DLTK's Sunday School Lessons
Jesus Dies on the Cross

by Leanne Guenther

Sunday School Teacher's Guide - this is the forth lesson in the series of Easter lessons. Use the Easter Bible Lesson Plan for further ideas to supplement this.


The story of the Crucifixion is a cruel one.  It is also very important, that children of all ages need to hear it (you never know if this is the only time they'll hear it).  If the story makes the children sad, its okay, its sad for all of us.  Just remind the children that Jesus did this out of His immense love for us, and story isn't finished yet - the ending is the greatest part of all!  I've said this before, but it's worth mentioning again.  When instructing young children, repetition is a positive thing.  Everything is so new at this age that it is helpful to repeat important messages multiple times.  The first lesson focused on the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, then Jesus praying, this lesson focuses on Jesus dies on the Cross, Jesus is Alive, and concludes with Jesus loves me.

The message:

Preschool thru Grade 1: Jesus forgives you.
Grades 2 and 3: Jesus died on the cross and He forgave.  We must also forgive others.

The message of Jesus dying on the cross to save us, and then raising from the dead is, like Christmas, very important, maybe even more so.  The message is a life changing one, and gives us forgiveness and hope for a future with God.  This would be a great time to talk to the children about knowing Christ personally, and asking Him to live inside them.  Remember there is no 'special' prayer that has to be said but some important acknowledgments: God loves us, we are sinners and need forgiveness from God, and He needs to become central in our life.  Sometimes diagrams work to illustrate the point to older children.  There are booklets with more detail at any local Christian store, online, or just ask your pastor.  Remember this is the most important decision - and prayer goes a long way!

Make sure you repeat the message many times during the lesson.  Send the Jesus Dies on the Cross Take Home Sheet or the Easter Bible readings chart home with the children to encourage parents to reiterate the message during the week.  If you plan to send the Take Home with the kids an option would be to include a printout of the Easter Story Cookies recipe so they can learn more about the lesson as a family.  It includes a poster at the bottom that the children can color and hang on their wall or refrigerator.

Preview of the lesson:

Some people like to do craft time first and story time second and some like to switch it around.  I like the first option, myself.

Always consider offering the Mini Book Coloring Pages,or you could look at the Religious Printables Game or Easter Printables for children who aren't interested in participating in the group activity (or if you get done the group activities very quickly and need something to fill in the spare time).  Everyone has a need for "alone time" once in awhile.  Also, sending home the coloring pages with the Take Home sheet provides parents with much needed help in reinforcing the lessons.  You can make a nice little booklet each week with the Take Home Sheet on top -- I promise that most parents will appreciate the effort! 


Time Allotted



Receive name tags.  Have the children use crayons, markers, yarn and whatever other materials (such as sparkle glue) you have available to personalize their name tag.

Sing the Learning our Names song

10 to 15 minutes Cross name tags, scissors (or adults can precut),  crayons, markers, yarn, safety pins or tape.

Craft time!

Preschool thru Grade 1:  Make the Easter Mobile.  This is a simple mobile made up of crosses with John 15:13 in the center.  ("Greater love has no one then this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.") We usually create our mobiles by using two straws or sticks taped or tied in a criss-cross or by using one paper towel or gift wrap roll with all the pieces tied to it.

Grade 2 and 3:  Make the Stained Glass Cross.  This craft can hang in a window or made as a card for a special friend.  At the bottom of the construction paper you could also use the verse John 15:13.  Or just write a simple message "Jesus Saves" or "Happy Easter".

15 to 30 minutes 
depending on your
adult/child ratio

Preschool thru Grade 1:  Easter Mobile. printer, paper, scissors, crayons, glue, string, small paper plate or circle cardboard, straws or sticks (2 per child).

Grade 2 and 3: Stained Glass Cross. wax paper, wax crayons, manual pencil sharpener, iron, ironing board, scrap paper, construction paper, glue stick, scissors.  

Bible Story/Song Time:

All Grades: Sing Jesus Loves Me.  Especially the first 4 verses!  (They focus on the Easter story.)

Preschool thru Grade 1:  Read The Story of Jesus Dies on the Cross (or read from your own store bought children's bible).

Grade 3:  It's tough to know when it's the right time to start readings from the Bible, but if the children have been read a children's version of the story in the past, I believe this is a good age to introduce the King James (or your preferred) bible reading. 

10 minutes The Mini Book, Coloring Pagesor Easter Printable Puzzle can be distributed to the children so they are able to color at home, or during the story.   Or use a page for each lesson plan to have the children color to form a book at the end of the life of Jesus. Print the pages, staple them together in order and let the kids know when to turn the page.  The handouts can be taken home to color in.


All Grades: Read the Jelly Bean Poem.  It would be nice if you could give a copy to each child (small enough to fold and fit in the plastic egg).  You will also need different color Jelly Beans to illustrate each line of the poem.  Put a jelly bean of each of the colors in a plastic egg to take home and tell of Jesus' love!

Preschool thru Grade 1: Talk about what they think forgiveness is.  Just like  when they say sorry to their parents if they do something wrong.  That's all they need to do when they ask God for forgiveness.  Then God erases what you've done wrong.

Grade 2 and 3: Discuss what it means to ask for forgiveness.  Jesus will forgive and forget, and He knows if we mean it or not.  Ask the children if they need to ask Jesus for forgiveness for something they did this week.  We also need to forgive others as Jesus did, and keep forgiving, there is no limit to forgiving others.

Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"

5 to 15 minutes Brainstorm Board (chalkboard, whiteboard, poster board,...)


Words to:

Standard ending song: "We Love to Learn Together"

Printable version of this Teacher's Guide