This Easter Sunday school lesson from Group Publishing’s Dig In Sunday school curriculum teaches kids that Jesus has victory over death. Pick and choose the sections to create the perfect lesson for your classroom.
Dig In to the Bible
- Read: John 19:16–20:18
- In This Passage: Jesus dies on the cross. The world goes dark. His friends and followers are in mourning. But just when it seems like Jesus has lost…he comes back to life! Jesus is alive, and God wins! Through Jesus, we have victory over sin and death.
- Bible Point: God wins…
- Application: …so we have victory over sin and death.
- Summary Verse: “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57).
- You’ll Be Teaching: God wins. Kids love winning. They celebrate victory in a soccer game or even a board game. There’s just nothing like the feeling of victory! Help kids see that even though we win some games and lose some, we all have ultimate victory through Jesus.
- Think About: What worry, fear, or temptation feels like it’s winning in your life right now? Surrender it to God.
Dig In to Prayer
- Pray that any kids who don’t know Jesus will want to be his friend after hearing this important message.
- This lesson is the most important thing for kids to hear and understand. Be flexible, and let the Spirit guide you as you teach this lesson. If kids have a lot of questions about Jesus’ resurrection or what ultimate victory means, it’s okay to go off-plan and help them grapple with their questions.
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 having kids do a birthday cheer, starting with “Give me an H!” to spell out “happy.”
- Collect the offering.
Introduce the Lesson
Say: Today we’re going to learn that Jesus beat sin and death. God wins, so we have victory over sin and death! Let’s talk more about winning.
- Tell kids about a time you won something.
- Have kids form pairs. Ask kids to share about when they’ve won something.
- After partners have discussed, ask two or three kids to share with the whole group what they talked about with their partners.
Open a Bible to John 19, and say: It’s great to win. But when it comes to sports or board games, no one wins all the time. In today’s Bible story, we’ll see how God gives us victory over sin and death! God wins! Let’s dig in to the Bible to find out more. 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. So let’s talk with him.
Pray, praising God because he wins.
Core Bible Discovery (20 Minutes)
Jesus Has Victory Over Death (John 19:16-20:18)
- large box
- white bulletin board paper
- party supplies such as glow sticks, helium balloons, streamers, snacks, music player and music, and another sheet of bulletin board paper to make a banner
- Place all the party supplies in the large box. If you’re using glow sticks, activate them before putting them in the box. Also turn on the flashlight and place it in the box. Then wrap the box in white bulletin board paper.
Experience the Loss
- Tell about a time you lost a game or competition. Share your own story first.
Say: Losing at something important is hard. Today’s story is an epic battle. Good and evil had a showdown. God sent his Son, Jesus, as the ultimate good. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth. Jesus is God. Could evil beat God? Who will win, and who will lose? Let’s see.
Have kids gather around the white box to help draw the Bible story.
Read John 19:16-17. Have each child draw a cross on the box. At least four kids should be able to draw at once.
Read John 19:18-22. Have each child draw a sign that says “King of the Jews” on the box.
Read John 19:23-24. Have each child draw clothing on the box.
Read John 19:28-29. Have each child draw a sponge on a stick on the box. Read John 19:30. Have each child write “death” on the box.
Read John 19:32-34. Have each child draw a spear on the box.
Read John 19:40-42. Have each child draw a tombstone on the box.
Jesus Died for Our Sins
Say: Jesus died for our sins. That means he died for the things we’ve done wrong. Write or draw something you’ve done wrong on the box.
Turn off the lights.
Say: When Jesus died, it got dark, even though it was daytime. Now imagine if this was it. End of story. Jesus is dead. Look at our box. Our sins are still there. Death is all over it. Imagine if Jesus couldn’t do anything about sin and death. Think about what we would have lost if that were true.
Sit in silence for about 30 seconds while kids reflect on what we would’ve lost.
