claiming to be God, himself. He must die!”
Locate and read the People in Bible Times note: "Jesus" (Grades 1-2: page 289, Grades 3-6: page 1176). Jesus called himself the Son of God and the Son of Man. This means that Jesus is both God and human.
The Sanhedrin was furious! They spit on Jesus and hit him. They found Jesus guilty and said that he must die. But, remember, the Sanhedrin was very powerful, but they didn’t have the power to put anyone to death.
Peter Says He Does Not Know Jesus (Grades 1-2: page 349, Grades 3-6: page 1187)
Meanwhile Peter, Jesus’ disciple, was downstairs in the courtyard. A woman saw Peter and recognized him as one of Jesus’ followers. But Peter was afraid. He said three times that he didn’t know Jesus. Just as he said it the last time, a rooster crowed. Jesus had told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. Peter felt terrible and cried and cried.
"Jesus Goes Before Pilate" (Grades 1-2: page 350, Grades 3-6: page 1187)
Early the next morning, the priests took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. The Sanhedrin could arrest people and punish them, but only the Roman governor could sentence someone to be killed. They wanted Jesus put to death.
Read the People in Bible Times Note: "Pontius Pilate" (Grades 1-2: page 351, Grades 3-6: page 1160)
Pilate asked Jesus lots of questions too. He thought Jesus was innocent. He wanted the Sanhedrin to deal with Jesus on its own. But the Sanhedrin wanted Jesus killed and, remember, they could not do that. They kept after Pilate. Pilate offered to let Jesus go free, since the Romans always let a Jewish prisoner go free during Passover. But the priests and crowd asked Pilate to release a criminal named Barabbas instead. They wanted Jesus to die. The crowd screamed, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Finally Pilate gave in. He ordered Jesus whipped and crucified.
Read the Life in Bible Times note: "Flogging" (Grades 1-2: page 352, “Whipping” Grades 3-6: page 1188)
"The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus" (Grades 3-6: page 1188)
After Jesus was whipped, the soldiers made fun of him. First they put a purple robe on Jesus. Purple is the color of royalty. They made a crown out of thorny branches and pushed it down on Jesus’ head. They made fun of him, laughing and bowing down to him and mocking him by calling him “King of the Jews.” They beat him with sticks and spit on him. Then they took him away to be crucified.
Read the Life in Bible Times note: "The Cross" (Grades 1-2: pages 352-353, Grades 3-6: page 1232).
Grades 3-6 can also read People in Bible Times: "Simon" (page 1188) Explain that Simon would have carried just the horizontal cross piece of Jesus’ cross, not the entire cross as we typically see in pictures. The older children will probably be interested in more of the details of crucifixions. Use the background information to discuss with them.
"Jesus is Nailed to a Cross" (Grades 1-2: page 352, Grades 3-6: page 1188)
They took Jesus away to the place called Golgotha. It means “the skull.” They nailed his wrists and feet to the cross and left him there to die. The soldiers stood guard and made fun of Jesus. They put a sign above his head that read, “This is the King of the Jews.” They cast lots to see who would get to keep Jesus’ robe. (this is kind of like playing a game with dice) Two criminals were crucified on both sides of Jesus. One of them asked Jesus to remember him in heaven. Jesus promised that the man would be in heaven with Jesus that very day.
"Jesus Dies" (Grades 1-2: page 354, Grades 3-6: page 1189) (there is good background information in Journey to the Cross about this section - you might want to have it out for the children to see)
At noon the sky turned dark. It lasted until 3:00. One of the bystanders offered Jesus a sponge soaked with wine vinegar to drink. At 3:00 Jesus cried out, took his last breath and died. Immediately the earth shook and the curtain in the Temple tore from top to bottom. The Roman commander standing in front of Jesus heard Jesus and saw what happened. He said, “This man was surely the Son of God!”
"Jesus is Buried" (Grades 1-2: page 354, Grades 3-6: page 1189)
Joseph of Arimathea, a secret disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. Sometimes it took days for people who were crucified to die. Pilate checked with the Roman commander to make sure Jesus was really dead. Then he let Joseph take Jesus’ body. Joseph wrapped Jesus’ body in linen and put him in a new tomb.
Grades 3-6: People in Bible Times: "Joseph of Arimathea" (page 1189)
Read the Life in Bible Times note: "Burial" (Grades 1-2: page 355, Grades 3-6: page 1265). (This should be review for our children as we have discussed Jewish burial customs in great length during the Jairus’ Daughter rotation and the Raising of Lazarus rotation)
Read the Life in Bible Times note: "Jesus’ Tomb" (Grades 1-2: page 356, Grades 3-6: page 1162).
