We created a themed rotation studying Jesus’ trial. Children were recruited as investigators and collected evidence that Jesus was innocent of his charge of Blaspheme. Each workshop helped students gather evidence and learn more about the story of Jesus’ trial.

Summary of Workshops:

  • Kick-Off Courtroom (ALL): Introduction to upcoming trial, watch video clip, court in session where kids are recruited as investigators, kids' mission for next weeks explained.
  • Creative Storytelling (Games): Exploring the story of Jesus’ trial through the theme of an investigator training school.
  • Cooking:  Hear an eye witness account from Mary Magdalene of the resurrection and while listening students will create pomanders.
  • Drama/Photography: Kids will document evidences that Jesus is the Son of God by photographing shadow scenes depicting events from Jesus’ life. 
  • Storytelling/Computer: We set this workshop up in our computer lab with 4 computers acting as different stations to collect evidence from Peter.
  • Court Room Wrap Up (ALL): Gather again at the courtroom for court session - first: review of the evidence for Jesus’ innocence, secondly: the kids (and teachers) become on trial for sinning against God - Evidence of guilt and defence – 1 Peter 3:18. This session will close with a cheer and songs of celebration that Jesus’ innocent death made the way for sinners to be declared righteous! 


Trial and Crucifixion

KICK-OFF (All students together to introduce theme before workshops)


Summary of Lesson Activities:

For the Kick-off as stage is decorated to look like a courtroom. The person hosting the kick-off is the court clerk and should be dressed in business clothes. The court clerk’s role will be to welcome the kids to the courtroom, inform them of the upcoming trial, and provide them with background information through verbal explanation and a movie depicting Holy Week. A short court session follows the movie – where the judge begins to address the question of Jesus innocence/guilt of the charge of blasphemy, but is exasperated by the lack of evidence and recruits the kids to investigate the matter and appear in court with their verdict in two weeks’ time. The clerk will close the session by distributing paper folders for children to use as they collect their evidence through the rotation.

Session Outline:

  • 10 min: Introduction to the upcoming trial and the charge of blasphemy
  • 30-40 min: Holy Week video (The Jesus Story for Children, available for free online)
  • 15 min: Court is in session and kids recruited as investigators
  • 10 min: Overview of the rotation (the kids’ mission), introduction to the memory verse

Leader Preparation:

  • Review the scripture and background materials.
  • Gather the supplies.


Supplies List:

  • Costume for the judge (robe, wig, gavel)
  • Table, tablecloth, and wooden chair (judge’s desk – set up at the front of the chapel)
  • Flag on a pole (optional – but would help make the chapel court-like. Have in a stand beside the judge’s desk.)
  • The Story of Jesus for Children (cued to 30:13)
  • Projector and laptop or TV and DVD player
  • Paper Folders (1 per student)


Lesson Plan


Opening:
 

Lesson (led by Court Clerk):
Welcome kids as they are dropped off. Inform them that this room is a courtroom for today, and that you are the court clerk (that’s why you’re dressed in business clothes). Stress that there are special protocols that must be followed when the court is in session, and go over them with the kids. 

Rules for the Courtroom:

  • Hats must be removed
  • Eating and drinking is not allowed
  • Large bags and parcels must be left in a designated area by the door
  • You must be very quiet and sit still so that you do not disturb the court
  • If the judge asks you a question, you must stand up when you answer and always address the judge as “Your Honour” [maybe practice this a couple of times, for fun].
  • You must stand up when the judge enters the court, and remain standing until the judge sits down. When the judge leaves the court, you must stand up until the judge has left the room. (Listen to the clerk; she’ll tell you when you have to stand up)


Dig:
 

Say:

There is a big trial coming up this morning, and I need to fill you in before Court is in session so that you can understand what’s going on. Does anyone here know what a trial is?  A trial in court is where a judge decides whether someone is guilty of a crime!  Today, the judge is going to be putting Jesus on trial!! He is going to decide whether Jesus is innocent or guilty of blasphemy! (Pause for a moment) Wait, do you guys know what blasphemy is? I’d better back up and explain! 

Blasphemy is a fancy word that means to say or do something that is extremely offensive to God. It is a crime. An example of blasphemy is claiming to be equal to God when you are not. It’s like saying, “I am just as powerful as God!” or even “I am God!”  Does that make sense? [Check for understanding. Rephrase if necessary – it’s important that the kids understand this concept]. 

A long time ago, Jesus was accused of blasphemy. He was put on trial, and He was killed because He had said that He was the Son of God. You see, claiming to be the Son of God is the same thing as claiming to be equal with God! Even though this was many years ago, people are still wondering if Jesus was guilty or innocent of this charge. Some people are saying that Jesus wasn’t blaspheming when He claimed to be the Son of God – they say that Jesus was telling the truth! Other people say that Jesus was not the true Son of God.  So today, the judge is going to make a decision for once and for all: Was Jesus the Son of God, or not? 

Before the judge comes in, and the court starts, I think it would be helpful if we watched a video of the first time Jesus went to court! I’ve got a movie here that shows the events surrounding Jesus’ first trial. 

[Play ‘The Story of Jesus for Children’, from 30:13 – 57:07.] 

Isn’t that an amazing story? It’s my favorite…But we don’t have time to talk about that – the Court session is about to begin! But there’s a big problem – while you were watching the video, I got a notice from both lawyers who were supposed to come today, and neither of them will be here! The lawyer who believes that Jesus is innocent missed his plane this morning; and the lawyer who believes that Jesus was lying when He said He was the Son of God came down with laryngitis and can’t speak at all! The judge isn’t going to be too impressed by this…but at least the lawyers each sent their arguments on paper! Maybe the trial can go ahead after all. [Check your watch]. Oh boy, Court needs to start right now. You guys remember the rules, right? Stand up when I tell you to, sit down after the judge sits down, be very quiet, and if the Judge asks you a question stand up and call him “Your Honour” when you reply. 

Drama with the Judge: 

[Clerk moves to the door and opens it; looks toward the stage and speaks with dignity]: All Rise! 

[The Judge enters regally and moves to the desk on the stage; bangs the gavel on the desk]

Judge: Court is now in session. [Sit down]

[Clerk motions to the kids to sit down] 

Judge: Today, we will be hearing the case of Jesus’ trial: Is Jesus innocent or guilty of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God? Would the prosecuting attorney please rise? 

Clerk: [looks nervously around] Your Honour, I regret to inform you that the prosecuting attorney is unable to be here today; he has laryngitis and can’t speak. But he sent a written statement…would you like to assign someone to read it?

Judge: [Sighs] I suppose we had better. [Scans the benches of kids, points to one of the older kids]. You, what is your name?

[Allow the student to stand up and say, “          , Your Honour”.] 

Judge: Would you please come to the front and read the statement for the lawyer who believes that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy?

[Student should respond: “Yes, Your Honour”. Clerk gives the student the following statement to read] 

Statement from the Prosecuting Attorney

Jesus lied when He said He was the Son of God. He was just a man. I declare that Jesus is guilty of blasphemy! 

