This Easter Sunday school lesson from Group Publishing’s Dig In Sunday school curriculum teaches kids that Jesus is our Savior. Pick and choose the sections to create the perfect lesson for your classroom.
Dig In to the Bible
- Read: Luke 23:26–24:12
- In This Passage: Jesus is forced to endure the punishment of a criminal—death on a cross—even though he himself is sinless. Why? Because Jesus is our Savior, taking the punishment for our wrongdoings. But the story doesn’t end there! Jesus comes back to life in three days. Jesus is alive!
- Bible Point: Jesus is our Savior.
- Summary Verse: “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:6)
- You’ll Be Teaching: Jesus is our Savior. The Easter message is the core of Christian beliefs. You may have a lot of visitors today, and they along with the more “churched” kids need to grasp this important truth of the Christian faith: Jesus is our Savior, who died for us and came back to life so we can be with him forever.
- Think About: What stands out to you about Jesus’ sacrifice? Why does it matter that Jesus overcame death?
Dig In to Prayer
- Pray for kids who are unfamiliar with the message of Easter. Pray that God would give them receptive hearts to accepting Jesus as their Savior.
- You may have visitors who aren’t usually in your class. If that’s the case, include them as much as possible. It’s valuable for them to feel welcomed and included. It may even make them want to come back next week!
Easter Sunday School Lesson: Jesus is our Savior
Opening (5 Minutes)
- Thank kids for coming.
- Just for fun, have kids jump up and say “Jesus is alive” to two friends.
- Make announcements.
- Introduce new kids.
- Celebrate birthdays by doing a birthday cheer, starting with “Give me an H!”
- Collect the offering.
Introduce the Lesson
Say: Jesus is our Savior! Today we’ll learn about when Jesus died to save us and then came back to life.
Say: A savior is a kind of a hero. It’s a person who rescues someone.
Tell about someone who’s a hero to you.
Have kids get in pairs and tell about someone who’s a hero to them.
Open a Bible, and say: Today we’ll explore how Jesus is our Savior and what that means to us! We’ll dig into the Bible to find out. The Bible is a very special book that helps us know God. One of the ways God talks to us is through the Bible. God is ready to talk to you right now.
Pray, thanking Jesus that he’s our Savior.
High-Energy Game: Run to the Rescue (5 Minutes
- crepe paper (2 different colors)
- masking tape
- Cut a 2-foot length of crepe paper from each of the two colors for flags.
- Tape a crepe-paper flag to the center of the wall just above kids’ eye level at opposite ends of the room.
- Cut four 1-foot strips of crepe paper per child, cutting an equal number of sets from each color.
- Tape a strip of masking tape across the center of the room.
Recommended for 6 or more kids.
Play a Version of Capture the Flag
Have children form two groups and stand at opposite ends of the room.
Give each child a set of crepe-paper strips that are the same color as the crepe-paper flag taped at the opposite end of the room. Have children tuck the end of each crepe-paper strip into the waist of their pants at the sides, with two strips on each side. If there are kids without waistbands, they can use masking tape to attach the crepe- paper strips at the hip.
Say: Your individual goal in this game is to finish with the most crepe-paper strips left, but your team goal is to be the first team to rescue your crepe-paper flag from the opposite end of the room. When you’re in enemy territory, people can stop you by stealing one of your strips. If you lose a strip, you have to go back to your side before continuing.
Play until one of the groups retrieves its flag. If a child loses all four crepe-paper strips, he or she must sit out until the game restarts. Congratulate the team that got its flag and kids who have the most crepe-paper strips remaining.
Replenish each child’s crepe-paper strips and play again if time allows.
Talk About It
Gather children, and have them sit on the floor.
Say: In the game, the goal was to rescue your flag without losing the crepe-paper strips hanging at your sides.
- What decisions did you have to make to rescue your flags?
- What sacrifices did you have to make to rescue the flag? Was it worth it?
- What sacrifices did Jesus make to rescue us?
