Easter Bible Lessons and Stories
for Easter Sermons and Sunday School
Easter bible lessons and stories are a great source for teaching - at home, church, or school - and are also a good source for Easter sermons and Sunday School.
The Holy Bible is God's Word. God's Word is powerful to do great things for souls.
Remember first to pray to the Holy Spirit asking for help.
A good idea is to take one person at a time in the story of the Resurrection of Jesus, and tell all about that one person. This approach may inspire people who can relate to the personality or character of that person - or because maybe they have similar difficulties.
Here are some of the special people involved in the Resurrection story:
The Purpose of Bible Lessons and Stories
- Mary, the mother of Jesus,
- Magdalene, and the other holy women,
- Peter, and John, and the other disciples,
- Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus,
- The 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus,
- The angels at the tomb, and at the ascension,
- and of course, don't forget Jesus Himself.
The purpose of telling stories and lessons from the bible is to connect us with Jesus, and do what is necessary to receive salvation.
Jesus became one of us, and lives with us, so we are all involved in the salvation story.
Jesus' Cross and the Resurrection are Important Easter Lessons
We can't have the cross and death of Jesus without the hope of the resurrection. And we can't have the resurrection without his cross and death. They go hand in hand.
To his disciples (followers), Jesus predicted his passion and death on at least 3 separate occasions. Jesus also said he would rise on the third day. It's interesting how his followers forgot about this, or didn't believe this, until after Jesus rose from the dead.
It would be a mistake to think children shouldn't be told about Jesus Passion and Death of Jesus on the cross, but only .
On the contrary, this story does much good in children, and can bring them much closer to God, because it shows how much God loves us.
The Easter Bible Lesson Begins with Jesus' Suffering and Death
On a practical note, if your audience is only coming on Saturday or Sunday, be sure to emphasize what happened on Good Friday
It is the most important day in history, the day of our salvation. It's not a take it or leave it proposition. It is essential, vital, absolutely necessary to our salvation.
The resurrection brings honor and glory to God forever. But for mankind, the resurrection is simply God's way of showing to us that he is truly the Messiah, and so his sacrifice and death on the cross is truly the central act of our redemption and salvation. The resurrection also provides us the hope we too shall rise with Christ. But, only on one condition, that we die with Christ to sin.
An Easter Bible Lesson Begins with the Cross
The cross is the mystery of our salvation.
Unfortunately, those who do not teach or preach the cross, are doing the work of the devil, and are wolves in sheep's clothing. They do not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
The cross is foolishness to the world. But actually, the cross is our consolation in the sufferings of this life. Jesus as a true friend, can be our comfort because he suffered more than we'll ever have to.
What Jesus did on the cross should inspire us to repent of our sins which caused his sufferings. It should also inspire the deepest gratitude to God for saving us. By his cross, he opened heaven, freed us from pain and slavery to our sins, hell, and Satan and all the evil spirits.
Without the cross, we're spiritually lost and dead.
The cross is our hope. The resurrection gives us hope.
How unfortunate those who live and die, thinking this life on earth is the only life, and death ends everything. How meaningless, without purpose, and so futile! How empty! What a waste! What a sense of despair!
How fortunate those who hear the word of God and keep it.
Thank you Jesus for saving us, and giving us everlasting life!
The Easter Gospel Accounts
All 4 gospel writers give us some of the beautiful stories about the resurrection of Jesus, and what he did in the following days. (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21).
These are the best sources of the Resurrection. Other sources are old testament prophecies, and new testament epistles. But when in doubt, especially when teaching a younger audience, it's always important to stick to the basics - the essential story. I discuss this further in How to Write a Sermon that Works
, whether you're planning a sermon, class, or lesson.
Individual People in the Easter Story
There is so much of the Easter story to tell, it would be hard to tell it all, especially if you have limited time, or a younger audience.
Telling the Easter story from the angle of one person in the story, can really grab our attention.
We begin with ...
One Very, Very Special and Blessed Person - Mary, Jesus' Mother
Mary's yes to God was necessary for Jesus to come down from heaven to save us.
Without doubt, as his mother, she suffered terribly on Calvary, just as Simeon prophesied in the temple when Jesus was 40 days old. A sword of sorrow pierced her very own heart and soul.
For those of us not a mother, it is very hard for others to understand how much a mother suffers when their children suffer and die, because of their unique bond to their children.