[Allow for a long period of silence] 

Judge: Is that it?! That’s the whole statement? No evidence, no witnesses, nothing to back up this claim?

[Look at the student and allow them to respond] Unbelievable! What kind of court does this lawyer think I’m running? Well, thanks for stepping in, I guess – you can go sit down now. 

Judge: Would the defending attorney please rise?

Clerk: [looks nervously around] Your Honour… I’m afraid that lawyer missed his plane and can’t be here either. He did send his statement though… 

Judge: [shakes head; scans the benches and points to another one of the older kids]. You, what is your name? 

[Allow the student to stand up and say, “          , Your Honour”.] 

Judge: Would you please come to the front and read the statement for the lawyer who believes that Jesus was innocent of blasphemy?

[Student should respond: “Yes, Your Honour”. Clerk gives the student the following statement to read] 

Statement from the Defending Attorney

Jesus was telling the truth when He said He was the Son of God. I declare that Jesus is innocent of blasphemy! 

[Again, allow for awkward silence while anticipating that there is more to be read.] 

Judge: There’s nothing else from this lawyer, either? Surely, he provided some evidence? A witness? [Look at student and allow them to respond to the negative]. Nothing? Unbelievable! Good thing these lawyers aren’t here or I’d throw them out of the court for incompetence!!

[Stand up and speak emphatically]. This is an important case though! I can’t make a decision about Jesus if no one is going to bring forward any evidence! [Start pacing]. What can I do? 

[Stop and turn toward the kids like you just had a great idea]. Hey…what about you guys? You look like a smart bunch of kids. I bet you could do a much better job than those lawyers! I need people to investigate the issue – and you are just the ones for the job! I need you to learn the facts! Get to the bottom of this. If Jesus was the Son of God – then I need proof! Bring me photos! Bring me witnesses! If Jesus actually did miracles, you need to interview people who saw them. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Then I’ll need to hear from someone who actually saw Him alive after He died! You can’t just tell me what you think – prove to me one way or the other if Jesus really was the Son of God! 

You got it? The Court Clerk can get you set up with everything you’ll need to do your job. [Stand behind the desk and raise the gavel] We will hear the case for Jesus in two weeks’ time. This court is now adjourned. [Bang the gavel]. 

[Clerk motions for the kids to rise; the judge leaves with dignity and composure out the door]. 

Review of the Rotation (lead by Clerk)

Express amazement at this very unexpected turn of events. Review with the kids what the judge wants them to do and explain that over the next 2 weeks they will have opportunity to visit different workshops that will help them to gather the evidence they need to determine whether Jesus was guilty or innocent. Remind them to take careful notes and pay attention, because they will be presenting their case before the judge! Hand out a briefcases to each student and ask them to label it with their name and grade (this is for keeping their case notes safe). 

If there is time at the end, share with the kids a verse that you think will help them to make sense of this whole trial: 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but was made alive in the Spirit.” Explain any difficult words/phrases (sins= anything we do, say, or think that does not please God; the righteous = a person who always does what is good; the unrighteous = people who do what is not good; put to death = killed), and practice the verse together. Creative methods to consider:

  • Make up actions for key words
  • Split the room in half (or boys and girls) and give them alternate phrases to say. Repeat the verse several times until each side knows their parts, then switch. (One side says “For Christ also suffered once for sins”, “to bring you to God”, and “but was made alive in the Spirit" )
  • Start at the beginning of the verse and have the kids repeat the first few words after you. Repeat the one bit several times before adding more. Once you’ve gotten through the whole verse, start quoting from near the end and have the kids finish it. Do it again, making it longer by a phrase until they say the whole verse.
  • Make up a tune to sing the verse to, and teach the verse to the kids as a song

A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Original Post

Trial and Crucifixion

Creative Storytelling
School of Investigation


Summary of Lesson Activities:

Children will investigate Jesus' innocence.

Scripture Reference:

Luke 22:45 - 23:25 

Lesson Objectives:

This lesson is part of a themed rotation studying Jesus’ trial. Children have been recruited as investigators and will be collecting evidence that Jesus is innocent of his charge of Blaspheme. Each workshop will help students gather their evidence and learn more about the story of Jesus’ trial. Help the students stay in theme by calling them investigators, asking to see their briefcases and notes and using legal terms.  

Your lesson focuses largely on exploring the story of Jesus’ trial through the theme of an investigator training school. After working through their lesson they will receive a graduation certificate to add to their briefcase.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and background materials.
  • Gather the Materials.


Materials List:

  • Bibles
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Playdoh
  • Bible figurines
  • Action figures
  • Dolls
  • Playmobil or lego


Lesson Plan 

Opening:
Introduce yourself as the Professor/Instructor at the School of Investigation. Get to know the names of each of your students. 

Let the students know that you are aware of the job that the judge has given them - they are supposed to figure out if Jesus was guilty or innocent of the charges that the Sanhedrin laid against Him. That is a really big responsibility! 

Tell them that every great investigator has to have some pretty specialized skills. To help them complete their job for the judge you are going to make sure that they are trained in some investigation skills. If they pass your tests than you will give them a certificate that proves that they are indeed trained investigators. 

Tell them that since they are investigating Jesus’ trial you decided to use that same story in the Bible for the training activities you are doing today. 

Dig: 

SKILL #1 - Listening Carefully

This game will help children pay close attention to a reading of the gospel account of Jesus’ trial. 

Introduction:

  • Explain to children that as investigators they have to listen extremely carefully to people’s testimonies. You need to catch every detail that people tell you so that you can investigate if stories line up, find the truth and understand what happens.
  • Tell children that you are going to be reading the story of Jesus’ trial and their job is going to be to listen very carefully to identify how many times people wronged Jesus (by hurting him, betraying him or by lying about him). They will keep count by making tally marks on a paper with a pen.
  • We’ll see at the end if anyone got the right answer
  • Hand out pens and paper to children
     

Read from Luke 22:45 - 23:25  

Here is list of the wrongs against Jesus:

  1. Judas betrayed Jesus
  2. The officers arrested Jesus
  3. Peter denied knowing Jesus to the girl at the fire
  4. Peter denied knowing Jesus a second time
  5. Peter denied knowing Jesus a third time
  6. The guards mocked and beat Jesus
  7. The crowd lied about Jesus betraying Caesar
  8. The chief priests and teachers shouted accusations at Jesus
  9. Herod and his officials ridiculed Jesus
  10. The crowd shouted crucify him even though Pilate had stated he was innocent
  11. Pilate listened to the crowd instead of the proof he had found for Jesus’ innocence and sentenced Jesus to death 

Review:

  • Have children add up their tally marks and see if any children came to the total of 11 (or at least 11, some students will mark down every single incident of wrongs against Jesus instead of just the overall situations listed above)
  • Review each of the eleven situations where Jesus was wronged
     

