Holy Week lesson plan 1

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1 Holy Week lesson plan 1 Back What is taught must be in accordance with the locally agreed syllabus; (If your school is outside of Cambridgeshire: the S.C.A.A Model 2 syllabus has been included to help in matching this lesson plan with your local Agreed Syllabus). Cambs Agreed Syllabus: FF (Festivals and Fasts) Enable pupils to: become familiar with the biblical stories retold during Holy Week and Easter, and through them become aware of Christian beliefs about God. Pupils should consider this: What are the special times of year for you and your family? S.C.A.A. Model syllabuses: KEY TEACHINGS / FOCUS: JESUS The celebration of key events in Jesus' life throughout the year: Easter (the story of Jesus' death and resurrection, and how Christians understand these events). AT1 Design a poster to show the meaning of Easter for Christians. AT2 Talk about how Easter has become commercialised, and how they feel about this. This is part 1 of the Holy Week and Easter Lesson Plan: RESOURCES: Optional: Play an excerpt of the Jesus of Nazareth DVD or video. Carlton Video Ltd, starring Robert Powell, directed by Franco Zeffirelli. (PG General viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children). Available from:amazon.co.uk Resources to possibly cut out 2 Roman coins and 1 Temple coin each. STARTER: Q. Are there any good things that have happened to you or your family years ago, which are still remembered and celebrated? Christians remember certain events in Jesus' life and celebrate them on set dates in the year. We are going to look at the Easter celebration and the week leading up to that, which is often referred to as 'Holy Week'. Easter is not a set date, but it always starts on a Friday, finishing on the Sunday and is celebrated around March or April. The Friday is known as 'Good Friday' which seems rather a weird name at first, because that is the day that Jesus Christ died a painful death on a cross. So we are now going to see what really happened. MAIN TEACHING: For about three years huge crowds had followed Jesus. He taught the people and did various healing's and miracles, even raising some back from the dead. Jesus had made a lot of enemies among the religious leaders, because they were jealous of His powerful teaching and because so many people were listening to Him, rather than listening to them! They were hoping to discredit Him in front of the crowds, but they were frustrated because Jesus' lifestyle was blameless and without fault and they couldn't find anything to pin on Him. They couldn't even deny the healing's and miracles that He did! All they could do was to wait for an opportunity. Then suddenly, on a Sunday, they heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem sat upon a common donkey like a poor peasant! The religious leaders sneered at the thought; 'a king rides on a horse, but Jesus chooses a donkey - what a pathetic thing to do!' Q. What does a Queen / King travel around in? A Limo, a gold stagecoach, etc. Q. What would you think if the Queen / King drove around in an old banger - a rusty old car? It doesn't fit with the image of a Queen or King. In the same way, Jesus sitting on a donkey didn't fit the image of a King, but the religious leaders should have remembered that this was written about in the Scriptures (Bible) before it had actually happened. The city was going wild with excitement.

2 Holy Week lesson plan 2 They were laying their coats and palm leaves down in front of Jesus as He rode along! They were shouting and praising Him, and they gave Him titles which could only be given to God's Son, the King! Perhaps many in the crowd had remembered the ancient prophecy in the Scriptures that spoke about this. It tells us: "See, your King comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey" Matthew 21:5 (NIV) Q. What is this Sunday called, that celebrates this event? Palm Sunday. Q. Why is it called Palm Sunday? Because of the palm leaves they laid on the ground in front of the donkey that Jesus was riding. Then on Monday, Jesus walked up the steps and into the temple court. There were many people selling things at hugely over inflated prices, which were to be used by the worshippers in the temple. (Teachers note: The children could each draw and cut out: 2 Roman coins - which would have Caesar's head drawn on it - and 1 Temple coin. We'll call them 1 pound coins.) The people needed to pay for the things that were to be used in their worship, with the Temple money, but they only had Roman money. So for example, for every 2 Roman pound coins they gave to the money changers, they might only get 1 Temple pound coin given back to them! (Teachers note: A child could be asked to come out to the front and they would have to give you 2 pounds and you would give them only 1 pound back. You could say "What do you think of that?"..) Jesus was disgusted by all this money being made from religion in this way, so He tipped their tables over and drove them all out of the temple area! And He said to them: "The Scriptures say my Temple is a place of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves." Matthew 21:13 (The Living Bible) Then many blind people and those who were crippled, came to Jesus and He healed them. So the religious leaders became even more furious at Him! Through that week Jesus taught many things about the Kingdom of God and about the end of the world. On one occasion He warned the crowds about the religious leaders and He didn't hold back in telling them what He thought of them! Here is just some of things He said: "Do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.. Everything they do is done for men to see.. Woe to you, blind guides!.. You blind fools!.. you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.. You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?" Matthew 23:4-39 (NIV) Q. If you had been one of the religious leaders how would you have reacted to that? Q. If you had been one of the people in the crowd how would you have reacted to it? Jesus was not being nasty, He was showing the people what these religious leaders were really like - they were hypocrites! Q. What is a hypocrite? It is pretending to be something that you're not.