Mary stood at the foot of the cross, helping Jesus die well.
The next we hear of Mary in the bible is after the Ascension and before Pentecost, when the followers of Jesus were gathered together in prayer awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:14)
Be Joyful, Mary!
The fact that Jesus appeared to his mother first after his Resurrection, is so strong a tradition, and was everywhere understood, that the gospel writers did not feel the obligation to write this.
It is unthinkable, unimaginable, that Jesus would not show himself to her, especially knowing how much Jesus loves his mother, and how much he longs to relieve the sufferings of mankind.
There are many mysteries we may only find out about in heaven. Jesus and Mary lived an intense hidden spiritual life. It is only appropriate that we honor with reverence their intimate union in joy after their intimate union in suffering for our salvation.
Mary in her humility would not want her life to be made known, except what was necessary to make Jesus known. Filled with the Holy Spirit, and Jesus within her, she said, "He has regarded the humility of his handmaid." (Luke 1:48)
May she forever be filled with God's power, peace, and joy - for the terrible pains she suffered.
All generations shall call her blessed. (Luke 1:48) May she forever be blessed!
The Other Mary - Mary Magdalene
What is the 1 story that Jesus wants told?
In all the Gospels, there is one story that Jesus said will be told wherever the gospel is preached.
It is the story of Mary Magdalene. In fact, she is the first person that Jesus appeared to, in the bible accounts, even though strong ancient church traditions in many rites says that Jesus appeared to his mother first. Remember, he could go anywhere, anytime, in a flash.
Why is the story of Mary Magdalene so important? Because it is very encouraging to all of us sinners, even the worst. Jesus had to cast 7 devils out of her.
Mary Magdalene was a sinner, who repented, and joined the holy women who ministered to the needs of Jesus and his apostles.
6 days before Jesus death, she poured costly ointment on Jesus' feet. Judas (and the disciples) were upset, thinking it was a waste. Jesus defended her, saying she did it in preparation for his burial. There will always be poor people around, but Jesus won't always be around. This story will be told wherever the gospel is preached.
Later we find her on Calvary, with Jesus' own mother Mary and the other holy women, witnessing the death of Jesus.
Early Easter Sunday morning, the holy women went to anoint the body of Jesus. Then they wondered who was going to roll the big stone back.
When they get to the tomb, they see the stone rolled back. Looking inside, 2 angels were sitting there. They said Jesus is risen, and go tell the disciples and Peter the good news.
Mary Magdalene sees Jesus, but doesn't recognize him. Thinking he is the gardener, she asks where the body is. Jesus says, "Mary". Mary rejoices to know it is Jesus.
The Easter Bible Story of Peter
Peter was with Jesus for some time before his death. Many of his words and actions are recorded, such as his profession in Jesus as God, his walking on water to Jesus, his telling Jesus not to go to Jerusalem to die and getting corrected by Jesus, his getting a coin out of a fish to pay the tax, his not wanting to get his feet washed at the Last Supper, and then he wants everything washed, as Jesus talks to him.
Although Peter can be a bit impulsive at times, Peter has a good heart for the Lord.
Peter, James and John were chosen by Jesus to be his closest friends. They saw the transfiguration of Jesus, they were in the garden of Gethsemane with Jesus when he was captured.
A Painful Lesson - Peter's 3 Denials
That night, after Jesus was captured, several people accused Peter of being Jesus' follower. Peter denied Jesus three times before the rooster crowed 2 times the next morning, exactly as Jesus predicted, even though Peter had said he would never do it.
When the rooster crowed on Good Friday
morning, he ran out, he went out and wept bitterly. Tradition says he often wept the rest of his life, especially when he heard the crow of a rooster.
The Easter Bible Lesson of Peter
After Jesus rose, Mary Magdalene and the holy women were told by the angels to tell the disciples - and Peter - that Jesus was going ahead of them into Galilee. (Mark 16:7)
When the apostles hear this news, Peter and John run to the tomb, and find it empty.
Why does Jesus mention Peter specifically?
It's likely that Peter was so filled with regret for what he had done, that he was afraid to come to Jesus. Thankfully, Jesus is full of mercy, and had prayed for Peter, (Luke 22:32), and wanted to reach out in a special way to him. No doubt, Jesus wanted Peter to know that he was forgiven, and still one of his followers and part of the community.
