To help each child understand that we celebrate Easter because Jesus Christ was resurrected.
Draw or obtain pictures of items related to the secular celebration of Easter in your area, such as candy, eggs, flowers, or fancy clothes. Before class, display these on the table, floor, or chalkboard. Display cutout 2-12, Jesus resurrected, among the other pictures.
Prepare to sing or say the words to
“Did Jesus Really Live Again?” (Children’s Songbook, p. 64).
A small sack or box.
Cutout 2-5, scene of the Crucifixion; cutout 2-6, wrapping Jesus’ body; cutout 2-7, tomb; cutout 2-8, large stone; cutout 2-9, guards; cutout 2-10, angel; cutout 2-11, women with ointments; cutout 2-12, Jesus resurrected. Stack the cutouts in the order they will be used in the story of the first Easter.
Picture 2-65, The Resurrected Jesus Christ (Gospel Art Picture Kit 239; 62187).
Make the necessary preparations for any enrichment activities you want to use.
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Follow up with the children if you encouraged them to do something during the week.
We Remember Jesus Christ at Easter
Show the pictures you have displayed on the table, floor, or chalkboard. Have the children identify one picture at a time and explain how the items pictured relate to local secular Easter customs.
After the children discuss each item, ask:
Is this item really why we celebrate Easter? (No.)
Then have a child remove the picture and place it in a small sack or box.
Continue discussing the pictures until only the cutout of Jesus Christ remains.
Is this really why we celebrate Easter? (Yes.)
Remind the children that Jesus Christ is the real reason we celebrate Easter. Jesus did something very wonderful for us on the first Easter.
Jesus Christ Was Resurrected on the First Easter
Scripture story with cutouts
Tell in your own words the story of the first Easter (see Matthew 27:57–66; 28:1–8; Mark 15:16–20, 40–47; 16:1–11; Luke 23:44–46; and John 20:1–18). Let the children take turns holding up the appropriate cutouts as you tell the story. If the children know the story, let them help you tell it.
Have a child hold up cutout 2-5, scene of the Crucifixion.
Explain that the wicked people who did not like Jesus Christ had finally obtained permission from their leaders to put him to death. These people beat Jesus and made fun of him. They took him to a hill outside the city and nailed him to a cross.
Have the child put down the cutout of the Crucifixion, and have another child hold up cutout 2-6, wrapping Jesus’ body.
Explain that after Jesus died, his friends showed their love for him by taking care of his body. Carefully they took it down from the cross. They wrapped it in clean, new cloth and put it in a tomb, which is a small cave or a room carved out of a rock in the hillside.
Have the child put down the cutout of wrapping Jesus’ body, and have other children hold up cutout 2-7, tomb, and cutout 2-8, large stone.
Explain that after Jesus’ friends laid his body in the tomb, they rolled a large stone over the doorway.
How do you think Jesus’ friends felt that evening?
Have a child hold up cutout 2-9, guards.
Tell the children that later some of the Savior’s enemies placed guards at the tomb. They did this because Jesus had told the people that he would be resurrected in three days. His enemies did not believe he would be resurrected. They thought Jesus’ friends would hide his body and say he was alive again.
Have a child hold up cutout 2-10, angel.
Explain that on the morning of the third day an angel came and rolled away the stone at the entrance to the tomb. The guards were very frightened, and they fell down as if they were dead.
Have the children put down the cutouts of the guards and the large stone, and have another child hold up cutout 2-11, women with ointments.
Tell the children that on the same day, which was Sunday, some women who were Jesus’ friends went to the tomb. They brought spices to put on Jesus’ body. This was something people at that time did to show love and respect for the person who had died.
Explain that the women wondered how they would move the heavy stone from the tomb. But when they arrived at the tomb, they saw that the stone was rolled away and Jesus’ body was gone. Near the tomb they saw an angel.
How do you think the women felt when they saw that the Savior’s body was gone?