Say: Some of you sacrificed your crepe-paper strips to help your group retrieve its flag. In the same way, Jesus made a sacrifice to save us. He gave his life so that we could be free from sin and live with him forever in heaven. Jesus is our Savior.
Core Bible Discovery (20 Minutes)
Easter: Jesus is Our Savior (Luke 23:26-24:12)
- 4 clear jars or glass containers
- dry-erase marker • small nails (several per child)
- small square of easily-ripped fabric (1 per child)
- piece of fabric large enough to cover 1 of the jars
- incense or cinnamon sticks
- Draw a cross on each jar with a dry-erase marker.
- Put 1 empty jar under the table, and cover the table with the tablecloth so kids can’t see under it.
- Place 2 empty jars on the table with a pile of nails near them, leaving space between them.
- Put 1 empty jar in a corner of the room. This jar should be identical to the one under the table.
Talk About Rescue
Say: Today we’re going to learn that Jesus is our Savior. A savior is someone who rescues or saves other people from danger or even death. Superheroes might be an example of pretend saviors.
Tell a superhero story you’re familiar with.
Have kids form pairs and share superhero stories they’re familiar with.
Say: Superheroes are pretend people who do made-up things. But Jesus is very real, and he really rescued all of us from death! Let’s see how he did that.
Carry a Jar
Say: Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong. Ever! But some people thought he had done wrong things. They thought it was wrong of him to say he is God, because they didn’t know that was really true. Back when Jesus was on earth, the law worked differently. Today, someone might get arrested and put in prison for doing something wrong. But during the time that Jesus lived on earth, punishments were really harsh. Prisoners were punished—or even put to death. Jesus’ punishment was dying on a cross—which means they nailed Jesus to a cross made of wood and waited for him to die. It was a terrible way to die. But first, Jesus had to get the cross up the hill. Let’s read about that.
Read Luke 23:26.
Ask a child to get the empty jar from the corner of the room and put it between the two other jars on the table. Make sure the child holds the jar in a way that doesn’t smudge the cross.
Say: We’ve put Jesus’ cross between two others because that’s what happened in the Bible. Jesus wasn’t the only one being punished.
Read Luke 23:32-33.
Say: The Bible doesn’t tell us what these criminals did wrong. But we know they really were criminals, unlike Jesus. He was innocent. Let’s think of things criminals do.
As kids share answers, put a nail in each of the criminals’ jars.
Confess Your Sins
Say: So what does all this have to do with the fact that Jesus is our Savior? Everything! You see, when Jesus died on the cross, he was taking a punishment he didn’t deserve. Unlike the criminals’ jars next to his, Jesus’ jar was empty—it had no sin in it. Sin means bad things people do. Because his jar was empty, he was able to take the punishment for other people—people like you and me. Even though we may not be criminals, we’ve all done wrong things.
Dim the lights if possible. Have kids come up to the table and silently tell Jesus they’re sorry for their sins, dropping a nail into the jar representing Jesus for each thing they mention. As each child walks away, whisper to him or her: Jesus is our Savior.
After all the kids have put nails in the jar, say: Jesus is such an amazing Savior because he not only took our punishment, he took the punishment of one of the criminals!
Read Luke 23:39-43. Say: Even though the criminal still had to die, Jesus forgave him, and he got to go to heaven. Jesus was his Savior!
Invite a child to pour the nails from one criminal’s jar into Jesus’ jar.
- How do you feel seeing Jesus’ jar full of all our sins?
Tear the Curtain
Give each child a small square of fabric. Say: After Jesus died, something happened that might be kind of confusing.
Read Luke 23:44-45. Make your room as dark as possible. While the lights are off, a helper should discreetly exchange Jesus’ jar for the empty jar under the table, set the empty jar on the table, and then cover the empty jar with a cloth. Stand away from the table so kids’ attention is on you, not the table.
Say: Even though it was the afternoon, things got really dark. Then the curtain in the Temple ripped. You might not understand why that’s important, but let’s see if we can make sense of that.