Jesus’ friends, disciples and family watched all of this. What do you think they were thinking when they saw that Jesus had really died? How do you think they were feeling? How would you have felt if you had watched Jesus die and seen him buried?
But we know that this is not the end of the story… three days later, what happened? We know that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive today! And that is what we celebrate at Easter!
For questions, refer to the Background Information and the section "Meaning of the Cross - FAQs".
The last 10 minutes should be reserved for Journal Reflection time. This is an opportunity for processing and reflection about what the children have learned. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journals and pencils/pens and the journal question sticker for the day. Workshop leaders and shepherds should sit down with children in small groups to facilitate discussion and writing in Faith Journals. Memory verse stickers are also included for each lesson. Children may copy the memory verse and illustrate it as an alternative to journal questions.
Grades 1-2: Has anyone ever lied about you? Draw a picture of that or write a word about how that made you feel.
Grades 3-4: Why do you think people lied about Jesus? Draw a picture of the trial or discuss how it feels when someone lies about you.
Grades 5-6: Do you think it was easy for Jesus to follow his father’s will and die on the cross? Why or why not?
If you still have extra time, review the memory verse by writing it out on the blackboard. Review the verse with the children, then one by one, erase the words until the children can recite the verse entirely from memory. Don’t forget the scripture reference! OR use the Rotation music CD to sing and review the Memory verse.
Prayer: Gather the children together. Review with them one word or concept that they learned during today’s session. (Resurrection, Sanhedrin, Peter’s Denial, Love are some suggestions) Encourage children to come back next week for another workshop, and to invite their friends, especially their friends who do not belong to a church. Remind them to bring their Bibles. Ask for prayer requests and pray together. You may ask one of the children to say the closing prayer, or you may pray something like this, Dear Lord, It makes us sad that people lied about Jesus and that people wanted to hurt Jesus. Please help us to love one another like you love us. In Christ’s name.
Drama Story Book text
Print onto paper or cardstock. Glue children's pictures on the appropriate page.
The Trial and Crucifixion of Christ
After the last supper, Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and asked them to pray with him, but they fell asleep three times. Jesus woke them up and told them it was time to go.
While Jesus was still speaking, Judas came with a crowd and betrayed Jesus by kissing him. That’s how the soldiers knew who Jesus was. The crowd carried swords and clubs.
The crowd of soldiers took Jesus to the high priest, the president of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish court. They were very powerful. The chief priest’s name was Caiaphas. Many people told lies about Jesus to Caiaphas.
Caiaphas asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”
Jesus said, “I am.”
This made Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin very angry. Jesus was saying that he was God. People were put to death for this! Caiphas and the other religious leaders wanted Jesus to die.
While Jesus was with the Sanhedrin, Peter was below in the courtyard. Three different times Peter was asked if he was a friend of Jesus. Peter was afraid, so he denied that he knew Jesus all three times.
Suddenly, a rooster crowed. Jesus had told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rooster crowed. When Peter realized what he had done, he was very sorry. Peter was heartbroken. He cried and cried!
The next day the chief priests took Jesus to see Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate was the one who could order Jesus put to death. He asked lots of questions, but he knew that Jesus was innocent. It was the custom to let a prisoner go free during the Passover feast. Pilate offered to let Jesus go, but the crowds shouted, “Crucify him, crucify him!” And so, Pilate let a different prisoner, Barabbas, go free. He sent Jesus to be crucified.
The soldiers put a purple robe on Jesus like a king would wear and a crown of thorns on his head. They mocked him and called out, “Hail King of the Jews!” They whipped Jesus and spit on him. A man named Simon of Cyrene was forced to carry the crossbeam of the cross. He carried it to the place where Jesus was to be crucified. This place was called Golgotha which means “Place of the Skull.” There they nailed Jesus to the cross. It was 9:00 a.m. Soldiers, priests and passers-by made fun of Jesus while he was on the cross. At noon the sky became black. Jesus cried out to His Father in heaven and breathed his last breath. Then the Temple curtain tore in half and a Roman centurion standing guard said, “Truly, this mans was the Son of God!”
Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. He took Jesus and wrapped his body in burial cloths with spices and ointments. He laid Jesus in a new tomb in the rock. The guards rolled the huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and then sealed the tomb with the governor’s seal. The Roman soldiers stood outside the tomb guarding it to make sure that no one tried to steal Jesus’ body.
On Sunday morning, the women and the disciples went to the tomb, the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty! An angel told them, “He is not here. He is risen!”
Jesus was risen from the dead and is still alive today! That is the miracle of Easter!
(Back Cover page)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will never die but have eternal life.
A lesson written by Jaymie Derden from: State Street UMC
This lesson created and copyrighted by State Street UMC, Bristol, VA, 2003. Permission granted for non-commercial, local church use, provided credit is give to the source.
A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.