Skill #2 - Scene Investigation
This game will help children learn and remember the details of Jesus’ trial and who was involved.  (Some of the information provided in the character descriptions was gathered from the fantastic Biblical Backgrounds here on rotation.org) 

Set-up:

  • Good investigators need to study every detail at the scene of a crime and be able to remember everything they see when investigating a case.
  • Using playdoh, bible figurines, action figures, dolls, playmobil or lego - set up a diorama style scene as you once again walk through the details of the story and help imagine the scene of Jesus’ trial. As you set up the scene explain background/details of who people are and how they participated in Jesus’ trial
  • Allow students to ask questions as you build the scene
  • Explain to students that they have to memorize exactly what the scene looks like and who is in the scene. Practice by quizzing kids on who the playdoh balls/bible character dolls represent
  • Children can make notes if they want to
  • After setting up the scene have children turn away and close their eyes.
  • Change the scene by removing, adding or rearranging one character or a set of characters from the scene
  • Children look back and try to find the change
  • Let students take turns making the change and trying to stump their peers

 

Creating the scene: 

There is no record of exactly who was in attendance at Jesus’ trial so we will be imagining what it may have looked like and take some liberties so that we can teach children as much about the full story as possible. You may wish to place a paper backdrop behind the scene or create paper   columns to help set a stage.  Maybe you'll make a courtyard for the crowd or a special chair for Pilate.  Use your imagination.   

Teaching through the scene: 

Set up the scene in the following order. As you build the diorama use the following teaching notes. 

Guards & Jesus

  • While Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane a group of soldiers came to arrest him. His very own disciple Judas had led the way and turned Jesus in to be arrested.
  • The soldiers who took Jesus and kept watch over him mocked him and beat him.
     

THE SANHEDRIN

  • The next morning Jesus was taken to the Sanhedrin 
  • The Sanhedrin was the Jewish ruling council during New Testament times. Technically, Israel was under Roman rule, but the Sanhedrin ruled in religious matters; they were the Jewish Court of Justice. This group of seventy-one men consisted of chief priests and scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees (We are placing 7people in the scene to represent the 71 members of the Sanhedrin). They were a powerful group. They made laws, had their own police force and could arrest people and send them to jail. The “president” of the Sanhedrin at this time was the high priest, Caiaphas. 
  • The gospels portray the Sanhedrin as a group most interested in preserving their own power and position. They were obviously threatened by Jesus and his message and were violently opposed to him. 
  • Only one member, Joseph of Arimathea, was a supporter of Jesus, though a secret one, “for fear of the Jews.” (John 19:38) Joseph of Arimathea is the one who requested permission from Pilate to remove Jesus’ body from the cross and used his own tomb for Jesus’ burial. 
  • Jesus had angered the Sanhedrin on several occasions, by cleansing the Temple and by making them appear ridiculous during question and answer sessions. The resurrection of Lazarus a month ago had been the final nail in Jesus’ coffin! The Sanhedrin was convinced that the problem of Jesus must be settled once and for all. There would no fair trial for Jesus. Several witnesses spoke against Jesus. Caiaphas commanded Jesus to respond to the charges. “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?” Jesus replied, “I AM... In days to come, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One...” This outraged the high priests who immediately demanded that Jesus be put to death. They then spit on him, hit and slapped him. The guards took him and beat him.

 

PONTIAS PILATE & HIS WIFE

  • The Sanhedrin brought Jesus to Pilate. 
  • As Roman governor and supreme judge in the province, Pilate had the sole authority to execute a criminal. 
  • Pilate listened to their complaints but was not interested and essentially told them to deal with Jesus themselves. But the priests were insistent. Jesus should be put to death and for that they needed Pilate. Pilate questioned Jesus and found no reason to charge him. But the chief priests were adamant that this troublemaker from Galilee be stopped.
  • Pilate’s wife told her husband not to have anything to do with sentencing Jesus - he was an innocent man!
     

HEROD

  • When Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent him to Herod (the tetrarch of Galilee) who was also in Jerusalem for the Passover. 
  • Herod was actually glad to see Jesus and hoped to witness some of his miracles. But Jesus did not respond to Herod’s questions.
  • Herod and his soldiers taunted Jesus, placing a royal robe on him and sending him back to Pilate.
     

PONTIAS PILATE & WIFE, THE CROWD, BARABBAS

  • Once again Jesus was in Pilate’s presence and a large crowd also gathered for the court hearing
  • The crowds were whipped into a frenzy by the priests and religious leaders. They shouted for Jesus to be crucified. 
  • The practice at Passover was to let one prisoner go free. Pilate offered to release Jesus, but the crowd demanded instead the release of Barabbas, a known robber, murderer and rabble-rouser. 
  • The gospel accounts make it clear that Pilate did not believe that Jesus was guilty. But Pilate eventually succumbed to the will of the crowd and ordered Jesus to be whipped and then to be crucified. 
     

Play the game

Play a few rounds having children look away while you remove a character, change positioning in the diorama, swap spots or make other changes. As children guess which changes have been made see if they can remember the people involved in the story. 

SKILL #3 - Knowing the difference between Guilty vs. Innocent 

Introduction:

  • Good investigators need to understand the difference between innocent and guilty and be able to find evidence that would prove one or the other
  • Have children see if they explain what the difference is between innocent and guilty
  • Define innocent and guilty 
  • Discuss some of the characters that were guilty in the story of Jesus’ trial (Judas, the officers, Peter, the guards, the crowds, the chief priests and teachers, Herod and his officials, Pilate. Although it wasn’t specifically in connection to Jesus - Barabbas was also guilty - he was a murderer!)
  • Who was innocent? Jesus! Why was he innocent?
  • Explain that it would be VERY unfair if someone who was innocent had to take on the punishment of someone who was guilty.
     

WINK MURDER

Play a game where children determine who is guilty of being the murderer. Here is list of the wrongs against Jesus:

  • All of the players sit in a circle and close their eyes. The teacher walks around the outside of the circle and chooses the murderer by tapping someone on the head one time. The detective is chosen by tapping someone on the head twice.
  • After the murderer and the detective are selected everyone can open their eyes.
  • The detective moves to the middle of the circle. That player’s goal is to determine who the murderer is as quickly as possible.
  • The murderer kills people by winking at them. When a player is killed, he should lay down or leave the circle. (Many players like to make the killing dramatic by, for example, pretending they’ve been shot.)
  • The detective has three chances to guess who the murderer is. If the detective does guess right, the murderer becomes the detective for the next round. 
     

Review:

  • How do you think the disciples felt when Jesus was arrested for accusations that He was innocent of?
  • Was Jesus’ punishment fair? How big of a punishment did he get? (prison, beating, mocking, death)
  • Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you didn’t do (something you were innocent of?) How did it make you feel? 

Jesus knew He was innocent. He could have asked God to save Him from death on a cross. Jesus WILLINGLY took His punishment. Jesus died on the cross as an innocent man to cleanse us of all our guilt. He took our punishment for everything we have ever done wrong or ever will do wrong and made everything right.