Read Hebrews 9:1-3. Say: The Most Holy Place was a place only one priest could go, and only once a year. It was a place where people thought God’s presence was the strongest. So when the curtain ripped, it was like God’s way of saying that now we can all be in God’s presence—there was nothing between us and God anymore. Jesus is our Savior, and when he died on the cross it took away things that stood between us and God. Let’s all rip our cloths on the count of three. 1, 2, 3! After kids rip their fabric, have them take a minute to talk to God, thanking him that they can talk to him anytime.
Celebrate the Resurrection
Say: Jesus is our Savior, and he gave his own life to rescue us. That’s pretty amazing! But there’s one more amazing thing we need to learn.
Turn the lights back on, and read Luke 24:1. Pass around incense or cinnamon sticks for kids to smell as you say: Dead bodies start to smell after a few days, so the women wanted to take care of Jesus’ body by making it smell good. They brought spices like the ones we smelled to put on Jesus’ body. But it turned out they didn’t need to worry about the smell…because this is what they found.
Read Luke 24:2-3.
As kids watch, lift the fabric to reveal the empty jar. Say: Jesus wasn’t there! He not only took the punishment for our sins, he beat the punishment for our sins! Our sins are gone! Jesus is an amazing Savior! Here’s what the women found out about Jesus.
Read Luke 24:5-7.
Say: After the women found out about Jesus, they rushed to tell other people who followed Jesus. Let’s run around the room and say “Jesus is alive!” to as many people as we can. Allow about 30 seconds for kids to share this good news with each other.
Say: The amazing thing about Easter is that Jesus is alive. Jesus is our Savior, but he’s not a dead savior—he’s alive and active in our lives today!
Deeper Bible: Why Did Jesus Have to Die? (15 Minutes)
- sticky notes
- crayons or markers
Explore the Cost of Sin
Say: Today we’re learning that Jesus is our Savior. But why did he have to die to save us? Couldn’t he have just decided to forgive us? Let’s dig into that.
Tell kids to listen for the punishment for sin as they listen to this verse.
Read Romans 6:23.
Say: We think of death as the end of life on earth. But in this verse, death really means being apart from God forever.
- Explain whether you think death is a fair punishment for sins.
Write and Remove Sins
Say: Whether we think it’s fair or not, the Bible says that the punishment for sin is death. But what about all those people who lived before Jesus? Do they just have no hope of forgiveness? As I read a verse, listen for what they did.
Read Leviticus 4:27-28.
Set out sticky notes and pens to share. Say: Let’s see what this was like for people who lived before Jesus was born. Think of some wrong things people do. They don’t have to be things you’ve done, just things you know are wrong. Write each thing you think of on a sticky note and stick the notes all over your clothes. Allow time.
Say: Now you’re covered in sin. So the punishment is death. But if you draw an animal, you can stick all your sticky notes to that animal. Distribute paper and crayons or markers, and have kids draw animals and put their sticky notes on them. Then take away all the animals.
Say: The problem is, those sins weren’t the only ones you’ll ever do in your life. Stick some more sticky notes to yourself. These can be blank, but kids will understand that they now represent sin.
Say: You’ve already had one animal take the punishment for your sins. But now you’re covered in sin again, so you need another animal, and another, and so on.
- How do you feel about that solution to sin?
Take On the Sins
Say: God had promised he’d make a better way to handle sin. He sent someone to take the punishment for everyone’s sins—past, present, and future—all at once. He sent Jesus.
Take the sticky notes off the kids and stick them to yourself as you continue to talk. Say: You each had to have a different animal to take on your sins before. But now Jesus took on everyone’s sins. He died to take the punishment for our sins. That’s how he saved us!
When you’ve taken on all the sticky notes, have kids put a few new ones on themselves. Then walk around and put them on yourself as you say: And even though we still do wrong things, Jesus’ death took on the punishment for everything wrong we’d ever do.
