Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection is an excellent Sunday School lesson for Easter. If you are looking for an object lesson for people who are unfamiliar with the Easter story, see our
Resurrection Eggs free pdf.
Note to the teacher: Before preparing this lesson, please read our approach to planning a
Sunday school lesson.
You will find it helpful to have a printed copy of the lesson planning sheet along side as you read the lesson. The progression will make more sense.
Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection
Bible Passage: Mark 15 - 16
The human need this passage meets is: to be able to have peace and confidence with our relationship with God.
Learning Goals: By the end of this session, each learner should be able to. . .
(Know) Name three ways Jesus crucifixion and resurrection blesses every believer
(Feel) Be more confident in our position and purpose in God's kingdom
(Do) Rejoice in God's plan and miracle evidenced in Jesus crucifixion and resurrection
On November 18, 1999 twelve people lost their lives at Texas A&M when a 400 foot tower of logs collapsed. The next day the Omaha World Herald published a report about this tragic moment.
Students on the campus of 43,000 were quick to defend the projects. "I've done this for years, ever since I was in high school," said a student who identified himself only as Brandon. "It's a freak accident, that's all it is," Brandon said, "God wanted it to happen so it happened."
This incident could not have been both a freak accident AND something God wanted to happen. If God wanted it to happen. . .it was no accident.
I believe that what happened in College Station, Texas was an accident - not planned.
But, I believe that what happened on the cross in Jerusalem - over 2,000 years ago (Jesus crucifixion and resurrection) - had been planned by God since the beginning of time. It wasn't an accident. God intervened in history for a reason - to reconcile man back to Himself.
Let's quickly summarize the main events of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.
Turn to Mark 14 in your Bibles.
Here is a review of the progression of events.
After Jesus was betrayed by Judas, he was arrested.
Mark 14:53 - Jesus was taken before the whole Sanhedrin (Jewish high court) who were looking for evidence to put Jesus to death.
Mark 15:1 - Early in the morning the Sanhedrin reached their decision - guilty. They sent Jesus to Pilate (the Roman governor).
Mark 15:14-15 - Pilate did not find that Jesus had committed any crimes. However, to satisfy the crowd he sentenced Jesus to be crucified.
Mark 15:25 - At 9:00 AM Jesus was crucified between two robbers.
Mark 15:34 - At 3:00 PM Jesus breathed his last.
At this juncture, I want us to remember that even though these events are horrible to imagine and visualize, this was a planned event.
I Corinthians 15:3 - Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. This was God's will.
Acts 2:23 - This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. What happened to Jesus was planned by God.
Praise the Lord the story doesn't end here.
Mark 15:42 - As evening approached Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus' body. He placed the body in a tomb cut out of a rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
Mark 16:2 - Very early on the first day of the week, some women brought spices to anoint the body of Jesus.
Mark 16:4 - When they arrived at the tomb, the stone was rolled away and an angel said to them, "You are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here."
This is the message of the gospel (good news): Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures. He was buried. He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures. I Corinthians 15:3-4
Jesus crucifixion and resurrection gives us every spiritual blessing and resource we need to function as God intends.
I want to remind you of three of these blessings.
1. Jesus crucifixion and resurrection gives us
Read Mark 15:37-38.
When Jesus died, the curtain of the temple was torn from the top to bottom.
This refers to the temple curtain that separated the holy place from the holy of holies. The curtain was a veil that no one dared step beyond except the chosen priest once a year.
While Mark tells us what happened, the book of Hebrews tells us what it meant:
Since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience.
To God the curtain in the temples symbolized the body of Jesus.
Since the curtain was torn (Jesus died), the way was now clear for man to approach God without fear.
By the blood of Jesus, our guilt is exchanged for permanent forgiveness, a cleansed heart, and full assurance that Jesus crucifixion was enough.
This is the clearest picture of undeserved grace in the Bible.
He was forsaken on the cross. . .we receive forgiveness.
He was punished for our sins. . .we receive inner peace.
Many believers have a hard time receiving such a gift and often try to prove their gratitude by nurturing and dwelling in constant regret.
But I want to remind you that we're not saved because we're continually sorry, but because Jesus died.
Listen to this quote by
The Futility of Regret from That Incredible Christian
There is indeed a godly sorry that worketh repentance, but the persistence of this sorrow until it becomes chronic regret is neither right or good. Once the soul has turned from sin and committed itself wholly to God there is no longer any legitimate place for regret. The forgiven man knows that he has sinned, but he no longer feels it. The guilt may be remembered, but the sting is gone from the memory.
I believe that the chronic unhappiness of most Christians may be attributed to the gnawing uneasiness that God has not fully forgiven them or the fear that He expects as the price of His forgiveness some sort of emotional penance which they have not furnished.
Regret for a sinful past will remain until we truly believe that for us in Christ, that sinful past no longer exists. The man in Christ has only Christ's past and that is perfect and acceptable to God.
(Hold up a piece of paper with writing on it.) Think of this paper as your life with a list of every bad thing you ever did. When the curtain was torn from top to bottom the list of your sins. . .was torn from top to bottom. (Tear paper.)