 

Close with a prayer.


A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from:Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Trial and Crucifixion

Cooking Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

This lesson is part of a themed rotation studying Jesus’ trial. Children have been recruited as investigators and will be collecting evidence that Jesus is innocent of his charge of Blaspheme. Each workshop will help students gather their evidence and learn more about the story of Jesus’ trial. Help the students stay in theme by calling them investigators, asking to see their briefcases and notes and using legal terms. 

Lesson Objectives:

At your workshop students will learn that Jesus really is the Son of God as they listen to the eye witness account of Mary Magdalene as she witnessed the resurrection. While listening, students will create pomanders, wonderfully smelling spice decorations that are reminders of the herbs brought to Jesus’ tomb.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the scripture and background materials.
  • Gather the materials.


Materials List:

  • Costume for Mary Magdalene
  • Oranges or lemons (1 per student)
  • Whole cloves (1 handful per student)
  • Wooden skewers (1 per student)
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic zipper bags (1 per student)
  • Mixture of spices (ginger, cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg, allspice – enough for 1 tsp per student)
  • Small sachets (1 per student – to be filled with a small amount of the spice mixture as evidence)
  • Case notes (1 per student – a place to write a brief “statement” from Mary Magdalene and to staple the sachet of spices)


Lesson Plan 

SCRIPT (with activity notes)

As the teacher of this workshop you will be playing the part of Mary Magdalene. Wearing a costume and being familiar with your script will help you to stay in character!

Opening:

Hello! Welcome!

My name is Mary. I come from a town called Magdala. Have you heard of it? Where are you from? What are your names? Mary is a VERY common name where I come from. In fact, about 1 out of every 5 girls is named Mary! I have lots of friends named Mary – there’s Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary from Bethany, the sister of Lazarus and Martha; Mary, the wife of Clopas; Mary, the mother of James… All of us Mary’s were traveling together and following Jesus. Can you imagine the confusion? Whenever someone said, “Mary!” all of us would turn and look! That’s why people often call me Mary Magdalene, which is like saying Mary from the town of Magdala - so that they

don’t get me confused with all the other Mary’s!

Dig:

Anyway, I hear you have come to interview me, but I don’t remember why? Could you tell me? Something about a Judge, and Jesus on trial? (Allow kids to tell you about their mission to investigate the claims of Jesus and to prove to the Judge that Jesus is the Son of God). 

Well, if you are looking for evidence that Jesus really is the Son of God - I can help you with that! I saw the biggest proof with my own eye - Jesus rose from the dead and only the Son of God can do that! I am an eye witness – I saw Jesus killed, and then I saw Him alive again, with my own two eyes! Why don’t you all get comfy at these tables around me, and I’ll tell you all about it? It’s a bit of a long story, so maybe you can help me make some wonderful smelling pomanders while I tell you what I witnessed? I was preparing spices just like this on the day I went to Jesus’ tomb. 

Pomander Activity:
What is a pomander? A pomander is a natural air-freshener made from oranges, studded with cloves and covered in mixed spice. They’ll create a wonderful aroma throughout your home.

Hand out a piece of fruit, a piece of paper towel, a handful of whole cloves, and a wooden skewer to each student. Show the students how to poke a hole in the peel of the fruit with the skewer and insert a clove. Explain that they can make any design they would like on the fruit, and that the cloves will help preserve the fruit and keep it smelling nice for several weeks. Some students may wish to cover the entire fruit while others may create a design or even write their initials. 

Story Continued:
So like I said, I was a follower of Jesus. Jesus had done great things in my life – he’d healed me of seven demons! I was so thankful to Jesus, so I and some other thankful women travelled around with Jesus, and helped take care of the needs that Jesus and his 12 disciples had. 

We were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, and Jesus was taking time each day to teach in the Temple. But there were some people who weren’t at all happy about some of the things Jesus was saying and doing – the Jewish religious leaders. They were jealous of the power Jesus had and how much the crowds loved Him, and they thought Jesus was a troublemaker – even though Jesus didn’t do anything wrong! These Jewish religious leaders made a plan to kill Jesus.

The Jewish leaders sent guards to arrest Jesus late at night. They brought him before the Sanhedrin – that’s the name of the Council of all the Jewish religious leaders – and they had people come in and say lies about Jesus. These liars accused Jesus of wanting to overthrow the Roman government, and telling people not to pay taxes, and of wanting to destroy the temple! 

Jesus didn’t say anything – He didn’t defend Himself at all.  

Finally, the High Priest had had enough! He pointed straight at Jesus and said, “Are you the Son

of God?” And Jesus said, “You are right in saying I am.”  

“This is Blaspheme!” the High Priest said. (Can anyone tell me what ‘Blaspheme’ is? It is absolute disrespect towards God). “Jesus is worthy of death!” 

But the Sanhedrin didn’t have the authority to kill Jesus – only the Roman governor did. So they took Jesus to Pilate, and they convinced the crowds in Jerusalem that Jesus was a troublemaker and that Jesus deserved to die. When Pilate questioned Jesus, he knew that Jesus was an innocent man. But the Jewish religious leaders were putting pressure on him, so Pilate decided to ask the crowd who they would rather see crucified – Jesus, or a murderer named Barabbas? 

Do you know what the crowd said? They wanted Jesus to be crucified! I can still hear the thunder of their shouts in my ears – “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  

And so Jesus was crucified.  

Oh, my heart just broke! I couldn’t believe that it was happening! They whipped Jesus, and put nails through His wrists and through His feet to fix Him on a cross. And they hung Him, for everyone to mock and spit at. People sneered at him, “If you really are the Son of God, get yourself down off that cross!” It was awful.  

I stood near the cross with some of the other women, and I cried and cried. For three hours in the middle of the day, the sky went dark. I just knew that this was the worst day there ever had been – that everything had gone horribly, horribly wrong. 

Jesus struggled to breathe, but He got a few words out. “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit” Jesus said. And with that, Jesus’ head fell down on His chest, and He didn’t breathe anymore. 

That was the saddest day of my life.  

The guards poked Jesus in the side with their swords, and when blood and water came out, they knew for sure He was dead.  

A man named Joseph asked Pilate for Jesus’ body, and he wrapped Jesus’ body in linen cloth and put it in his own tomb. I watched, crying, as they rolled a giant stone over the entrance. Jesus was dead and buried. 

Ask the kids how their pomanders are coming along. Tell them that the smell of the pomanders reminds you of the smell of the spices that Jewish people use to anoint the bodies of people who have died. Help anyone who is having difficulty, then settle back into your story.

Us women wanted to take special spices and perfume and anoint Jesus’ body – we loved him, and we wanted to treat His body with the utmost respect and honour even though He was gone. But it was the Sabbath – we had to rest at home for a day first. My heart had never been sadder. 