After 30 seconds, begin a sad, somber chant by saying, “We lost…” Have kids fill in the chant with what they thought of—for example, “We lost hope, we lost heaven, we lost love, we lost forgiveness, we lost joy, we lost church.” End the chant by simply declaring, “We lost. We lost. We lost.”
Pause a few seconds longer.
Say: I wonder if Satan thought he won that day. Jesus’ own friends thought the story was over. They lost. It seemed like evil beat God. Evil killed God.
Sit in silence in the darkness for a few more moments.
Celebrate the Victory
Say: But the story doesn’t end there. Jesus’ friends may not have understood it, Satan may not have known it, but Jesus had a surprise up his sleeve.
Turn on the lights.
Read John 20:1. Have kids tear the paper off the box and rip it into tiny pieces to obliterate the death and sin all over it.
Say: The stone was rolled away because the tomb couldn’t hold Jesus. Death couldn’t hold Jesus. The story was over…and JESUS WON! God wins, so we have victory over sin and death. When we believe in Jesus, we’re on the winning team!
Have a couple of kids open the box. If you have flashlights or glow sticks in the box, the light will be a surprise. If you have helium balloons in the box, they’ll float out and make a powerful statement of Jesus’ resurrection.
Have kids use the supplies in the box to have a victory party. As they celebrate, pause periodically to read John 20:3-10 and John 20:14-16. Have kids cheer as Jesus’ friends discover the truth that God wins and Jesus is alive!
To close your party, lead kids in a victory cheer, chanting: God wins; he’s alive!
Say: It’s because of Jesus that we can celebrate. Jesus beat evil. He beat death. He beat sin! God wins, so we have victory over sin and death.
Deeper Bible: What Would the World Look Like if Jesus Had Stayed Dead? (15 Minutes)
- 4 lamps, flashlights, or battery-operated tea lights
Say: Today we’re learning that God wins. When Jesus came back to life, he beat sin and death.
But what if he hadn’t? You might be thinking, “Even if Jesus hadn’t come back to life, he still died for my sins, didn’t he?”
But what would the world today look like if Jesus had stayed dead? Let’s dig in to that.
Give each group a Bible. Say: As a group, you’ll read your Bible passage and act out a scene about life today, based on what your verses say the world would be like if Jesus wasn’t alive.
As groups read and prepare their skits, turn on the four lamps.
When it’s time for presentations, turn off the overhead light so only your four lamps are on. Then have kids present. After each presentation, turn off one of the four lamps. After all four presentations, your room should be pretty dark.
- Considering everything you just saw, what would be the most depressing part of life today if Jesus hadn’t come back to life?
Say: Without Jesus’ resurrection, our lives would be hopeless. Even eating would be depressing and hopeless. We probably wouldn’t even have church because our faith would be useless. There’d be no way for us to go to heaven.
But thanks be to God! We do have hope! God wins! Listen to this.
Read 1 Corinthians 15:54-57, turning on a lamp after each verse you read.
Say: God wins, so we have victory over sin and death. Our world is full of hope because Jesus beat sin and death! He’s alive, and he’s with us today! He gives us the chance to be his friend and join the winning team.
Craft: Tabletop Foosball (20 Minutes)
- “Tabletop Foosball” handouts printed on card stock (1 per child) (download here)
- “Tabletop Foosball Instructions” handout (download here)
- white card stock
- glue sticks
- hole punches
- non-bendy straws (2 each of 2 different colors per child)
- Glue Dots
- jumbo paper clips (6 per child)
- marbles (1 per child)
- Make a sample craft to show kids.
Make Foosball Tables
Show kids the sample craft you made. Give each child a “Tabletop Foosball” handout. Set out the remaining supplies to share, and have kids follow the instructions on the “Tabletop Foosball Instructions” handout.
- Cut along the dotted lines on the “Tabletop Foosball” handout.
- Fold along the solid black lines. • Use glue sticks to secure the flaps in place.
- Punch holes near the top of the sides of the foosball table, lined up with either end of each gray line.
