The path Jesus took to secure salvation for the world was a costly, painful, difficult one. And yet, it wasn’t “plan B.” God knew from the beginning what it would cost to redeem humanity, and He made us anyway.
Revelation 13:8 [NKJV] “All who dwell on the earth will worship (the beast), whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
It’s hard to understand God’s ability to see everything from all time – all at once – but He does. He knew from creation that we would need a Savior, and Jesus has always been the plan.
- Which do you think was tougher for God at the beginning – knowing that your prized creation would need you to save them, or knowing that even with all your efforts, some would still choose to reject you?
- If God knew humans would sin, did they really have a choice, or were they predetermined to fail? Talk over the different angles… then be thankful that God understands things beyond what our logical brainscan handle.
Colossians 1:16-17 [NASB95] “…all things have been created through Him (Jesus) and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Not only did Jesus know He’d have to save us… but He was the one who created the materials for the tools used to crucify Him. He even knew when He was doing it, they’d be used that way. They were made for Him! There was a level of determination and intentionality through that creation that could only be motivated by unbelievable love.
- When you consider Jesus as not only Savior, but Creator, how does that change the way you feel about the crucifixion?
- How does it affect the way you see His love for you?
3. Prayer Focus
Praise God for being victorious over death, and for His great love, which is more than any human could give. Thank Him for loving you enough to plan for your salvation.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
Matthew 28:5,6 “The angel said, …‘You are looking for Jesus… He isn’t here. He has been raised from the dead.”
What’s Up: “Don’t Be Surprised, Jesus Is ALIVE!”
Jesus took the world by SURPRISE when he showed up on the scene 2,000 years ago. Never before had the world seen such power, love, and holiness. But that was just the beginning of Jesus’ SURPRISES! In today’s lesson, we learn of Jesus’ biggest SURPRISE of ALL!
(Get cupcakes or a small cake to eat while you and your child have this discussion.)
- Have you been to asurprise party before?
- Why is it called asurprise party? (i.e. the person didn’t know it was going to happen)
Jesus’ disciples were SURPRISED when Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. They expected Jesus to overthrow the Roman government so that He could be saved. Instead, He was in the grave.
But nothing could equal the SURPRISE that the world experienced the very first Easter Sunday morning. The tomb was empty, and Jesus was alive!
Do you think Jesus was surprised that He was alive?
Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen! He wasn’t surprised at all. In fact, He did it all on purpose! He died and rose again so that you and I could be forgiven for our sins. All we have to do is ask for His forgiveness!
4. Prayer Focus
Pray for your child if they want to receive Jesus as their Savior. Lead them in a prayer to receive forgiveness of their sin.
Adult & Teen Discussion Guide
Jesus came to make life better – not just in eternity, but in this season of living on earth. That difference that He brings is more than theory or philosophy – it’s a real-world, observable change that lifts every part of life.
John 10:10 [ESV] “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Jesus’ famous words still ring true today. There’s a level of living that can only exist when the Holy Spirit is regenerating us from the inside out. It’s that change – the kind that people can see – that gives credibility to our story when we share with others.
Q. What are some visible changes that happen in people when they surrender their lives to God?
Q. What’s an example of a behavior or way of life that’s different in you because of the Holy Spirit’s influence?
Psalm 42:1-2 [ESV] “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
Have you ever had a craving for something, but didn’t know exactly what it was that you were missing? Frustrating, for sure! You understand that the craving in your spirit is for God, but people who don’t know God don’t realize what they’re missing. That’s what’s so exciting about sharing the gospel? Getting to see someone made spiritually whole when they first encounter God’s abundant life!
Q. Think back to when you first gave your life to God. How would you describe the difference between the pre-God you, and the spiritually-whole you? Q. The people in your life who need God may not realize what it is they’re missing. How would you explain the difference God can make in their life?
3. Prayer Focus
Take a few minutes as a family: thank God for making your life abundantly better (be specific!). Ask the Holy Spirit to use you to share that experience with other people who need to experience the God-life.
Family with Small Children Discussion Guide
1. Power Verse
Matthew 28:5-6 “The angel said, … ‘You are looking for Jesus… He isn’t here. He has been raised from the dead.’”
What’s Up: “I Believe Jesus is ALIVE”
Thomas gets a bad rap. Most of us know him as “Doubting Thomas,” but he is not the only one to ever have doubts about Jesus. If we are honest, we all struggle with doubts from time to time. Sadly, we choose to hide our doubts because we are ashamed and think they make us less of a Christian.
2. Bible Reading
Instead, we should admit our doubts to God and ask Him to help us overcome them with faith. The truth is – even if we doubt Jesus rose from the dead, it doesn’t change the truth that He did!
Read: Luke 22-24
Judas Agrees to Hand Jesus Over
22 The Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was near. 2 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for a way to get rid of Jesus. They were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, who was called Iscariot. Judas was one of the 12 disciples. 4 He went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard. He talked with them about how he could hand Jesus over to them. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 Judas accepted their offer. He watched for the right time to hand Jesus over to them. He wanted to do it when no crowd was around.