Early on Sunday morning, as soon as the sun was up, I took the spices and perfumes I had prepared, and went to the tomb with some of the other women. On the way there, we were wondering who we could get to move that big stone from the front of the tomb – but when we arrived at the tomb, the stone was rolled away! We were surprised, but we stepped inside – and I saw that there was no body! Jesus’ body wasn’t there! I couldn’t understand it; we were all so confused! We had watched the men lay His body there two days ago…  

I ran with the other women to tell the disciples, and our story sounded like nonsense to them. Peter got up and ran to the tomb to see for himself, and I followed again. I stood outside of the tomb alone, crying. I looked into the tomb again, and saw men wearing bright white clothes, sitting where Jesus’ body had been. They asked me, “Woman, why are you crying?” 

“They have taken my Lord away,” I said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” I turned around, and saw another Man standing there. Through my tears, I didn’t recognize Him; I thought He was the gardener. He also spoke to me. “Woman,” He said, “Why are you crying? Who is that you are looking for?”  

“Sir,” I said, “If you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.”

Then He said one word: “Mary.” 

Instantly, I turned towards Him. I recognized His voice, and the way He said my name! “Rabbi!” I cried. (That means Teacher). It was Jesus – alive! I could hardly believe what I was seeing – but I knew that it was Him! 

“Don’t hold on to Me,” Jesus said, “Go, tell my friends that I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.” 

So I ran, faster than I’d ever ran, my heart pounding and my smile leaping off of my face. Jesus really was alive! I told the disciples “I’ve seen Him! I’ve seen the Lord! He’s not dead, He’s ALIVE!”  

Oh, I can’t even describe the joy that filled my heart! I know, 100% for sure and certain, that Jesus did not stay dead. He is alive – today, with His Father in heaven. They put Him to death, but death couldn’t keep Him – no, my Lord is stronger than death!  

Just so that you know that I’m not just crazy and making this up – other people saw Jesus alive after His death, too! There were two men who were traveling on the road, and Jesus appeared to them and talked to them; and there were all the disciples gathered around in a locked room, when Jesus just appeared in the middle of them! He wasn’t a ghost – they could touch the scars on His hands and His feet and His side, and He ate with them and drank with them. And then there were 500 of us gathered all on a hillside when He suddenly started floating off the ground and went up to heaven! Hmm hmm, Jesus is alive – there is no doubt about that! Look, I even have this bowl of spices that I didn’t get to use on Jesus’ body – because He rose from the dead! Show the students the bowl of spices.

And speaking of which – you investigators had better write down what you’ve heard, and take some of these spices as evidence. I want this judge – and EVERYONE – to know that Jesus really is the Son of God, and that He is ALIVE! 

Legal Documents

(we simply had a pretend legal form with Mary's personal information and a blank space for children to write on)

Show the students the legal documents they need to fill out for the judge. They need to summarize Mary’s story in a short paragraph (a couple of sentences is fine for the younger kids – ex: Mary Magdalene witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross. Three days later, she met Jesus alive. Jesus really did rise from the dead!). One at a time, kids can scoop spices into sachets and staple them to their document as evidence that the tomb was empty. You will sign the bottom of each statement with Mary’s name, and have each child also sign their form and date it. 

After their evidence is collected, kids can finish decorating their pomanders. Send the pomanders home (with extra supplies, if they didn’t finish) in plastic zipper bags labeled with the child’s name.

Reflection:

End with a prayer before dismissing the children.


A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability.

Trial and Crucifixion

Drama/Photography Workshop

This less was written by someone who has access to a polaroid camera. You may want to use a digital camera and a color inkjet printer.

Summary of Lesson Activities:

Kids will document evidences that Jesus is the Son of God by photographing shadow scenes depicting events from Jesus’ life that confirm that He is the Son of God. 

Scripture References:

Luke 2:8-11, Luke 3:21-22, Luke 8:22-25, Luke 9:10-17, Luke 9:38-36, Luke 18:35-43, and

Luke 24:36-43

Lesson Objective:

This lesson is part of a themed rotation studying Jesus’ trial. Children have been recruited as investigators and will be collecting evidence that Jesus is innocent of his charge of Blaspheme. Each workshop will help students gather their evidence and learn more about the story of Jesus’ trial. Help the students stay in theme by calling them investigators, asking to see their briefcases and notes and using legal terms. 


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the background materials.
  • Read the procedure.
  • Gather the materials.


Materials List:

  • White Sheet/shower curtain to hang from the ceiling or a frame
  • Old Fashion Overhead projector
  • Bibles
  • Variety of costumes/props (angel wings, poster-board strip with wavy edge, baskets, blankets that can be thrown over people to make landscapes)
  • Polaroid camera and film
  • Sharpie pen
  • Printer paper (3-4 pages)
  • Tape 
  • Black-out plastic on windows


Lesson Plan 


Opening:

Begin by welcoming the students to their class. Greet them as investigators. Tell them that you have heard that they have come to you for some evidence to prove to the judge that Jesus really is who He said He was – the Son of God! They’ve come to the right place – in this workshop, they will get to gather photo evidence that Jesus is the Son of God.

Dig:

Explain

Say: There was a man named Luke who was an investigator – like you guys! – from the time just after Jesus went back to heaven. He investigated the stories of Jesus – he talked to eye-witnesses (the people who had actually seen Jesus do amazing things in person!) and gathered an orderly record of the things that Jesus did. He wrote it all down in a book for us – and that book one of the books in the Bible! (Can you guess what book of the Bible Luke wrote? Answer: The Gospel of Luke (Luke); The Acts of the Apostles (Acts))  

Say: In this workshop, you will get to read a story that is evidence that Jesus is the Son of God, and then as a class you will create that scene behind the curtain. There are props to help you, and you’ll have to use your bodies to form the scene as well! Each of you investigators will get a turn to take a picture of the shadow scene the class creates, and we will try to document 7 scenes from the book of Luke. Remember, good documentation is absolutely critical in order to convince the judge! 

We will need to label each polaroid picture with a short description of the scene and also write down the reference from the original source (the Bible). As a class, we will compile our photo evidence onto white paper, and then we will make photocopies for each of you. You will need to put this evidence in your files, so that you will have proof for the judge. 

Do: 

Shadow Scenes to Create:

  • The angels announce that Jesus is the Christ (Luke 2:8-11)
  • God says “This is my Son” (baptism – Luke 3:21-22)
  • Jesus calms the sea by speaking (Luke 8:22-25)
  • Jesus feeds 5000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish (Luke 9:10-17)
  • God says again, “This is my Son” (transfiguration – Luke 9:38-36)
  • Jesus heals a blind man (Luke 18:35-43)
  • Disciples see Jesus alive again! (Luke 24:36-43)

Have a student look up the first scene in their Bible (Luke 2:8-11). Once they have found it, have a student read the short passage for the rest of the class (for younger kids, read it yourself). 

Briefly discuss together how you could create that scene behind the curtain (younger classes will require more direction). One student can stand out in front of the screen and help direct people into position – once everyone is in place, the student snaps the picture. Label the photo, and leave it off to the side to develop while you repeat the process with the next scene. 

