Leader Bible Study
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are essential to the Christian faith. If we teach Jesus as a respected teacher and miracle-worker who claimed to be the Messiah and who was crucified on the cross—but who was not resurrected—then we are teaching the Jesus of Judaism. If we teach Jesus as a wise teacher and prophet who ascended into heaven—but who was not crucified—then we are teaching the Jesus of Islam.
Jesus’ purpose for coming to earth was to save us from our sins. (Matt. 1:21) Jesus came to die to show God’s love to us (Rom. 5:7-8) so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Jesus came to die so that we would be forgiven. (Eph. 1:7) Jesus came to die to bring us to God. (1 Pet. 3:18)
Jesus died on the cross to satisfy the wrath of God toward sin. His resurrection proved that God was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice. If Jesus had died but not been raised up, He would have been like military leaders who died without a throne. (Acts 5:33-37) But Jesus conquered death, just as He said He would. (John 2:19-21) If there was no resurrection, Paul says, our faith would be worthless. We would be dead in our sins. (1 Cor. 15:17)
But Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope for our resurrection. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will raise our bodies to life. (Rom. 8:11)
Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection are not the end of the story, but the center of it. As you teach kids this Bible story, emphasize the gospel: the good news of who Jesus is and what He has done. We do not worship a dead Savior. Jesus is alive! There is hope for sinners. Jesus’ resurrection gives believers the promise of new life. “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
The BIBLE Story
Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection
Matthew 26–28; 1 Corinthians 15
After Jesus was arrested, He was led to the high priest. The religious leaders were trying to find a reason to kill Jesus, but they could not. The high priest asked, “Are You the Messiah, the Son of God?”
Jesus replied, “Yes, that’s right.”
The high priest said, “He has spoken against God! He deserves to die!” The religious leaders refused to believe that Jesus was God’s Son.
In the morning, the religious leaders led Jesus to Pilate, the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” Pilate asked.
“Yes, that’s right,” Jesus replied.
“What should I do with Jesus?” Pilate asked the crowd. “Crucify Him!” they answered. Pilate did not think Jesus had done anything wrong, but he handed Jesus over and said, “Do whatever you want.”
The governor’s soldiers put a scarlet robe on Jesus. They made a crown of thorns and put it on His head. Then they mocked Him: “Here is the King of the Jews!” They beat Jesus and led Him away to be killed.
The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. They put a sign above His head that said THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Two criminals were crucified next to Him.
Darkness covered the land. Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus shouted again and then He died. Suddenly, the curtain in the temple sanctuary split in two, from top to bottom, and there was an earthquake. One of the men guarding Jesus’ body said, “This man really was God’s Son!”
Jesus was buried in a tomb. A stone was sealed in front of the tomb so that no one could steal Jesus’ body.
On the third day, Mary Magdalene (MAG duh leen) and the other Mary went to the tomb. Suddenly there was an earthquake. An angel of the Lord rolled back the stone and sat on it. The guards were so afraid that they fainted.
The angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus. He is not here. He has risen, just like He said He would.”
The women left the tomb quickly. They ran to tell the disciples the good news. Just then Jesus greeted them. The women worshiped Him. “Don’t be afraid,” Jesus told them. “Tell My followers to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.”
Jesus appeared to Peter and then to the other disciples. Jesus also appeared to more than 500 people who followed Him. Many people witnessed that Jesus is alive!
Christ Connection: Jesus’ death and resurrection is the center of the gospel. In Adam, we were spiritually dead in sin, but Jesus died to pay for our sins. Jesus is alive! God gives new life to everyone who trusts in Jesus.
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