PRETEEN MINISTRY LESSON FOR EASTER

Each of us have a choice about how we will respond to Jesus this Easter and always.

Will doubts, difficulties, and distractions get the better of us or will we let belief, hope, and relationship be the thing that keeps us close to our Savior?

Easter Preteen Ministry Lesson

Bottom Line: This Easter, each of us have a choice about how we will respond to Jesus.

Bible: Matthew 26:57-68; Luke 24:1-11; Luke 22:54-62; Hebrews 11:6

SUPPLIES

Large paper plate with ribbon through it for every five preteens. (Plate will sit on their head with the lip facing up so it can hold eggs.)

20 plastic easter eggs for every five preteens

A starting line

Simple costume piece and a prop for each Easter story character (Caiaphas, Mary Magdalene, and Peter)

Three chairs at the front of the room.

Three 8.5×11 envelopes and three letter sized pieces of paper

OPENING ACTIVITY: EASTER BONNET RACE

Have preteens line up in groups of five at one end of the playing area with their “Easter bonnet”.

At the other end, place the 20 plastic easter eggs on the floor or on a table.

On GO, the first player in line puts the “bonnet” on their head by resting it on top and holding the ribbon under their chin to keep it stable.

They walk across the room with their bonnet, put an egg onto it and walk back.

They hand off the bonnet (with the egg still on it) to the next player.

The next player then wears the bonnet and returns to add a second egg to the bonnet.

Play continues in the same manner, adding one egg at a time, player by player.

If any team drops an egg from their bonnet at any point, including during the transfer to the next player, their team is out and must sit down.

The object of the game is to see which team can collect the most eggs on their Easter bonnet without dropping any.

If a team is already out and another team continues to successfully place Easter eggs onto their bonnet, then add more eggs to their pile as needed from the disqualified teams.

Hint: Feel free to have a leader at one end helping place the egg strategically onto the bonnet, after that the eggs on the bonnet cannot be touched.

Have preteens return to their seat when the game is finished.

Say: 

That game was really hard for some teams!

In the same way, the Easter story can be difficult for people.

In fact, it was incredibly difficult for people who were there at that very first Easter.

With that in mind, we’re going to dig into the Easter story in a fun way with a special activity called “You Be the Judge”.

TEACH

In advance, choose three dramatically inclined preteens to play the role of each person.

Give them a simple costume and prop to help them in their role.

Their big job is to make an entrance as you announce them.

Also, give each preteen an 8.5×11 envelope with a piece of paper that has their response to Jesus written on it.

This envelope won’t get opened until after the introductions and after the Scripture passages are read.

Say:

Today, we’re going to meet the people of Easter!

Three special individuals from the Easter story have made a point of being here with us.

As we hear each of their stories, you will listen and decide how these people chose to respond to Jesus.

You will be the judge as to whether or not they chose to believe or reject Him.

Are you ready?

First up, we have Caiaphas the High Priest!

Found in the book of Matthew, this man is known among the Jews as their supreme religious leader.

It was the high priest that the people would go to so they could know the will of God.

The high priest was also responsible for offering up the sin offering for all the people so that they would be forgiven.

When Jesus came along claiming He could forgive sins, it made Caiaphas very uncomfortable.

He had a very important role that wouldn’t be important anymore if what Jesus said was true.

Before Jesus was crucified, Caiaphas brought Jesus to be questioned by him in the presence of the other Jewish leaders.

Let’s read together in Matthew 26:57-68 to hear this questioning take place.

Pause here to read the Scripture passage together.

Will Caiaphas choose to believe in Jesus and what His death and resurrection meant or will he reject Jesus?

Find out later when you will be the judge!

Have Caiaphas sit at the front with his envelope.

Next up, we have Mary Magdalene.

Found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, this woman was changed by Jesus’ presence on the earth.

She was cured of evil spirits and diseases and she had been following Jesus ever since as He went among the people helping them.

Mary witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion and was devastated.

Jesus was no longer with them.

What would happen next?

Let’s read a part of Mary’s story from Luke 24:1-11.

Pause here to read the Scripture passage together.

Wow! What a crazy story of Jesus’ resurrection where Mary hears from two men, sent from God, that He is risen.

She thinks it might be true, but when she and the other women tell the apostles, they don’t believe her.