This is an encouragement for us sinners, no matter how terrible our sins, to repent and have confidence in God's help.
Another Easter Story about Peter
Some time after Easter, Peter was fishing with his friends, and caught nothing all night. Someone on the shore told them to put in their nets on the right side, and they caught 153 big fish. John saw it was Jesus. Peter jumped out of the boat and swam to shore. Jesus had a fire and breakfast of fish and bread ready for them.
After breakfast, Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved him. Peter said yes. And Jesus said Feed my lambs, feed my sheep. It was an opportunity for Jesus to show Peter he was truly forgiven for his 3 denials, and Jesus wanted him to share in his ministry. We find this and more in the last chapter of John, chapter 21.
We later find more about Peter in the Acts of the Apostle, especially the choosing of another apostle to replace Judas, the first sermon on Pentecost, his miraculous deliverance from prison, etc.
An Easter Bible Lesson about Thomas
We don't know a whole lot about Thomas. He seems to have been an easily depressed or negative kind of person at times, and skeptical.
When Jesus tells his disciples they're going to Judea because Lazarus is dead, the disciples protest, because the Jews in Jerusalem were trying to stone him. Thomas said to the others, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."(John 11:16)
He asks Jesus a question at the Last Supper. Jesus replies saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:5-6)
Thomas is best known for not being with the disciples on Easter Sunday night. He won't believe what the others say, unless he can put his finger into the nail holes, and his hand into the side wound of Jesus.
Jesus appears again a week later, and fixes Thomas' problem. Read the whole story in John 20:24-29.
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus
Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, are instrumental in the burial of Jesus. Joseph had been a secret disciple of Jesus, for fear of the Jews. Nicodemus was the one who had come to Jesus by night to get instruction.
Most of the time, the bodies of criminals were left on their crosses by the Romans, until they rotted and got eaten by animals, in order to make people afraid to disobey the Romans.
Joseph of Arimathea courageously went to Pilate, and got his permission to take the body of Jesus down from the cross. He also purchased a long linen cloth to wrap Jesus' body.
Nicodemus brought a large amount of spices and ointment to embalm the body of Jesus.
Joseph and Nicodemus helped take down the body of Jesus from the cross.
Joseph was wealthy. He provided his own tomb for Jesus, which was in garden close to where Jesus died. The tomb was a room carved into the rock, and so it was quite costly. That was where he buried Jesus on the evening of Good Friday, and rolled a big stone in front of the doorway.
We do not hear of them after Jesus rose, but we certainly have to thank them for their funeral arrangements, and providing the place where Jesus rose from the dead.
The 2 Disciples Walking to Emmaus
On Easter Sunday, 2 disciples were walking for about 7 miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. We know one of them was Cleopas. They were discussing the sad things that had happened in the past few days.
A man came along and talked with them came and talked with them, telling them the prophecies that said these things were supposed to happen to the Messiah.
It was getting later when they got into Emmaus. They asked the man to stay because it was so late. As they were about to eat, the man took some bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Suddenly they recognized it was Jesus, who right then disappeared.
Within the hour, the 2 of them returned to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples. As they told the story, that was when Jesus appeared to the disciples on Easter evening. (Luke 24:13-36)
The Angels at the Resurrection of Jesus
2 angels were at the tomb when the holy women came early Easter morning.
40 days after Jesus' Resurrection, 2 men, probably angels, suddenly appeared among the disciples, right after Jesus went up to his home in heaven. They asked why they were standing looking at the sky, and that Jesus was taken to heaven, and someday, he will return. (Acts 1:9-11)
Angels remind us that there is a much bigger world, the spirit world. Jesus, by his death on the cross, overcame the bad angels, which we know as devils.
But there are armies of good angels too. They saw the sufferings and death of Jesus. And then think of all the saved people who had died in the last 4,000 years. Their souls were waiting for the death of Jesus before they could get into heaven.
And of course, we can't miss the star of the show, Jesus himself.
He is the thread that makes all these stories connect. He is true God, the beginning and the end, the source of true and abundant life.
By his death and resurrection, he shows us that each one of us will rise body and soul to receive reward in heaven or punishment in hell.
Someday, sooner or later, we all must die. But thanks to Jesus, we have confidence that we who believe and follow his teachings, will rise with him in glory.
Thank your stars!
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