Before beginning, make two colorful signs, large enough to be read by everyone who will be in attendance. Use the same size poster board for each:
- Sign 1 (Navy blue letters): SURPRISE!
- Sign 2 (Navy blue for the letters SURP; a variety of bright colors for RISE!): SURPRISE!
Keep the signs flat on your lap or on the floor until you are ready to have the children read them.
Play a game with me! The game is called “Would it surprise you if . . .” You can say “yes” or “no.”
Would it surprise you if . . . the lights in this room went out right now?
Would it surprise you if . . . the lights in this room stayed on until we all leave?
Would it surprise you if . . . my hair suddenly turned purple?
Would it surprise you if . . . my hair stayed this (point) color all day today?
Would it surprise you if . . . Pastor (or name another staff member) came in right now?
Would it surprise you if . . . all 12 of Jesus’ disciples came in right now?
What’s a surprise? (Hold up Sign 1, the navy blue one. Let volunteers share; highlight the thought that surprises are unexpected, not what usually happens.)
Sometimes surprises are sad, but most often, they are happy. Today we will celebrate a happy surprise. (Place Sign 2 on top of Sign 1 and show it to the group.) This sign has a hint about the happy surprise we will celebrate.
What word do you see inside this SURPRISE? (RISE)
Who can guess what happy surprise we are celebrating? Yes! Today we remember in a special way Jesus’ resurrection. It was a very, very, VERY happy surprise! None of Jesus’ friends expected it, not even the 12 disciples. If those disciples did come here today and we could ask them, they might say something like, “No, we didn’t expect it! It was a real surprise!! It was a great miracle!”
On that first Resurrection Sunday, those disciples were very surprised. We might even say they were shocked! That’s because three days earlier, Jesus had died on the cross. He died for our sins. He was punished for all the wrong things we think and do and say.
If you disobeyed your mom or your teacher, would that be a surprise? No, probably not.
If you played a game instead of doing your homework, would that be a surprise? No, sadly it might not be.
If you got mad and said or did something nasty to your brother or sister or friend, would that be a surprise? I’m afraid it would not be.
The Bible says that all people sin. We all disobey God and we all hurt one another at one time or another. Sin is what usually happens, sad to say.
But, SURPRISE! God our heavenly Father does not stop loving us when we sin. SURPRISE! He sent Jesus to die for us so we could be in his family forever. SURPRISE! Jesus did not stay dead. The Bible says, “The Lord is risen” (Luke 24:34). And he is! He will never die again. He lives forever. He is our forever Savior and Friend.
And because Jesus rose, one day we will rise, too! (Point to the letters RISE on Sign 2.) SURPRISE! The day we rise will be a wonderful day. We will live forever with Jesus in heaven and with everyone who trusts in Jesus as their Savior. There will be so very many wonderful SURPRISES that we can’t even imagine them all now. But we know we will be with Jesus. And we know it will be great!!!
Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving us so, so much. Forgive us when we sin. Help us keep on celebrating the happy surprise of your love for us. Help us to do that each day while we live here on earth and someday, forever in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Editor’s note: Today’s devotion is the Ministry Message that accompanies one of CTA’s new Easter themes, The Easter SurpRISE! It’s fresh way to tell kids about Jesus and the resurrection. CTA is offering dozens of new Easter resources for children’s ministry - visit www.CTAinc.com today!
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