Assign new kids to find the Bible passage, read, and snap the photo each time. You will need to keep things moving quickly to get through all the scenes - plan for about 5 minutes per scene. (If it is necessary to do fewer scenes, omit one-two of the miracles and either the baptism or transfiguration). 

Once the evidence is all collected, gather the students around the photos and review the evidence as you tape the photos to the blank pages. This is a good time to ask them what these scenes show us about who Jesus is. (Why is this good evidence?) Ex: He has power that no other person has; He did things that only God can do… If you want, you could even organize and label the scenes by theme on the pages (Jesus could do what no other person can do – the miracle photos; God said Jesus is His Son – baptism and transfiguration; angels said Jesus is the Christ; Jesus is more powerful than death).  

Take the students up to the office (quietly!) and make copies of the evidence for each of them. 

Have them write their names on the evidence and put it in their folders.  

Reflection:

Close in prayer, thanking Jesus that He is who He says He is and for the evidence that He has left for us in His word so that we can know Him.  

Ideas for extra time:

  • Have kids depict other scenes that they like from Jesus’ life
  • Play a guessing game – the kids choose a scene to create, and the teacher has to guess what it is
  • Time the kids to see how fast they can recreate each of the scenes they photographed
  • Ask the kids about what piece of evidence they think is the strongest

A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada 

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability

Trial and Crucifixion

Storytelling/ Computer Workshop


Summary of Lesson Activities:

We set this workshop up in our computer lab with the computers (4) being used in four out of the six stations used to collect evidence from Peter.  I have attached the worksheet that students used to help collect their data.

Lesson Objective:

This lesson is part of a themed rotation studying Jesus’ trial. Children have been recruited as investigators and will be collecting evidence that Jesus is innocent of his charge of Blaspheme. Each workshop will help students gather their evidence and learn more about the story of Jesus’ trial. Help the students stay in theme by calling them investigators, asking to see their briefcases and notes and using legal terms.  

Your workshop will provide the opportunity for kids to document evidences that Jesus is the Son of God through the cross examination of the apostle Peter (acted out by you!)

Using the worksheets included, children will gather information that proves that Jesus really is the Messiah.


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the background materials.
  • Read the scripture ahead of time.
  • Gather the materials.
  • Have the computers ready to go.
  • Print the Worksheets

Materials List:

  • Video Sources (The Story of Jesus for Children (see Stations 3, 5 & 6 below)
  • Audio Clip from Bible Gateway (see Station 4 below)
  • Laptops (4)
  • Costume for Peter
  • Bibles
  • Worksheets (file attached at end of this lesson)
  • Pens
  • Pencil Crayons


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Begin by welcoming the students to their class. Greet them as investigators. Tell them that you are Peter and you understand that they have come to cross examine you and ask you questions about your interactions with Jesus. Make comments that reference their task to prove that Jesus is who He said He was – the Son of God! Tell them that you will give them as much information as you possibly can. 

Dig:

To bring some order to this cross-examination process explain that the investigators (students) will have to take turns asking you questions. Hand out their cross-examination worksheets with a mention that the judge had dropped them by earlier in anticipation of this very important meeting. 

Also communicate that the judge made it clear that he would only accept documents that were completed with good attention to detail. 

Staying in character as Peter, allow the children to take turns asking you the questions on their worksheets in order. Using the resources below, answer each question as best possible. It would help greatly to be familiar with each bible story referenced so you can provide additional detail, use your own words and answer questions as they arrive. Be prepared to help with paraphrasing or providing instruction on what answers are required on the worksheet - all while staying in character of course!! Remember to use dramatic gestures, expressions and voices as you interact with children and answer questions. 


Questions for Peter

QUESTION 1

Q: Was Jesus trying to overthrow the Roman government?

Peter's Answer: No. In fact, Jesus told the people to pay taxes to Caesar and not to resist people who treat you badly. After Jesus did some amazing things, there were a lot of people who wanted Jesus to rule over them instead of Caesar. Jesus knew this, and so He started to spend His time in remote places so that they wouldn’t try to make Him their earthly king by force. 

Worksheet Instructions: Students circle their yes/no answer and indicate that Jesus told people to pay their taxes!

QUESTION 2

Q: Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah?

Peter's Answer: Jesus is the Messiah, but He didn’t come right out and tell everyone “I am the Messiah!” – though it was obvious by what He did. One time, Jesus asked all of us disciples who we thought He was. I said, “You are the Christ (the Messiah), the Son of the living God!” And He told me that I was right. But he also told us not to tell anyone that He is the Messiah. It wasn’t the right time for that news to spread. 

Worksheet Instructions: Students circle their yes/no answer and indicate that the time was not right for the news to spread that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

QUESTION 3

Q: How do you know that Jesus was telling the truth about being the Messiah?

Peter's Answer: Not long before He was killed, Jesus took me, along with James and John, up on a mountain to pray. And there, as He was praying, His appearance totally changed! Light was coming from His face, bright as the sun! His clothes were whiter than white – as bright as a flash of lightning. And Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus! James, John, and I had been very sleepy, but when we saw Jesus change like this, boy, did we wake up! I was so stunned and scared, I started talking nonsense about building shelters for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Suddenly, a cloud appeared and covered us, like what I had read about when God appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai – my knees were shaking, I was so afraid. And then the voice of God the Father spoke from the cloud, and said: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.” Then suddenly, we were alone with Jesus. As we walked back down the mountain, Jesus told us not to tell anyone about it until he had risen from the dead. (Mark 9:2-12, Luke 9:38-36)

Worksheet Instructions: Students fill in the blanks using the information you provided in the story. 

 

Stations

Peter - introduce this next portion of the worksheet (stations) by stating that you can talk a lot about what you’ve heard Jesus say and what you saw but you have even gathered evidence for them to see for themselves that Jesus really is the Son of God. Jesus was telling the truth! 

Tell the students that as they look at each piece of evidence they can fill in the next portion of their case notes for the judge.

Station Directions:  Divide students into teams of 2 (making sure that at least one student can read/write) and send them around the 6 stations set up. Make sure to wander around the room to provide assistance as required. Grade 1-2 students may need extra help with writing/reading. 
Note:  Stations 1 & 2 do not require computers.  Station 3, 4, 5, &  6 do.

 

STATION #1 - THE PROPHETS

Set-up:

  • Bible

Evidence:

  • Jesus was born just as the prophets said the Messiah would be
  • Isaiah 7:9 – Matt. 1: 22-23 – virgin birth
  • Micah 5:2 – Matt. 2:1 – born in Bethlehem
Worksheet Instructions: Students write down their unscrambled bible references and then indicate what old/new testament passages match each other - showing the fulfillment of prophecy. 

 

STATION #2 - THE ANGELS

Set-up:

  • Bible
  • Pencil Crayons

Evidence:

  • At his birth, the angels announced that He was the Saviour, the Christ (Luke 2:8-11)
Worksheet Instructions: Students draw a picture of the angels who announced Jesus as being the Saviour. 

