Easter is (or should be) the pivotal holiday of the Christian faith. It celebrates the greatest event in history, and is a time of great rejoicing! Aside from the fancy dresses, fun decorations, and baskets, though, what is it that we honor for Easter? Young children might not always have a solid understanding of the story behind God’s great plan for mankind. In this message, the story of Good Friday and Easter is told through a favorite seasonal treat, jelly beans. Use the colors of the candies to address various elements of the events that took place.
Law/Gospel Theme: Jesus died in our place, fulfilling God’s plan to rescue humanity from sin, death and the devil. He conquered evil and won the victory for us. We can rejoice and put our hope in the Resurrection. Because Jesus died and came back to life, one day we will have eternal life with Him! He is risen! Alleluia!
Optional Materials: Jelly beans, plastic eggs, Easter basket or bucket, cross.
Bible Passage: John 20:1-18 (also Mark 16:1-8)
Message Note: You could use an elaborated version of this message in a classroom setting, and perhaps make a bead bracelet with the colors as a craft. You could also give each child a colored paper and have them hold them up one at a time. Use what works best for your group and setting.
More Teaching Ideas:
- Watch the video demonstration of this message and related craft ideas
- Compare our Sunday School Lesson on John 20:1-18
- Compare another Easter lesson or see all our Easter Ideas for Children’s Ministry
- Compare the children’s sermons from rfour.org and sermons4kids on this passage.
- See all our latest children’s sermons, Sunday School Lessons, and Sunday School curriculum
Easter Children’s Sermon (John 20:1-18) Colors of Hope
Greet the children, and have a bag of jelly beans and/or several plastic eggs filled with jelly beans. Make sure that all colors are in each egg.
Hello, children of God! He is risen! Happy Easter! What a special and joyous day this is. Easter is truly the most wonderful event we can celebrate in the Bible. What do you like to do at Easter time? (Take possible responses.) Those are fun things…maybe you’ve enjoyed an egg hunt, too! It just so happens I have some Easter eggs here. Would you like one? (Pass out one egg per child, filled with jelly beans.) What do you think might be in these eggs? Why don’t we take a little peek…open your egg carefully, but don’t touch what you find inside just yet…
Jelly beans! Jelly beans are another item we see frequently at Easter time. Here’s an important question though: what are we talking about with the story of Easter? With all of the candy, the eggs and bunnies and flowers, what does it all mean? Well, we are going to go through the story, and these jelly beans will help. I want to look at one color at a time. Find the color as I discuss it, and we’ll think about what it represents in the events of Easter. (If desired, allow children to eat the jelly bean after reviewing the color; or wait until the end of the message.)
Let’s begin with the green one. Can you find the green jelly bean? This one reminds me of a garden. Actually, there are three gardens in this story. The first one is the Garden of Eden. That’s where God first created the plants and animals and people and everything…but Adam and Eve sinned, and things got messed up. God had a plan, though, and Jesus was at the center of that plan. The other garden is the Garden of Gethsemane. That’s where Jesus prayed on the night before He was killed. He prayed that God might spare Him the pain of crucifixion if possible, but ultimately He surrendered to God’s will. And the third garden, well, let’s wait to talk about that one…
After that prayer in the garden, Jesus was arrested. Let’s look at the orange jelly bean. This represents coins. One of Christ’s friends and disciples, Judas, betrayed Him, and sold Him for just a few coins (technically, they were silver, but we’ll use our imaginations). The people who arrested Jesus put Him on trial and beat Him with whips! *Note: orange could also be used to reference the fire outside the courtyard and/or rooster for Peter’s denial of Jesus.
Next, why don’t we look at the purple jelly bean. The people who arrested Jesus and were doing cruel things to Him made fun of Him. They teased Him, and they hit Him. They made a crown out of sharp thorns, because He was called “king”, and they took a purple robe and put it on Him. They were mocking Him because they didn’t think He was truly a king. But we know that Jesus is truly royalty. He is the Son of God, and the king of all things!
Well, Jesus was put to death on the cross. The red jelly bean (hold up red) makes us think of the blood of Jesus. His blood was spilled out, and by that blood our sins are covered. Look at the black jelly bean. Black reminds us of our sins, dark and black and awful. The bad things we do are as black as night…and black also reminds us of the darkness of night. When Jesus was killed, the sky grew dark like night, even though it wasn’t nighttime.
Well, Jesus did die on the cross. That was also part of God’s plan, and Jesus knew that His blood would wash away our sins and make us clean and new. Look at the white jelly bean. It reminds us of a fresh new start. White also stands for the linens that wrapped around Jesus’s body when He was placed in the tomb. People put Him in a tomb in a garden—that’s the third garden. But that isn’t where He stayed…
Look at the yellow jelly bean. On the third day, the sun rose as some women went to the tomb where Jesus was. They learned that He was not in the tomb! That’s because not only had the earthly sunrise come; the SON of God had risen, too! He was alive! And this gives us great delight and hope. Finally, take out the pink jelly bean. Pink is a joyful and happy color. It reminds us of the hope we have in Jesus. He lived, died, and came back to life! He did this for you and me. Because we have joy in Jesus, we know our black sins are washed away, we have new life and new hope in Him.
So any time you look at an array of colors, eat jelly beans, or hear about Easter, think about these important events, and remember what Jesus did for you. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!
Let’s give God a prayer of thanks for all that He did for us through Jesus:
Prayer (Have kids repeat each line)
Thank you for your marvelous plans
Thank you for sending Jesus and giving Him important purpose
Help us to trust you and remind us you are near
Thank you for forgiveness
Thank you for your love
We love you, God!
In Jesus’s name, Amen!
Bible Verses/story to Reference: John 20:1-18
Note: the references in this “jelly bean story” refer to the events leading up to Christ’s death, as well as the resurrection, and are found in other passages. The verses here are from the Gospel frequently used for Easter Sunday.
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a] head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic,[b] “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. -John 20:1-18