Easter - Activity

Jesus is Alive! (Easter Story for Children)

On Thursday night, while praying in a garden, Jesus was taken to the Romans. On the next afternoon, which was a Friday, Jesus was put to death by hanging on a cross. (In the centuries to follow, Christians called this day Good Friday.)

After Jesus died, a man named Joseph (from a place called Arimathea) put Jesus in His tomb that nobody had ever used.  The tombs they used then were cut out of rock, almost like a cave, they weren't buried deep in the ground like they are now. Before Joseph left, he and some men rolled a large heavy stone in front of the tomb.

Jesus’ closest disciples, Mary and Mary Magdalene made spices and oils as a sign of respect to Jesus and went very early Sunday morning to go see His body.

As they were just about at the tomb, the earth suddenly shook and an angel came down from heaven.He easily rolled away the stone at the entrance of the tomb and sat on top of it.

The women looked at each other and rubbed their eyes since they couldn't believe what they had seen. The angel was so bright -- almost as bright as lightning!  His clothes were as white as snow.

There had been guards watching the tomb so no one would steal Jesus' body. When they saw the angel, they fell over and they couldn't move or speak because they were so afraid.

Then the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid.  I know you are looking for Jesus who has died. But He isn't here; He has risen just as He said He would!  Come and see for yourself, the tomb is empty."

The women were confused. How could this happen?  They were sure Jesus had died, and now He was alive? They looked in the tomb and the cloth Jesus had been wrapped in, was lying on the ground; the tomb was empty. Then the angel spoke again, "If you want to find Jesus, He's on his way to Galilee."

So the women hurried away, They were laughing and crying at the same time.  They didn't know what to feel; they had been so sad that Jesus was dead and now they were so excited that He was alive!  They just knew they had to find Jesus, and they had to tell the disciples the good news.

As they were running down the path, they turned a corner, and there was Jesus.  "Greetings," He said.  The ladies fell at His feet and worshiped him.  Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.  Go and tell my disciples to come to Galilee. That is where they will see me." 

The disciples came to Galilee, having heard by this time that Jesus was alive.  They were sitting around talking about it when Jesus walked into the room and said to them, "Peace be with you." 

The disciples immediately stopped talking.  Even though they had heard He was alive, they were shocked to see Him standing there with them. Jesus said to them, "Why do you look at me like you've just seen a ghost?  Why don't you believe what you're seeing?  Look at the scars in my hands and feet.  It is really me!  Touch me and see, I am not a ghost but a real person."

The disciple's mouths were open in amazement because they still didn't know what to think.  They were so full of joy, and yet it was impossible.  Jesus understood what they were thinking, so He said, "This is what I told you would happen" . Jesus had told the disciples when they had the Last Supper together; they took the bread at communion and Jesus said, "this is my body which I have given to you..." but the disciples hadn't understood what it really meant.

Then Jesus told them, "You have seen these things that have happened, so stay in the city and soon I am going to give you what God has promised you: the Holy Spirit."

Jesus had one more person to see.  His name was Thomas, and he was one of the disciples that wasn't there when Jesus met with them.  Thomas had also heard that Jesus was alive, but would not believe until he saw Jesus with his own eyes.

A week later when Thomas finally saw Jesus, Jesus said to him, "Put your finger here; see my hands.  Stop doubting and believe."  But Jesus continued, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; but it is more amazing for those who don't see me, and believe anyway."

That is exactly what faith is: 'believing in God even though you can't see Him.'

[Ref : http://www.dltk-bible.com]
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SIGNIFICANCE OF JESUS’ RESURRECTION

For a Christian, the resurrection of Jesus is essential to knowing that Jesus was Divine and that his teachings were Divine. St. Paul – whom Sai Baba said “was originally an inveterate critic of Jesus, (but) was transformed by Christ’s love into the greatest apostle of Jesus and the first propagator of the Christian faith” – stated the importance of Jesus’ resurrection to Christians in a letter to an early Christian community:

 

If Christ had not been raised from the dead, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… (and) you are still in your sins. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:15, 17, 20)

Jesus’ physical resurrection points back to the early days of Jesus’ ministry when he spoke of our need to be resurrected and reborn in a different way – in the knowledge and direct experience of God:

I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (Jesus – John 3: 3, 6)

Swami’s explanation about this “resurrection” and the lessons we learn from it:

What is the resurrection, really? It is the revelation of the divinity inherent in man. That is the result of contact with the Godhead; that can come only after years of contrition. Man is led into the wrong belief that the accumulation of material possessions will endow him with joy and calm. But Divine Love (Prema) alone can give that everlasting joy. Divine Love alone will remove anger and envy and hatred. ( 28 February 1964 )

Introduction

This is the season in which Christians celebrate Easter – Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after his crucifixion. What is the significance of this celebration? Jesus was born into the culture and religion of the Jewish people over 2,000 years ago. God first created male and female in His image and in His likeness and said to the couple, “Be fruitful and increase in number… I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food…”

This state was known as “the Garden of Eden.” But man developed ego and self-will, and “fell” from grace and purity and was sent out of the Garden. God promised to send the Jewish people an “Anointed One” to save humanity from this plight. Christians believe that Jesus was this “Anointed One”, the “Christ” sent by God. Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, in very humble surroundings near their capital city of Jerusalem. He had a distinct mission. In order to carry out his mission, Jesus gave spiritual teachings such as:

You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evil person. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:38-39, 43-44)


And also performed many miraculous healings for the people of His time. In the course of his ministry and miracles, even raising people from the dead, certain religious and political leaders felt challenged and threatened by Jesus’ popularity. Jesus foretold what was to happen to him – that he would be crucified and then rise from the dead on the third day. After three years of ministry, Jesus was going to Jerusalem for an upcoming Jewish holy festival, the Passover Feast, and a great crowd heard that he was coming;

On the Thursday evening before the Passover Feast, Jesus met with his disciples for the Last Supper, knowing that the time had come for him to undergo suffering on behalf of humanity’s estrangement from God (going all the way back to the time of the Garden of Eden).

That night, while praying in a garden, he was taken into custody to appear before a Jewish tribunal and eventually before the Roman ruling authorities of the region. On the next afternoon, which was a Friday, Jesus was put to death by hanging on a cross. (In the centuries to follow, Christians called this day Good Friday.) Yet, he forgave all, even those who were nailing him to the cross.

On the following Sunday morning, his closest women disciples came to his tomb, whose entrance had been sealed by a large, round stone. When they arrived, the stone had been rolled away and they were met by an angel dressed in a white robe, who told them:   Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. (Matthew 28:5-6) Jesus had risen from the dead, on what later became known as Easter morning.

Swami’s various quotes on Jesus and The Easter

1. Try to be like Jesus. Jesus was a person whose only joy was in spreading Divine love, offering Divine love, receiving Divine love and living on Divine love. Jesus was a supremely pure and sacred person. ( 25 December 1979)

2. Jesus was to shatter the darkness that had enveloped the world… to spread the light of love in the heart of man and councils of humanity. (24 December 1972)

3. Jesus was the epitome of compassion and the refuge of the poor, needy and forlorn. But, many people tried to create troubles for Jesus, since they did not like his sacred teachings and activities. Their hatred for Jesus increased day by day. Even the priests turned against Jesus as they became jealous of his growing popularity. Many people out of jealousy laid obstacles in his path and even tried to kill him. (25 December 2000)

4. Christ sacrificed his life for the sake of those who put their faith in him. He propagated the truth that service is God, that sacrifice is God. Even if you falter in the adoration of God, do not falter in the service of the living God. Be ready to sacrifice even your life for the sake of God. The spirit of sacrifice is essential. To speak about devotion without a spirit of sacrifice is meaningless. If the name of Jesus is glorified all over the world today, it is because of his boundless love. He served the lowly and the lost, and in the end, he offered his life itself as a sacrifice .( 25 December: 1970, 1998, 1993)

5. Jesus’ critics complained to the head priest against him. They tempted one of his disciples with 30 silver pieces, to betray him into their hands. The disciple who was most loved, Judas by name, decided to work against the Master, yielding to the low temptation of a few pieces of silver. Greed for money is a demon that gets hold of the weak. Jesus’ critics told the Roman ruler that Jesus was attempting to assert himself as king and so he should be punished for treason. The priest knew that Jesus was speaking the truth, but he did not support him in order to safeguard his own position. Their insistences made the Governor order his crucifixion. (25 December 1978, 23 November 1979, 25 December 2001)

6. Jesus wished well for those who insulted and injured him. He knew that God wills all. So, even on the cross he bore no ill-will towards any one and he exhorted those with him to treat all as instruments of God’s Will. (25 December 1982)