Will Mary be able to believe even if the others don’t yet or will she reject the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection?

You be the judge!

Have Mary take a seat with her envelope.

Last of all, we have Peter, a fisherman called by Jesus who walked closely with Jesus.

He has walked on water, seen Jesus calm the wind and the waves, ate one final meal with Jesus, and in the garden he cut off a soldier’s ear in an effort to keep Jesus from being arrested.

Peter is passionate about following Jesus but as Jesus is arrested and the disciples flee, he begins to have doubts.

Just as Jesus predicted, Peter’s story unfolds.

Let’s read in Luke 22:54-62.

Pause here to read the Scripture passage together.

Will Peter recover from his betrayal of Jesus or will he decide it’s not worth the pain?

You be the judge as we look at each person that has been introduced.

Have Peter take a seat with his envelope.

Now preteens, you have seated before you these three people who were a part of the very first Easter long ago.

How do you think they responded to Jesus in the end?

Did they believe He was who He said He was or not.

You be the judge!

As I point to each person I want you to give me the thumbs up if you think they believed and a thumbs down if you think they rejected Jesus.

When we are done voting, that person will open the envelope and reveal their response.

Go through each of the three people.

Once preteens see the revealed answer, take a moment to find out if they already knew and how.

Have them recount parts of the stories they might remember.

Fill in the gaps so that they have a clear picture of what each person decided in the end.

Say:

Thank you Caiaphas, Mary, and Peter for your part in our lesson here today.

You can go ahead and return to your seats with our other preteens while we continue on.

Each person in our Easter story today had a choice to make about how they would respond to Jesus.

This Easter, the same is true for you and I.

We can choose to believe that Jesus came to die for our sins and rose again so that we could someday live forever with Him, or we can reject it and choose to walk our own way alone.

It might be an easy choice for you to make or a difficult one.

Perhaps you made the choice a long time ago but since then, things have gotten in the way and made it hard for you to choose to follow Jesus.

Let’s take a quick look at what some of those things might be:

DOUBTS 

Is Jesus really who He says He is?

Is He really there?

Does He really know all about me?

These thoughts sometimes enter our minds and they are called doubts.

Having doubts is normal and it’s how we respond to those doubts that makes the difference.

Peter didn’t believe Mary and the other women at first when they reported that Jesus had risen, but he went to the tomb to see for himself – once he did, he believed.

Another person at that first Easter, named Thomas, wasn’t sure Jesus was for real when he saw Him after His resurrection.

He put his hands into Jesus’ nail scars just to be sure.

Make sure your doubts cause you to search hard for the truth found in the Bible rather than run away from it.

DIFFICULTIES

Difficulties might include family issues, school issues, thoughts about yourself that aren’t kind, friendship issues, or even just a bad day.

All of these things can make it seem as though Jesus is far away from you.

I’m sure when Mary looked up at that cross on the day Jesus died, it must have seemed hopeless.

She must have felt very alone.

Don’t let difficulties leave you in a hopeless place.

Jesus promised He would not leave us orphans but would send us the Holy Spirit to live in us and be with us.

He told us the Holy Spirit would be our comforter and guide.

Make sure your difficulties cause you to turn to the Holy Spirit for comfort and hope.

DISTRACTIONS

Distractions, such as video games, friends, sports, or how we look are all good things.

However, when they can become the most important things, they turn into distractions that keep us from knowing Jesus.

Caiaphas was so into his role as high priest and its importance that he completely missed who Jesus was.

Even when Jesus spoke it plainly while being questioned.

Jesus wants to speak to each one of us and remind us that He is with us and that He can do amazing things through us.

Make sure distractions don’t keep you from spending time with God.

When we spend time with Him we can hear His voice and understand who He is.

This Easter we have a choice about how we will respond to Jesus.

Make sure doubts, difficulties, and distractions don’t take the place of your belief in God, your hope in God, and your friendship with God this Easter.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”

Let’s seek God and respond to Him in faith this Easter.

He promises He will meet with us when we do.

Close in Prayer.

As you close in prayer, take some quiet time for preteens to seek God.

Explain that this is a good time for them quietly to express any doubts, difficulties, or distractions that may be keeping them from responding to God.

After a short time of silence and waiting, close in prayer.

Have your leaders available afterwards in a comfortable place in your room for any preteens who would like to pray with a leader for a specific need.

 

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