Talk About It
- How did you feel watching me take on your sins?
- What does it mean to you that Jesus did that for you?
Read Romans 5:9.
- So why did Jesus have to die?
Say: Let’s read another verse that helps us compare Jesus’ death and animal sacrifices.
Read Hebrews 10:3-4.
- Why do you think it wasn’t possible for the blood of animals to permanently take away sins?
Say: An animal’s sacrifice didn’t last forever because the animal didn’t come back to life. But Jesus did! When Jesus came back to life, he beat death! Here’s what death means to us now.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-55.
- How does this verse make you feel about death?
Say: Jesus is our Savior. He died to take the punishment for the things we do wrong. He came back to life, so he beat death! What a Savior!
Craft: Tissue-Paper Cross (20 Minutes)
- poster board
- colored tissue paper and white tissue paper
- glue sticks
- chenille wires
- duct tape
- Make a sample craft to show kids.
Make a Cross
Say: We’re learning that Jesus is our Savior. He died on the cross to save us from the punishment we deserve. Even people who are pretty good most of the time have still done wrong things or failed to do good all the time. And when Jesus was on the cross, he took the punishment for all the wrong things everyone has done.
Distribute poster board, and have kids each cut out a cross shape about 6 inches tall. Then have kids rip small pieces of tissue paper (approximately 2 inches square) and write some sins on each piece. They can be nonspecific wrong things or things the kids want to say they’re sorry for. Kids can use a variety of tissue-paper colors.
Have kids crumple the pieces of tissue paper they’ve made and glue them to their crosses. Kids can continue to crumple blank pieces of tissue paper and glue them until the whole cross is covered.
Make a Cross
Have kids make a loop out of chenille wire and tape it to the back of the cross. They can hang their crosses from a doorknob, a hook, or on the wall.
Say: Your crosses are totally covered in bad things. Some of the bad things are things you’ve done, and some are things other people have done. Because Jesus is the Savior of the whole world, he took the punishment for everything we did wrong when he died on the cross. Take a minute and talk silently to Jesus about that, touching the tissue paper on your cross. Allow time.
Then have kids crumple small pieces of white tissue paper and glue them to the other side of the cross.
Say: The white tissue paper can remind us that Jesus is our Savior. He forgave us for everything we could ever do wrong when he died on the cross. And the white can remind us of Easter morning, when the bright shining angels announced that Jesus is alive!
Talk About It
- How does this cross remind you of what Jesus did for you?
Say: When Jesus took the punishment for our sins, he saved us from being away from God forever. Jesus is our Savior! Hang your cross at home to remind you that Jesus died for you because he loves you so much and wants to be your Savior. And look at the white side to remember that Jesus forgives you and is alive today!
Life Application Wrap-Up: Prayer Circle (5 Minutes)
- white dot stickers
- colored dot stickers
Set the Stage
Gather kids in a circle.
Say: Today we learned that Jesus is our Savior. He took the punishment for everything we did wrong, even though he’s perfect.
Place a colored dot sticker on the back of every child, and have each child put a white dot sticker over his or her heart.
Pray for Forgiveness
In their circle, have kids turn to the right so they’re facing the back of the person who was to their right in the circle.
Say: Is there anything weighing on you right now—something you did wrong that you want to talk to Jesus about? Right now, talk to Jesus about that, and thank him for taking your punishment.
Say: Remember, when you believe in Jesus, he scrubs your sins away so you’re shiny and new. That’s because when he died, he took your punishment! Have kids remove the colored stickers from one another’s backs.
Thank Jesus for Beating Death
Have kids each place their hands over the white sticker on their heart.
Say: Jesus is alive! On that bright Easter morning, a shining angel announced that Jesus, our Savior, beat death! With your hand over the white sticker, thank Jesus for beating death.
Say: Jesus is our Savior. He died and came back to life to take our punishment! When we believe in him, we know he’ll love and forgive us.
Thank the children for coming. Have kids keep the white dots as a reminder that their Savior is alive.