How do you think they felt when they saw the angel?
Read aloud from Matthew 28:5–6 what the angel said to the women.
Explain that the angel also told the women to go quickly and tell the disciples that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead (see Matthew 28:7).
Have the children put down all the cutouts, and have another child hold up cutout 2-12, Jesus resurrected.
Explain that the women did go tell the other disciples, and later the other disciples saw Jesus. He was alive again.
How do you think the disciples felt when they knew that Jesus Christ was alive again?
Place all the cutouts face down on the table or floor. Have the children take turns choosing a cutout and telling the applicable part of the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
We Are Reminded at Easter That We Will Be Resurrected
Display picture 2-65, The Resurrected Jesus Christ.
Explain that when Jesus Christ died, his spirit left his physical body and went to heaven. After three days, his spirit came back into his physical body and his physical body was alive again. We call this being resurrected. Have the children say resurrected aloud several times.
Explain that Jesus was the first of Heavenly Father’s children to be resurrected. Because he was resurrected, we will all be resurrected too. We may not be resurrected just three days after we die, as Jesus was, but someday we will be resurrected.
Tell a story about a child who was happy when she thought about Jesus Christ and his resurrection. You may want to use the following story:
Carmen liked to play in her yard near the garden of her neighbor, Brother Schmidt. Often while Brother Schmidt worked in his garden, Carmen would talk to him. They became good friends.
One day Carmen’s mother told her that because Brother Schmidt was very old, he had died. His spirit had left his physical body, and his physical body was no longer alive.
Carmen knew she would miss Brother Schmidt, but her mother reminded her of the Easter story. Carmen remembered the story of Jesus’ resurrection. She knew that Jesus said we would all be resurrected and live again after we die. Carmen knew that Brother Schmidt would be resurrected too. She was happy that Jesus made it possible for us to be resurrected.
Explain that we refer to the day Jesus Christ was resurrected as the first Easter. All over the world, people who love Jesus celebrate his resurrection on Easter.
Why do we feel happy at Easter? (We know that we and all our loved ones will be resurrected as Jesus was.)
What are some things we can do to remember Jesus Christ and show our happiness at Easter time? (Answers may include talking about Jesus at home, singing songs about Jesus with our families, and having special Easter lessons, programs, and songs at church.)
Have the children stand and sing or say the words to “Did Jesus Really Live Again?” Help them do the actions indicated:
Bear your testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Tell the children how you feel knowing that someday you and your loved ones will be resurrected.
Encourage the children to talk about Jesus Christ’s resurrection with their families.
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.
Choose from the following activities those that will work best for the children in your class. You can use them in the lesson itself or as a review or summary. For additional guidance, see “Class Time” in “Helps for the Teacher.”
Read the picture story “The First Easter” (found at the end of the lesson) with the children. At the appropriate places, help the children fill in the words represented by the pictures. If possible, you may want to make a copy of the story for each child.
Bring a picture of a family member or friend of yours who has died. Show the picture to the children and talk about some of the things you did with this person and why you admire and love him or her. Express how you feel about knowing that you will be able to see this person again someday.
Give each child a piece of paper labeled We Will Live Again. Give the children crayons and ask them to draw pictures of loved ones who have died or of their families. Let the children tell the other class members about their pictures.
Remind the children that because Jesus Christ was resurrected, we will all be resurrected after we die. All our loved ones will also be resurrected someday.
Discuss with the children any physical or mental disabilities they are familiar with or have observed. Help the children understand that when we are resurrected, our bodies will be perfect (see Alma 40:23). No one will have any disabilities. Discuss how wonderful that will be.
Sing or say the words to
“Jesus Has Risen” (Children’s Songbook, p. 70) with the children.Jesus has risen,Jesus, our friend.Joy fills our hearts;He lives again.Praises we sing to him,This Eastertime.Jesus has risen,Savior divine.Jesus has risen,Savior divine!