Friday, 29 April 2011

First Easter 3

This is the text of the story from the second session of the Sunday School program that I wrote for Palm Sunday, Easter Sunday and the Sunday following Easter for 2011. I based the story text on Luke 22:47-24:53 and Acts 1:1-14. This session is based on Luke 24:50-53 and Acts 1:1-14. The story for the first session can be found here. The story for the second session can be found here.
Jesus is God’s King, the Christ. The Jews asked Pilate to sentence Jesus to death by crucifixion, so Pilate sent Jesus to the cross. Jesus died on the cross to save us, so we may live in heaven with Him.

On the third day Jesus’ body was missing, because Jesus had risen from the dead. Jesus met Cleopas on the road to Emmaus and showed him that all of the Old Testament points to Jesus. Jesus reassured the disciples: “Everything must happen that is written about me in Scripture.”

After Jesus rose from the dead, He spent a lot of time with His disciples. Jesus lived and ate and talked with His disciples for 40 days after the First Easter Sunday, when He rose from the dead. For 40 days, Jesus taught His disciples about God’s Kingdom and about the Holy Spirit.

Jesus talked with His disciples about the Kingdom of God. His disciples had lots of questions about God’s Kingdom. One day while they were meeting together with Jesus, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, are you going to make Israel into a great kingdom again right now?” The disciples thought that now that Jesus had risen from the dead, nothing could stop Him if Jesus wanted to be king of Israel – not the Jewish leaders, not Pilate, not Herod, not Caesar nor any other human leader. The disciples knew Jesus is God’s King, and they wanted Jesus to start reigning as King right away!

But Jesus told His disciples that they didn’t need to know what time God had decided things would happen. That is God’s business, because God is the King in heaven.

Then Jesus told His disciples that soon, they would get power – special power, some of Jesus’ kingly power – when the Holy Spirit came upon them. But first they had to wait!

“Apostles” means “People who are sent out to do a task.” Jesus called His disciples by the name “apostles” because Jesus was going to send them out into the world with a very special message about Him. Jesus told His apostles that when they had some of Jesus’ kingly power, when the Holy Spirit had come upon them, they would tell people all over the world about Jesus. But first, Jesus told His apostles to wait in Jerusalem. The apostles would tell people about Jesus in Jerusalem as soon as the Holy Spirit had come to them. Jesus taught His apostles about God’s Kingdom and about the Holy Spirit, for 40 days.

After 40 days, Jesus led His apostles out to the Mount of Olives, a hill near the town of Bethany. It was only a short walk outside the city of Jerusalem. Jesus lifted up His hands [lift up your hands] and blessed His apostles. As Jesus was blessing them, He was taken up, lifted up into the sky. The apostles watched with their faces tilted upwards [look upwards briefly] until Jesus was hidden by a cloud. Then the apostles couldn’t see Jesus any more. Jesus had been taken up to heaven while His apostles were watching.

Jesus was gone from the earth. Jesus was not with His apostles any more. They stood staring up to the sky where they had seen Jesus covered by the cloud. “What would happen now? Would Jesus ever come back to them again?” they wondered.

All of a sudden the men realised there was someone else with them. It wasn’t Jesus. Standing next to them were two men, dressed in white. They were angels with a message from God, just like the angel messengers that the women had seen at Jesus’ tomb 40 days before. The angels asked the apostles why they were looking up into the sky. The angels said, “Jesus has been taken from you into heaven. Jesus is not in the sky, He is in heaven. And the same Jesus who has gone to heaven will come back. Jesus will come back from heaven in the same way you saw Him go into heaven.” The angels told the apostles that Jesus will come back from heaven.

The apostles wanted to worship Jesus. So they went straight back to Jerusalem, and they worshiped Jesus at the temple, the place where Jews worshiped God. The apostles praised God for sending Jesus. They praised Jesus for dying on the cross to save them. They praised God for bringing Jesus back to life as God had promised in Scripture.

The apostles met together with other people as well. These people were also followers of Jesus. They had seen Jesus after He had died, after God had brought Jesus back to life again. Jesus’ mother Mary met with the apostles in an upstairs room in Jerusalem. Jesus’ brother James met with them as well. Later, James would write a letter to Christians all over the world about what Christians do. But for now, all the Christians were in Jerusalem, praying and praising God. The apostles, with Mary and James, prayed and worshiped God in Jerusalem. They were obeying Jesus’ instructions to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them.
All illustrations are copyright 2011 Chrissie D. She drew them specifically for our program. (Isn't she wonderful?) The illustrations have deliberately been resized to about 10% of their original size to prevent people copying and re-using Chrissie D's original art without permission.

If you would like to use this story, the illustrations or the accompanying program including materials for activities and songs with your children or church or in some other way, please leave a message on the blog and I will get back to you directly.


Mrs. Edwards said...

Wonderful stuff. Pass along my compliments to Chrissie D. It is hard to find coloring sheets of Bible stories that are worth coloring. These really are nice.


Sharon said...

We used these pictures with the overheads during the story, and then the kids were each given a page with their own copies of the pictures to colour in, as well as a sentence for each picture to remind them of what happened in the story. (The first two session's sentences are the first two paragraphs of the third session's story.) They coloured the pictures and cut them out to stick into an A5 size booklet: three A4 pages folded and stapled together in the middle to make the spine.

At the end of the third session the kids got to take their books home to read with their parents. It was especially good for kids who only come occasionally to church; one of the grandparents said "Oh, good, X was just asking what Easter was all about!" Which is exactly what I wanted - the kids hear the story, they make their book to remember the story, and they share it with their parents to talk about the Easter story and learn some more (or their parents learn some more, if the kids were brought by extended family but don't have Christian parents). Thus we are not just teaching the kids we are also reaching their families.