Background: Good Friday is the day that Jesus was crucified. It is a somber day, one of mourning and darkness. Jesus died to pay for our sins. In the past, an animal sacrifice was required to pay for someone’s sins, and the requirement for animal sacrifices did not end. When Jesus became that sacrifice, he paid for our sins once and for all. Discussing death with children can be challenging, so it’s important to know how they understand death. Preschoolers (under age 5) do not understand death as final. We can tell them that Jesus’ body did not breathe anymore, but that good news would come on Sunday. 6-9 year olds understand death a bit more, and can understand that Jesus died on a cross. Keep in mind that they may be scared of death, so be sure to assure them that unlike everyone else, Jesus’ death was not final. 10 year olds understand death more fully and can comprehend the concept that Jesus died to pay for our sins. It’s important to let children know that Jesus’ death was not final, yet the concept that death precedes resurrection is important to discuss. (Theresa M. Huntley, Helping Children Grieve, 18-23)
Scripture Focus: Matthew 27:24-56, Mark 15:6-41, Luke 23:18-49, John 19:16-37
Activity: Talk about how Jesus was mocked, beaten, and put on a cross on Good Friday. Focus on the sadness and tragedy of this event, but leave out the gory details. Why did Jesus die on the cross? (He allowed men to put him on a cross so that he could pay for our sins. Jesus took all of the wrong things we’ve done to the cross with him. When he died, our sins went away too.) It is sad when people die. It was especially sad for the people who loved and knew Jesus. Even though today is a sad day, though, good news is coming. When people die, we don’t see them again. But this was not the case with Jesus. On Sunday, we’ll celebrate the good news!
Prayer: God, it must have been sad to let your son die on a cross. Thank you for letting him pay for our sins. In Jesus’ name, Amen.