3 Holy Week lesson plan 3 So these religious leaders were pretending to be godly people, but really they were only interested in themselves. They were so caught up with making themselves look important, that they over looked the fact that God's Son had come among them. Not only that, they were trying to find a way of killing Jesus, but unknown to them this was all part of God s plan! We will now look at how this came about: Judas, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus, was not truly following Jesus, and he decided to make some money out of this situation. He went to the religious leaders and offered to lead the Temple guards at night, to the place where Jesus was! Then on the Thursday Jesus sent some disciples to hire a room in Jerusalem, so that they could all eat the 'Passover Meal' which is a traditional Jewish celebration. (Teachers note: This actual meal is discussed in an earlier Lesson Plan number 10: 'Jesus and the last supper (Holy Communion)' At this meal Jesus explained that He was going to die. Try to imagine how Judas must have felt. He had arranged for the Temple guards to come later that night. Then suddenly Judas hears Jesus saying: "But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me. I must die. It is part of God's plan. But, oh, the horror awaiting that man who betrays me." Luke 22:21-22 (The Living Bible) Everyone was confused and was wondering who He meant. Then Jesus said that whoever He gave a piece of bread to was the one who would betray Him. Jesus gave it to Judas and because everyone was talking, Judas left the room without the other disciples realising what was happening, and he went straight to the religious leaders. Meanwhile, Jesus being God, knew everything that was going on, so He spent a long time teaching His disciples many important things about the Kingdom of God. Earlier in the evening Jesus had said that He was going to leave them and Simon Peter said, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the cockerel crows, you will disown me three times!" John 13:36-38 (NIV) Simon Peter would have nothing of it, deny Jesus once, twice, three times! Never! Q. How easy is it to pretend to be brave when there is no danger? Q. But what happens when danger approaches, how do you feel? When it was late they walked to an Olive Grove outside of Jerusalem where they had been many times before. The disciples settled down to sleep while Jesus spent some hours in prayer. Suddenly there was the sound of a large group of men coming through the trees carrying lanterns and weapons with Judas the traitor leading them. Jesus, who knew everything that was going to happen to Him, went towards them and challenged them: "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "I am he," Jesus said. When Jesus said, ;I am he,' they drew back and fell to the ground." John 18:4-6 (NIV) Q. Why do you think they all fell to the ground?

4 Holy Week lesson plan 4 Christians believe that God was showing them His power, proving to them that they couldn't take Jesus by force. It was only possible if God allowed them to do that. "Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." "I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go." John 18:7-8 (NIV) Then Simon Peter, drew a sword and thrust it wildly at one of the men. The man tried to duck away but it caught him across the side of his head and cut off his ear! Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away!" Then Jesus completely healed the man's ear and said to the armed group of men: "Am I some dangerous criminal, that you had to arm yourselves with swords and clubs before you could arrest me? I was with you teaching daily in the Temple and you didn't stop me then. But this is all happening to fulfil the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures."Matthew 26:55-56 (The Living Bible) The disciples seized the moment, they turned and ran as fast as they could through the trees, but no-one followed them. Simon Peter and another disciple, quickly stopped running and they hid behind a tree. They were determined to follow them to see where Jesus would be taken. The group bound Jesus with ropes and then took Him to the house of a very rich religious leader, where all the other leaders were waiting to silence this prophet! They had gathered together a group of so called witnesses, who were trying to make up some false evidence against Jesus, so that they could present it to the Roman court who were the only Authority who could carry out the death penalty. Then these religious leaders would be happy, because Jesus would finally be silenced! But the trouble was that all these false witnesses couldn't agree, and they kept asking Jesus questions, but He didn't answer any of them. Then the High Priest, in total frustration, said to him: "Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said that He was. Then the High Priest tore his robes and shouted: "That is blasphemy!" Q. What is blasphemy? To speak evil against God, to put God down. The High Priest continued to shout: "Why do we need any more witnesses? We have just heard Him blaspheme! What do you think?" Many of the other religious leaders called out "blasphemy! He is guilty! Give him the death penalty!" Then they put a blind fold on Jesus and different people began to punch and hit Him. Some shouted; "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?" They spat in his face and continued to hit Him with their fists. Meanwhile Simon Peter had followed them to the house of the very rich religious leader. The large house had an outer courtyard with an entrance gate. As Simon Peter went through the gate a servant girl said to him, "Surely you are not another disciple of this man?" Simon Peter froze with fear and said, "No, I'm not!" There was a big bonfire burning in the courtyard, and because Jesus was being interrogated inside the house, and the night was cold, many people were huddled around the fire. Simon Peter tried to hide himself amongst the crowd. Then someone suddenly pointed at Simon Peter and said in a loud voice, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth!" Simon Peter denied it saying, "I don't know the man!" So he moved around the crowd to get away from them. Then someone else said, "You are one of His disciples, your voice gives you away."

5 Holy Week lesson plan 5 So Simon Peter began to curse and he said, "I don't know the man!" Immediately a cockerel crowed, and he looked towards the window of the house, where he saw Jesus standing before the leaders. Jesus turned His head and looked straight at Simon Peter and he suddenly remembered what Jesus had said to him earlier that evening. Q. What had Jesus said to Simon Peter? "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the cockerel crows, you will disown me three times!" Simon Peter quickly left the courtyard and wept because he was so sorry that he had denied being a friend of Jesus. It was now early in the morning and the religious leaders decided to take Jesus to the Roman Authorities to persuade them to execute Him. We will be looking at this next time. PLENARY: Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him and yet He still went through with it. Q. What do you think of Jesus for doing that? Q. Do you think Jesus would forgive Simon Peter for denying Him three times? When Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to Simon Peter and He did forgive Him. (See John 21:14-17) Q. How does the build up to Easter on the TV, compare with the story of the first Easter you have just heard? Either take a short time to discuss these questions, or leave it with them. (Teachers note: There are two worksheets to accompany this lesson plan).

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