Your forgiveness is based on Christ's blood, not...
being a good person
being really sorry
being a better person
Since you are justified by God's grace, we have peace with God.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
REJOICE - When you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are forgiven.
2. Jesus crucifixion and resurrection gives us a purpose
Read Mark 16:6-7
The angel told the women to tell Jesus' disciples and especially Peter about Jesus' resurrection.
Peter was the only disciple to whom Christ sent this joyful news by name. Just a few days earlier Peter had boasted that he would never leave Jesus. But then a few hours later he disgraced himself by denying that he even knew Jesus. Peter probably wondered if God would ever use him again.
This was Jesus' way of saying "reassure and comfort Peter with the fact that. . .
I still want to be his friend, despite his failure.
I still want to be involved in Peter's future.
I still want to work in Peter's heart and restore him to leadership.
I want Peter to know that my grace is greater than his guilt, grief, or depression.
I want Peter to know that I have a purpose, a plan and a place for him.
It's one thing to forgive someone, it's quite another thing to remain their friend. Jesus is willing to both forgive you and restore you to friendship, purpose and usefulness.
I know a lot of people who have peace with God, but wonder what their worth is to God.
In his book Fresh Power, Pastor Jim Cymbala tells the story of David Berkowitz, the infamous "Son of Sam" from the New York City murders in 1977. As a young adult Berkowitz, who knew virtually nothing about Jesus, began to do random acts of violence.
After his arrest, he pleaded guilty to killing five women and one man. He was sentenced to over 300 years in prison. In 1987 an inmate approached him and said, "David, Jesus loves you and has a purpose for your life." Berkowitz laughed and said, "You don't know who you are talking to. No one could love someone who had commited such horrible crimes."
Yet, the inmate continued to talk to him and gave him a New Testament with Psalms. David's turning point was Psalm 118:3 - In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help." Soon after, he knelt by his bunk and asked Jesus Christ to be his Savior. Today, Berkowitz is not only a follower of Jesus - he is the Chaplain's Assistance at the correctional facility.
Cymbala writes, "David knows his crimes were so serious that he deserves to be locked up for life and he says the prison is his God-ordained sphere of ministry. To leave this setting, he says, would be to run from the call of God on his life, the way Jonah did. There's plenty to do here."
David Berkowitz didn't get a "get out of jail free" card; he got a purpose for living. God gave him a ministry and a purpose.
Jesus not only forgives, he restores your sense of worth and purpose.
Our forgiveness is based on Jesus crucifixion and resurrection (not ourselves) so our sense of worth and purpose is not based on what we think of ourselves, or what other people think of us, but on what Jesus thinks of us.
3. Jesus crucifixion and resurrection gives us confidence in God's power
Read Mark 16:9-14
The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene.
The disciples did not believe the two on the road in the country. (Road to Emmaeus. Luke 24)
Jesus confronted them for their unbelief.
The other gospels writers include the same initial doubts.
Matthew 28:17 - When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Luke 24:25 - How slow of heart you are to believe all the prophets have spoken.
John 20:27 - Thomas, put your finger here; see my hands. Put your hand into my side. Stop doubting and believe.
Luke 24:38 - Why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and feet. It is I myself. Touch me and see.
Acts 1:3 - for 40 days He showed Himself to the apostles, and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive.
How do we know that Jesus is alive today? Is there anyway we can tell?
We don't have time right now to go into all the evidences that the resurrection is true, but Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell have written many books examining and verifying the proofs of Jesus crucifixion and resurrection.
Jesus reveals His presence and His activity in simple, subtle ways.
Ray Stedman often told the story about a man who had been an alcoholic for many years before he became a follower of Jesus. One day a cynical friend asked him "Now that you are a follower of Jesus, surely you don't believe all those miracles in the Bible, do you?" "Yes I do," he answered. After a moment of silence the skeptical friend say, "Do you really believe that Jesus changed water into wine?" "I sure do," the new believer said, "But how can you believe such nonsense?" The follower of Jesus calmly replied "I'll tell you how - in our house Jesus changed beer into furniture."
When Jesus comes into your heart it isn't always sensational, it isn't always dramatic, but it is always a miracle.
Matthew 28:18-20 records some of Jesus' last words. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. I am with you always to the very end of the age."
Are you facing a situation today that you think is impossible? Jesus is not intimidated.
Did you bring a heart full of fear with you today? Jesus is not afraid.
Ephesians 1:19 describes God's power as like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.
Resurrection power is available to you today.
Since He's alive - He has the power. We can have rejoice in this confidence.
Jesus crucifixion and resurrection gives us forgiveness, a purpose, and confidence.
Discussion Questions for Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection:
1. How does chronic regret develop in the heart of a believer? What is the cure?
2. How does Jesus crucifixion and resurrection give you a purpose?
3. What is the relationship between being convinced that Jesus is alive and being confident of Jesus' power?
4. Which blessing causes you to rejoice today - forgiveness, a purpose, or confidence? Why?
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If you enjoyed the stories in Jesus Crucifixion and Resurrection, you will want to read
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with over 50 true stories with clear Bible teaching for people at all stages of faith.
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