 

(COMPUTER) STATION #3 - VOICE OF GOD

Set-up:

  • Laptop with video clip Jesus’ Baptism pre-loaded (The Story of Jesus for Children 5:22-6:12) 
  • Headphones and splitter with multiple ports for headphones

Evidence:

  • At His baptism, a voice from heaven – the voice of God the Father! – said “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”
Worksheet Instructions: Students fill in the blanks. 

 

(COMPUTER) STATION #4 - MIRACLE 1

Set-up:

Evidence:

  • He had amazing powers to heal and do miracles: He calmed the storm just by speaking
Worksheet Instructions: Students write the words that Jesus spoke to calm the storm in the speech bubble. 

 

(COMPUTER) STATION #5 - MIRACLE 2

Set-up:

  • Laptop with video clip of Jesus healing the blind man (video clip – The Story of Jesus for Children 27:21 – 28:14) 

Evidence:

  • Jesus made a blind man see (Luke 18:35-43)
Worksheet Instructions: Students indicate what part of the body Jesus healed in this story. 

 

(COMPUTER) STATION #6 - MIRACLE 3

Set-up:

  • Laptop with video clip of Jesus feeding the 5000. (video clip – The Story of Jesus for Children 23:06 – 24:27) 

Evidence:

  • He multiplied 5 little loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5000 people! (Luke 9:10-17)
Worksheet Instructions: Students will write the grocery list that Jesus required for feeding the crowd of 5,000. 


Back with Peter

Once they have been through all the stations, Peter can gather them together, ask them what they thought about the evidence he provided, and then tell them about the most significant piece of evidence for how he knows Jesus really is the Son of God. 

Peter Shares:
Jesus was put to death by evil men – but He came to life again, just as He said that He would! Three times, Jesus told us that the Jewish leaders were going to hand Him over to the Romans. He said that He was going to be mocked, insulted, and spit on; that they would whip Him and kill Him. When Jesus first told us these things, we didn’t understand what He was talking about. But then I saw it with my own eyes. I saw the temple guards come and arrest Jesus from the Garden. I followed as they took Jesus to the Jewish leaders, saw them mock Him and spit on Him. I watched as they decided that Jesus was a blasphemer for saying He was the Son of God. I saw Jesus whipped by the Roman soldiers and crucified on a cross. And I saw Jesus die. His body was wrapped up in strips of cloth and put in a tomb, and a great big stone was rolled over the entrance. That was Friday, Preparation day.  

Most Significant Proof:
The next day, the Sabbath, we stayed at home, resting and mourning. Then on Sunday morning, some of the women went to the tomb to put spices on Jesus’ body. They came running back to us, saying that an angel had appeared to them at the tomb saying that Jesus was alive! I got up and ran to the tomb to see for myself. Sure enough, the stone had been rolled away. And when I looked inside, I saw strips of cloth lying in the tomb – but Jesus’ body wasn’t there! And then, later that evening, as I was having supper with the disciples, Jesus Himself appeared to us – alive as can be! We touched him, we watched him eat and drink, we saw the marks on his hands and feet. It was Jesus – and He is alive! If all the other things Jesus has done wasn’t evidence that He is the Son of God, this totally convinces me – no one else could be more powerful than death! (prediction: Luke 18:31-34; death & burial: Luke 23:44-54; resurrection: Luke 24:1-8). 

QUESTION 4

Q: Why did Jesus allow people to crucify Him? Why didn’t He defend Himself?

Peter's Answer: Jesus was being obedient to His Father; He loved God and trusted that dying was the only way to accomplish His mission. You see, the night before Jesus was betrayed and crucified, He celebrated Passover with us. And He told us that He was going to bleed and that His body would be broken, in order for all the sin of everyone in the world to be forgiven. Jesus came for that purpose: to die as the perfect sacrifice to save us. So, even though He had done nothing wrong, He allowed Himself to be executed like a criminal. I’ve wrote about it – maybe you’ve heard? “For Christ died once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” (practice the memory verse together) 

Reflection:

At this point you can discuss the evidence further or answer any further questions children may have.   Have them place their worksheet in their briefcase.

Close with a prayer.


A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada  

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability

Attachments

Files (1)
Cross Examination Case Notes Computer Handout.pdf

Trial and Crucifixion

Courtroom Wrap Up

Do we have a verdict?

Summary of Lesson Activities:

For the Wrap-up, the children gather again at the courtroom. The person hosting the wrap-up is the court clerk and should be dressed in business clothes. The court clerk’s role will be to facilitate the review of the evidence for Jesus’ innocence and the creation of testimony placards. There will be a closing court session where the kids will present their evidence for Jesus’ innocence before the judge – and Jesus will be declared innocent! The Judge will then open his next file to find that all of the kids (and teachers) are on trial for sinning against God. Evidence of guilt will be brought forward, and just before the judge makes the final sentence, the clerk will bring in a defence – 1 Peter 3:18. This session will close with a cheer and songs of celebration that Jesus’ innocent death made the way for sinners to be declared righteous! 

Session Outline:
10 minutes: Welcome and introduction to the placard activity

20 minutes: Divide into age groups (spread across Bible Times Square) to review case notes and create placards

20 minutes: Jesus’ Trial (evidence brought before Judge)

10 minutes: Our Trial (discover our guilt and Jesus’ death on our behalf)

15 minutes: Celebration 


Leader Preparation:

  • Read the background info.
  • Go over the evidence the children have gathered.
  • Gather the Materials.


Materials List:

  • Costume for the judge (robe, wig, gavel)
  • Table, tablecloth, and wooden chair (judge’s desk – set up at the front of the chapel)
  • Flag on a pole (optional – but would help make the chapel court-like. Have in a stand beside the judge’s desk.
  • Poster board (1 per student)
  • Sharpie markers
  • Folders with case notes
  • Small podium or table (the witness stand)
  • Laptop and projector
  • Celebration DVD from Athens VBS (cued to ‘O Happy Day’; or from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8or_he4wews


Lesson Plan


Opening:

Welcome kids as they are dropped off. Inform them that today Court will be in session again, and you have some time to help them prepare before their big presentation before the judge, who will decide today once and for all if Jesus really was innocent or guilty of blasphemy. Remind them what blasphemy is (saying or doing something that is extremely offensive to God) and that if Jesus really was the Son of God, then He wasn’t guilty of blasphemy when He claimed to be the Son of God! 

Inform kids that the Judge will be calling on them to testify to whether Jesus was innocent or guilty. Explain that they have 20 minutes to review the evidence in their case notes and prepare to present before the Judge.

