The Crucifixion

Primary Pals for Teachers
Unit 07 - Victory for Us

TEXT: Matthew 27:27-38


The students will be able to explain how Jesus died on the cross and why His death was necessary.


Introduction: Bring a cross or some object with a cross on it. Explain how this symbol has become well known around the world, and that it stands for an event which changed the course of history.

Progression of Events:

  1. Establish why it was necessary for Christ to die (see Background Information).
  2. They put a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns on Him, and a reed in His hand.
  3. They mocked Him and struck Him.
  4. They led Him away to be crucified, and compelled Simon to help bear His cross.

Climax: On Calvary's hill, Jesus was crucified between two thieves.

Conclusion: Jesus died bearing our sins so that we could be free from the judgment of God.

Response: Let your students pretend they are explaining Christ's death to someone who has never heard about it before. They should be able to describe how it occurred and why it was necessary.


Jesus was not martyred for some good cause. His death was not an accident of history. He was delivered over to death by "the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." His death had been predicted in the Old Testament many times (Psalm 22, Isaiah 53) and referred to in Luke 24:25-27.

But why did this sinless One, this One full of grace and truth, this holy Son of God have to suffer so? Why was He allowed to be arrested by greedy, self-seeking priests, unjustly tried, lied about by false witnesses, flogged by heartless soldiers and stripped of His clothes? Why did God allow His Son to suffer the agonizing pain of crucifixion, listen to the cruel taunts of the crowd and finally be forsaken?

"For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24).

"He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself . . . So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many" (Hebrews 9:26,28).

"The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23) but God placed our sins on Christ, the perfect Man, and allowed Him to suffer the punishment for our sins so that we could be free from the judgment of God. When we trust in what God has done through Christ's death on the cross, He forgives us and makes us righteous in His sight.

Only one who is as creative as our God could devise a plan that could use the injustice, cruelty, greed and hatred of mankind to bring about mankind's salvation.


  • Make an Easter mobile of palm leaves, crosses, butterflies or lambs, etc., as a class decoration or one for each child to take home. Cut two pictures of each object to glue back to back. Cut pieces of string into different lengths. Hang from a hanger or plastic lid (see Patterns).
  • Cut out cross bookmarks.
  • Show the class a large nail, hammer, crown of thorns.
  • Prepare a flannelgraph (see Patterns for Unit 1, Lesson 1 a, page 62) or chalktalk showing earth and Heaven with a gap between. To bridge the gap, Jesus died on the cross, creating a way by which we have access to Heaven. If drawn as a chalktalk, you may wish to have your students draw in the cross as a bridge. Explain that sin is on the earth and it separates us from Heaven. The only way to bridge the gap is by having the Blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, applied to our hearts. Close the gap with the cross.
  • The Unfolding of the Gospel—(see Patterns). To fold up the cross so that it unfolds properly, start with the cross flat on a table just as it appears here. Fold "Coming" down, then "Living" over, "Risen" over, all of these down over "Dying," all down again over "Wounded," and down again over the blank. On the back of the blank is the title, "The Unfolding of the Gospel." The unfolding should look like the steps shown in the diagrams.
  • See activities listed under Lesson 1 C, Primary Pals Teacher's Guide, Units 1,2,3.


  1. What do you think sin is?
  2. What was written above Jesus' cross?
  3. Why did Jesus willingly die for us?
  4. Did Jesus love the men who nailed Him to the cross?
  5. Why or why not?
  6. Did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why or why not?
  7. Do you think Jesus hurt more because of the nails in His hands and feet or because of our sins?


  • Twist thorny rose stems to form a crown.
  • See Pre-School Suggestions listed under Lesson 1 C, Primary Pals Teacher's Guide Units 1,2,3.


Puppet show. Child Evangelism Fellowship has an excellent script.

Show a film of the Crucifixion published by Concordia.

Role-play with children acting out the parts.

Using the Wordless Book, explain the plan of salvation.


  • The Road to Skull Hill — Tape #148, Series 10, Your Story Hour, Inc.
  • The Crucifixion and Resurrection — Panorama, Standard Publishing
  • Crucifixion and Resurrection — Pict-o-graph, Standard Publishing