The sky grew black as night. The earth shook. Jesus was dead! Not even the sun dared to shine, though it was still daytime. Suddenly, the soldiers standing by the cross no longer felt so strong and important. They knew as they watched Jesus die that He really was the Son of God.
Just hours before, Jesus had stood before Pilate, the ruler of the Jewish people. The Jews wanted Pilate to order that Jesus be killed. They were angry because He had told them that He was the Son of God. The Jews did not want to believe Jesus. They said His words were terrible lies.
Pilate listened to all the bad things they said about Jesus. But he could not find any reason to put Jesus to death. No doubt he had heard of the wonderful miracles that Jesus had done. Perhaps he had friends who had been healed by the touch of Jesus' hand. So Pilate wanted to free Jesus. But when the crowd heard that, they only grew more angry.
"Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" they shouted louder than before. Pilate gave up. He told the soldiers that even though he thought Jesus was innocent, they could take Him away.
The soldiers took Jesus into a big hall. There they made fun of Him. They put a purple robe on His shoulders and a crown of thorns on His head. They spit at Him and hit Him. They laughed and called Him King of the Jews.
Finally they led Him to a hill called Calvary, just outside the city. There they nailed Jesus' precious hands and feet to a rough wooden cross. They put His cross between two other crosses. Above His head they hung a sign which read, "This is Jesus the King of the Jews."
Jesus let them do that to Him. As He hung there on that cross, He even prayed that God would forgive those who hated Him. Can you imagine having love like that?
Many people came out from the city to watch. Some of the people shouted and made fun of our Savior. But Jesus did not get angry. He knew that this was all part of God's plan.
Jesus suffered an awful lot of pain that day, and finally He died. But He was willing to do that for us—to pay for the sin in our hearts. He needed to die so that His Father in Heaven could forgive the sins of everyone who asked to be forgiven. The price for our salvation was paid by Jesus that day.
What a wonderful thing Jesus did for us! Aren't you glad He loves each of us so much that He was willing to die for our sin?
The details of the crucifixion of Christ must be presented so that the child focuses on the love Jesus showed by giving His life for us.
After reading the Bible text, try to capture some of the feelings surrounding the Crucifixion. Ask each member of the family to share how he thinks the people felt as the event took place.
Look ahead to the joy of the risen Christ. As Easter Sunday draws near, help your child make some special "Jesus Lives" Easter cards. Use stickers, drawings, Bible verses, etc., and make cards that emphasize the Resurrection. Help your child address envelopes and mail his cards to friends or grandparents.