The week leading up to Easter is a special time in the Christian church called Holy Week. We remember the events preceding and surrounding Jesus’ death. It is a week filled with excitement, danger, and sadness, but it is mostly about love. In order to experience the joy of Easter, it is necessary to understand the depth of Jesus’ love for all of us.
Children from my church drew these pictures to help tell the story. This is a very abbreviated and simplified account, but it does contain truths that I hope will help you see the heart of God.
One day, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. People waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna!” which meant “save us!” The people wanted Jesus to be their new king and rescue them from Roman tyranny. Jesus rode a donkey instead of a big horse to show that he came in peace.
Jesus was mad that people in the temple were cheating others. They sold animals for high prices and exchanged foreign money at unfair rates, then they kept some of the money for themselves. Jesus pushed over their tables and told them that the temple should be a place to worship God, not a place to treat people unjustly.
Jesus celebrated Passover and had a special meal with his disciples. At that meal he told his followers that he would not be with them much longer, but he gave us a way to always remember him.
Whenever we celebrate communion and we eat the bread and drink the juice, we remember Jesus and his great love for us.
Jesus washed his disciples’ feet as an example of serving others. He told us that we should love one another and take care of each other. We should not think we’re better than other people or too important to help others, even doing a job no one else wants to do.
Jesus went to a garden to pray. He prayed for his followers, that they would have courage. He prayed for all of us, that we would know God and love others. He prayed that God would help him do something very hard.
There were people who didn’t like Jesus, and Jesus knew that the angry people wanted to get rid of him. A crowd with swords came to the garden that night and grabbed him. They tied his hands and took Jesus away.
They took Jesus to the angry leaders and said, “this man must be killed because he calls himself the son of God.”
People were mean to Jesus. They hit him with sticks and whips, they spit at him and mocked him. They tore his clothes and made him bleed.
Someone shoved a circle of sharp prickly thorns on his head. People mocked Jesus and said if he was really a king, this was his crown.
But Jesus loved them anyway. He asked God to forgive all the people who hurt him. Jesus’ love for the world was bigger than all the bad things people could ever do.
Nails held his hands and feet to a cross. Jesus suffered there, but he still loved everyone.
Jesus was crucified with two robbers at his side.
Later that day, Jesus said, “I am ready to die. I have finished my work on earth.”
And Jesus died.
Darkness came over all the land. The light of the world was not shining on that day.
Jesus’ followers were very, very sad and afraid. Their friend was dead. What would they do?
They took his lifeless body down from the cross and put it in a tomb. Then a big heavy stone was placed in front of the tomb to cover the opening. Now his friends couldn’t be with Jesus or talk with him anymore.
But Jesus did not stay dead. There is good news, and on Easter we celebrate.
Women went to Jesus’ tomb early in the morning and saw the angel there.
The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. God had made Jesus alive again!
Just as Jesus’ love is bigger than any bad things people could ever do, God’s power is even stronger than death. Now we have the promise of life forever with God. That is why we celebrate Easter!
Children who drew these pictures were three years old through sixth grade at the time. Some of those children are now college graduates and young professionals. It was a privilege watching them grow into the young men and women they have become.