- Cut six strips of white card stock that are each 8½x1 inches.
- Fold the strips in half, and draw a stick figure on each of them. Make three stick figures of one color and three of another.
- Stick a straw through the holes in front of one goal. • Place a folded strip with a stick figure over the straw, securing it in place with a Glue Dot.
- Put a paper clip on the bottom of the stick figure. This will be your goalie.
- Repeat on the other side to make a goalie for the other team (using the other color of straw and stick figure).
- Put a straw in each middle hole with two stick-figure players on each straw. The final craft should have alternating colors of straws.
- If time allows, use markers to decorate your foosball table.
- Have kids each find a partner to play with.
- Give each child a marble to use as a foosball. Have kids play a game of foosball and try to be the first to get three points.
Talk About It
- Who won your game of foosball?
- How does it feel when you win? when you lose?
Say: In life, sometimes we win, and sometimes we lose. It’s okay to lose a game of foosball every now and then. But we know that in the end God wins, so we have victory over sin and death. We won’t win everything in life, but we’ll win in the end! When we believe in Jesus, we’re guaranteed to beat death and go to heaven!
Have kids take home their foosball tables and marbles. Encourage kids to play foosball with their friends and families and share how God wins.
Object Lesson: Sunk in Sin (10 Minutes)
- 5-ounce paper cups (1 per child)
- paper towels (2 connected sheets per child and 1 sheet per group of 3)
- large bowls of water (1 for every 3 kids)
Keep a Paper Towel Dry
Say: Here’s a challenge for you: Work with two other people to try to put a paper towel in water without getting it wet. Can you do it?
- Form trios, and give each trio a large bowl of water and a paper towel.
- Have kids brainstorm ways to put the paper towel into the water without getting it wet and then try their solution. They can’t use any other tools or supplies, and they can’t get rid of the water.
- No matter what kids try, on its own, the paper towel will get wet.
Put a Paper Towel in a Cup
Say: Whatever we try, there’s no way to keep the paper towel from getting wet in the water. On its own, there’s no hope for the paper towel. It needs something to surround and protect it.
- How are the paper towel and water like us and doing wrong things?
Say: We can try really hard, but we can’t be perfect. We’ll all do wrong things, and that’s called sin. Sin is like a condition that we can’t get rid of. We need a Savior—someone to rescue us and help us beat sin. Let’s add something else to your experiment.
- Give each child a paper cup and two connected paper-towel sheets.
- Show kids how to smash the paper towels down inside the bottom of the cup.
- Have kids turn the cups upside down, making sure the paper towels stay inside the cups and don’t fall out. If the paper towels fall out, give kids bigger paper towels.
- Have kids take turns pressing their upside-down cups down into the bowl of water. The cups should be completely submerged without touching the bottom of the bowl.
- Have kids count to three with their cups underwater and then pull the cups straight up and out of the bowl.
- Have kids remove the paper towels from the cups—they’re dry!
- Give each child several turns to put his or her cup and paper towel into and out of the water.
Talk About It
- How is Jesus like the cup in this experiment?
Say: God knew we’d be sunk in our sin, so he made a plan to save us. When Jesus died on the cross and came back to life, he beat the power of sin in our lives. God’s plan worked—God wins! Because of Jesus, sin can’t ruin us or our friendship with God anymore. We can be close to God and have victory over sin.
Life Application Wrap-Up: Responsive Victory Prayer (5 Minutes)
Pray and Respond
Read the following prayers. After each one, kids will shout as a prayer to God, “you win!”
Pray: We have hope because (kids respond), we have the promise of eternal life because (kids respond), we celebrate because (kids respond), we have purpose because (kids respond), we have faith because (kids respond), we have victory over sin because (kids respond), we have victory over death because (kids respond).
Also let kids add their own prayer beginners, and let everyone respond with “you win!”
Pray: God, thank you that you win! Thank you for giving us victory over sin and death. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thank kids for coming, and encourage them to come back next week.