The Last Supper
7 Then the day of Unleavened Bread came. That was the time the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John on ahead. “Go,” he told them. “Prepare for us to eat the Passover meal.” 13 Peter and John left. They found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover meal. 17 After Jesus took the cup, he gave thanks. He said, “Take this cup and share it among yourselves. 18 I tell you, I will not drink wine with you again until God’s kingdom comes.” 19 Then Jesus took bread. He gave thanks and broke it. He handed it to them and said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do this in memory of me.”
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives. His disciples followed him. 40 When they reached the place, Jesus spoke. “Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted,” he said to them. 41 Then he went a short distance away from them. There he got down on his knees and prayed. 42 He said, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup of suffering away from me. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus and gave him strength. 44 Because he was very sad and troubled, he prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 After that, he got up from prayer and went back to the disciples. He found them sleeping. They were worn out because they were very sad. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up! Pray that you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted.”
Jesus Is Arrested
47 While Jesus was still speaking, a crowd came up. The man named Judas was leading them. He was one of the 12 disciples. Judas approached Jesus to kiss him. 48 But Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you handing over the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen. So they said, “Lord, should we use our swords against them?” 50 One of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, “Stop this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus spoke to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders. They had all come for him. “Am I leading a band of armed men against you?” he asked. “Do you have to come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courtyard. And you didn’t lay a hand on me. But this is your hour. This is when darkness rules.”
The Guards Make Fun of Jesus
63 There were men guarding Jesus. They began laughing at him and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him. They said, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 They also said many other things to make fun of him.
Jesus Is Brought to Pilate and Herod
66 At dawn the elders of the people met together. These included the chief priests and the teachers of the law. Jesus was led to them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”
Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me. 68 And if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” 70 They all asked, “Are you the Son of God then?” He replied, “You say that I am.” 20 Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 Pilate spoke to them for the third time. “Why?” he asked. “What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go.” 23 But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people’s shouts won out. 24 So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted.
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
32 Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law. 33 The soldiers brought them to the place called the Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots.
44 It was now about noon. Then darkness covered the whole land until three o’clock. 45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my life.” After he said this, he took his last breath. 47 The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, “Jesus was surely a man who did what was right.” 48 The people had gathered to watch this sight. When they saw what happened, they felt very sad. Then they went away. 49 But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching these things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.
Jesus Is Buried
50 A man named Joseph was a member of the Jewish Council. He was a good and honest man. 51 Joseph had not agreed with what the leaders had decided and done. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judea. He himself was waiting for God’s kingdom. 52 Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 Joseph took it down and wrapped it in linen cloth. Then he placed it in a tomb cut in the rock. No one had ever been buried there. 54 It was Preparation Day. The Sabbath day was about to begin. 55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus’ body was placed in it. 56 Then they went home. There they prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath day in order to obey the Law.
Jesus Rises From the Dead
24 It was very early in the morning on the first day of the week. The women took the spices they had prepared. Then they went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from it. 3 When they entered the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 They were wondering about this. Suddenly two men in clothes as bright as lightning stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified. They bowed down with their faces to the ground. Then the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 Jesus is not here! He has risen! Remember how he told you he would rise. It was while he was still with you in Galilee. 7 He said, ‘The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people. He must be nailed to a cross. On the third day he will rise from the dead.’ ” 8 Then the women remembered Jesus’ words. 9 They came back from the tomb. They told all these things to the 11 apostles and to all the others. 10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them were the ones who told the apostles. 11 But the apostles did not believe the women. Their words didn’t make any sense to them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He bent over and saw the strips of linen lying by themselves. Then he went away, wondering what had happened.
Jesus Appears to the Disciples
36 The disciples were still talking about this when Jesus himself suddenly stood among them. He said, “May you have peace!” 37 They were surprised and terrified. They thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled? Why do you have doubts in your minds? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see. A ghost does not have a body or bones. But you can see that I do.” 40 After he said that, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 But they still did not believe it. They were amazed and filled with joy. So Jesus asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of cooked fish. 43 He took it and ate it in front of them.
44 Jesus said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you. Everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must come true.”
45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written. The Messiah will suffer. He will rise from the dead on the third day. 47 His followers will preach in his name. They will tell others to turn away from their sins and be forgiven. People from every nation will hear it, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You have seen these things with your own eyes. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised. But for now, stay in the city. Stay there until you have received power from heaven.”
Jesus Is Taken Up Into Heaven
50 Jesus led his disciples out to the area near Bethany. Then he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them. He was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him. With great joy, they returned to Jerusalem. 53 Every day they went to the temple, praising God.
Q. How did Jesus die? How long was he buried?
Q. What happened on the third day? What did the angel say?
John 20:24-29 Now Thomas… one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands… I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Q. Who doubted that Jesus rose from the dead?
Q. What did Thomas say when the disciples told him about Jesus?
Q. When did Thomas finally choose to believe?
Q. What did Jesus say about those who believe without seeing?
It’s okay to have doubts. Jesus doesn’t get angry when we doubt, but He does want us to admit our doubt and allow Him to help us overcome it and replace it with strong faith.
4. Prayer Focus
Pray that God would help your children to leave their doubt behind and choose faith. Remind them that Jesus loves them even when they doubt, but He wants their lives to be full of faith so they can do amazing things for Him.