Dig:

Split the kids into their age groups (gr. 1-3 girls, gr. 1-3 boys, gr. 4-6) and have them spread out through Bible Times Square and the Chapel. In their age groups, they can discuss what they found through their investigation, and each child needs to decide whether they think Jesus was innocent or guilty. Instruct the kids to write their verdict (innocent or guilty) on one side of their placard using a Sharpie marker. On the other side, they need to write why they believe that He is innocent or guilty – choose one piece of evidence from the investigation. (Ex: Innocent; Jesus healed the blind, The angels announced Jesus as the son of God at his birth, Jesus rose from the dead, etc.). The students can feel free to draw illustrations or decorate their placard once they are finished. If they need help remembering some of the evidence they found they can refer to their case notes.  Inform the kids that they will need to provide the judge with proof to back up their claim, so they need to make sure they have their briefcases handy to pull out the evidence if

the judge asks for it! 

[Classroom helpers can circulate to keep the kids on track and help them as needed.  Let children know that they will also be presenting their cards to the rest of the church in the sanctuary at 11.  Encourage them to write/draw neatly.] 

After 20 minutes, have the kids gather in the chapel for the court hearing. Remind them of the Court rules (be very quiet and respectful, rise when the Judge is entering or leaving the room, address the Judge as ‘Your Honour’ when you respond). Explain the court procedure: The Judge will call you up one at a time – bring your placard and your evidence up here to the witness stand. When you are asked for your verdict, say either ‘Jesus is innocent, Your Honour’ or ‘Jesus is guilty, Your Honour’ – whatever decision you made – and hold up your placard so that everyone can read it. You’ll be asked why you came to that decision, and you can turn your placard around and tell everyone the reason that you wrote down. If you are asked for evidence of your reason, show the Judge what you collected in your investigation. You guys will do great, I know it! 

The Trial (Led by the Judge) 

[Clerk moves to the door and opens it; looks toward the stage and speaks with dignity]: All Rise! 

[The Judge enters regally and moves to the desk on the stage; bangs the gavel on the desk]

Judge:  Court is now in session. [Sit down] 

[Clerk motions to the kids to sit down] 

Judge: Today, we will be hearing the case of Jesus’ trial: Is Jesus innocent or guilty of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God? I will be calling upon our investigators to testify and present their evidence one by one. 

Call upon the kids by name, one at a time (ask students to state their name if required). Start with older or more confident kids. When they come to the witness stand, ask them what their verdict is (Is Jesus guilty or innocent?). Then ask for one reason they came to that decision. Ask for some evidence to back that up (this could be the signed testimony of Mary Magdalene, spice sachets, photos, or case notes from interviewing Peter.) Prompt kids as necessary and allow them to get help from their classmates if they are nervous at the front. After you’ve seen the same evidence a couple of times, you don’t have to have them show it to you – just say something like “I bet you have a signed statement from Mary Magdalene, too!” or “I’ve seen the photos that prove that!” 

Once all the kids have testified, briefly review the evidence that has been brought forward. You can ask the kids as a large group if there is any other evidence that they found to show that Jesus really was the Son of God. Ask them if Jesus was trying to overthrow the Roman government and why people wanted Jesus to be killed. At this point you are now totally convinced that Jesus was innocent, and it is time for you to make your official verdict. 

Judge: After careful review of the evidence, this court has reached a conclusion on the question: “Is Jesus innocent or guilty of the charge of blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God.” I hereby declare that Jesus Christ is INNOCENT of the charges laid against Him! Case is dismissed! [bang gavel on the desk] 

[Clerk initiates a cheer; the Judge smiles, but after a few seconds bangs the gavel on the desk and calls for order.] 

Judge: I will now hear the next case. [Open file folder, and then look up with an expression of shock]. All of you are on trial! My notes here say that all of you are on trial for sinning against God. You have broken His laws. Here’s a list:

  • God has said “Do not bear false testimony”. That means, “Do not lie”. But you have lied. If you have ever, even once, said something that you knew was not true, you have broken God’s law and are guilty of sinning against Him.
  • God has said “Honour your father and mother.” Honouring your parents means only doing and saying thing that are respectful to them, and obeying what they have asked. If you have ever, even once, disobeyed your mom or dad, you have broken God’s law and are guilty of sinning against Him.
  • God has said, “Do not covet”. That means, do not want something that belongs to someone else. If you have ever, even once, been jealous of what another person has or wished that you owned what they own, you have broken God’s law and are guilty of sinning against Him.
  • God has said, “Love your neighbor”. That means to treat everyone with love. If you have ever, even once, been mean to someone – called them a mean name, taken something that they were playing with, hurt them, thought rude thoughts about them – you have broken God’s law and are guilty of sinning against Him. 

[Look up from your list]. There are more offenses listed here. But I think you all know, already, that you are guilty. I am going to skip to the part about the sentence – that is, the punishment. [Open a Bible to Romans 6:23 and read “The wages of sin is death.” Look up at the kids with a very serious, sad expression]. Do you understand what this means? If you are guilty – the consequence of sin is death!  That is a terrible punishment! 

Clerk: Wait, wait! Judge – please don’t punish these children – there is something you need to know! [Move to the front of the room and stand so that you can speak to the Judge and the kids at the same time.] [Look at the kids]. Remember the verse that I told you two weeks ago? Say it with me: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 

[Look at the Judge] I admit that I am guilty of sinning against God – I have lied, and disobeyed, and been jealous and unkind. I am unrighteous. But this is my defense: Jesus is righteous, and He already suffered for my sins, in order to bring me to God! My punishment has already been taken – Jesus died on the cross as an innocent man, so that I, who am guilty, do not have to die for my sins! Your Honour – because I trust Jesus, you cannot punish me anymore. 

Judge: You are right! If Jesus has taken your punishment, then I cannot sentence you to die for your guilt. [Look over the rest of the kids]. And if any of you trust Jesus, you do not have to die for your sin either! Jesus was innocent, but He died for the guilty – He died for you! I am going to call this trial closed. Court is dismissed! [bang gavel] 

[Clerk initiates another loud cheer, and this time the Judge joins in!] 

Clerk: I think this calls for a celebration! Jesus is innocent – and He chose to die for us who are guilty! And He’s alive today! Let’s get some music playing - this just makes me want to sing! 

Celebration (led by Clerk) 

Play ‘O Happy Day’. Sing together. 

Reflection: 

Close with a prayer. 

After the session have children take their verdict cards with them into the sanctuary.  Explain to them that they will be sharing their evidence with the church just like they did here downstairs.  The judge will be telling the church what we have been learning about and then each child will tell the church what they have written on their cards. Tell students that you, the clerk, will call them up to the front of the church when it is time. 


A lesson written by Andrea Anderst from: Zion Baptist Community Church
Alberta, Canada  

A representative of Rotation.org reformatted this post to improve readability

The video is originally from The Jesus Film Project.  A link to the online film can be found on their website (http://www.jesusfilm.org/) and the film can also be found on youtube.
 
Originally Posted by CreativeCarol:

Hi Andrea: 

I have a question about the source of the video. Do you have a link that you could provide?

Could you please post five additional replies to this post? I'd like to break up this lesson set up, so that each workshop is a separate post. In each of the five replies just type in xyz (or something - because a reply can't be empty.) 

I'll take care of doing the separating for you. 

Thanks, 

-- Carol 

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