Sharing the Easter Story
The Easter story is troubling and thrilling. Jesus willingly submitted himself to betrayal and beatings, accusations and arrest, contempt and crucifixion and ultimately death. He could have stopped it, but He did not. Why? Because God himself, in the person of Jesus, was making the salvation of sinful people (you and me) possible. The Easter story is a story of deliverance, hope and restoration. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus teaches us that God can bring beauty from brokenness because He is making all things new.
This Easter, encourage family and friends with the truths of the Easter story. This resource is a place to begin.
Read the Story
Easter accounts are found in Matthew 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, and John 18-20. Click on the text below to read scripture references to share the Easter story. For those with young children, consider using a children’s Bible for support.
The Arrest - Read the Passage
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
“Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted him and fled.
The Trial - Read the Passage
Mark 14:53 – 15:15
They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
“Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
“Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
“What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
“Crucify him!” they shouted.
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
The Crucifixion - Read the Passage
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.
And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the Jews.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!
Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Jesus' Death - Read the Passage
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, He’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Noe leave Him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take Him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how He died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Jesus' Burial - Read the Passage
The Burial of Jesus
It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
The Resurrection - Read the Passage
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Ideas for Digging Deeper
Begin by identifying confusing words or phrases. Define those words, discuss confusing concepts, then ask “What would you like to know more about?” Using your Bible and notes from the Matthew study, look for the answers together. Share your favorite part of the Easter story, then ask your friend or family member to share theirs and explain why.
Find the Attributes of God: Challenge your children, friends, or family members to find the attributes of God that are displayed in the Easter story. For younger children, list those that are relevant and put them into a basket. Have each child choose an attribute to define and find in the story.
Discuss the Secular versus Christian View: Talk about the differences between how the secular world views and celebrates Easter versus how and why Christians celebrate Easter.
Bring the Easter story to life by inviting your children or friends to get creative! Start by discussing ideas about how they can express their thoughts about what Jesus did. They may want to create a poem or song, paint a picture, draw, make a video, or simply write a letter to God.
Make a Family Video: Record a 30-second video of your family telling the Easter story in a quick, fun, and creative way. Use music, props, or costumes as desired. Then send it to some friends or family members who will enjoy it or who need to hear the true Easter story.
Send Homemade Cards: Make Jesus-themed cards or crafts, and send them to elderly relatives or residents of a local nursing home who are currently unable to receive visitors.
Through prayer, the gift of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice becomes personal. Ask non-Christian family members or friends if you can pray for them. Make a list of their prayer requests, and commit to pray for each one. A week or two later, follow up with those people to see how they are and get an update regarding their request.
Post a list: Write a list of people you know who need to hear about Jesus, make copies, and post them on your most-used mirrors around the house. Encourage everyone to pray for those people each time they look in the mirror.
Play a gratitude game and end with prayer: Share your gratitude through a game (similar to the “I’m Going on a Picnic” game). The first person says something like, “I am thankful for Jesus.” The second person says, “I am thankful for Jesus and that He died on the cross.” The third person says, “I am thankful for Jesus, that He died on the cross, and that He rose again,” and so on. See how many things you can add to the list. If you have younger children, help with the repetition part. Once the game ends, express your gratitude to the Lord in prayer.
Prayer Prompts for children: Teach your children how to pray with three simple prompts.
God, you are: Use the attributes they learned in the discus activity.
I am: This is a chance to talk about why Jesus had to die. (Our sin)
Please: Because Jesus died, He made it possible for us to ask God for anything.
Listen and sing along to a variety of styles and genres: worship songs, hymns (both old and new), children’s music, and even classical music such as songs from Handel’s Messiah. For inspiration, check out BSF’s Easter playlist on Spotify.
Make your own music: If any family members have musical talent, play live Easter music. For younger children, create your own instruments or use pots and pans as drums to make a joyful (noisy) noise to the Lord.
Share songs from the past: Pull out old CDs, cassette tapes, or vinyl records that contain songs about Easter or related themes. Introduce your children to not only the music but also the singers and bands you enjoyed listening to as a child, teenager, or young adult. (Of course, you can probably find most of those songs on a streaming service, but that’s not nearly as fun!)
Create your own playlist: Help your child set up an Easter playlist on your mobile device and play it throughout the day. Or ask friends to contribute theirs, then make a shared playlist
Gather through video: Invite your extended family and friends to join you in an online video chat and sing together. Consider appointing one person to be the conductor as you join in a disjointed praise to the Lord.
How do you share the Easter story?
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