Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids that we don’t need to be afraid of death.
Needed: Drawing paper, crayons or colored pencils
Intro Activity: Acting It Out
Divide students into groups of two or three. Give them a few minutes to think of their skit. Then, have each group act out what they think happens when someone dies.
Ask students, Are any of you afraid to die?
Why do you think some people are afraid of death? (Suggestions could be it might hurt, we have to leave our family behind, our families will be sad, we have still have things we want to do, we don’t know what it will be like, etc.)
Can you think of any reasons why someone would not be afraid to die? (They want to go to Heaven and see God, they know they’ll get to see other family members who have died, etc.)
Who remembers what happened to Paul last time? (He was on a ship, and the ship got caught in a big storm and crashed.)
Why was Paul on the ship? Where was he going? (He was being taken as a prisoner to Rome so that he could go to court and be judged by the Emperor.)
What had he been arrested for? (For being a Christian and teaching about Jesus.)
Well, Paul finally did get to Rome on another ship. But when he got to Rome, he had to wait two whole years for his trial with the Emperor. He was on house arrest for two years. Does anyone know what house arrest means?
It means that Paul wasn’t in jail, really. He had a house to live in, but a soldier also lived with him and made sure he didn’t leave the house to try to escape. He had to stay in that house or have a soldier with him wherever he went.
And do you know what happened after those two years? There was a big fire in the city of Rome, the biggest and most important city in the world back then, the capital, the place where the Emperor lived.
The King, Emperor Nero, actually set the fires. He wanted to burn the whole city down and rebuild it to be like what he wanted. But when everyone got mad about the fire, Emperor Nero blamed the Christians for starting the fire. Most people back then didn’t believe in Jesus. They were always picking on people who did believe in Jesus, and this was just one more time that they could pick on Christians, blaming them for the fire.
So, they arrested a bunch of Christians, including Peter. They put them in the Coliseum, the stadium, for everyone to watch them being killed. Some of the Christians they put in with lions, and the lions ate them. Some of them were put in with warriors, and the warriors attacked and killed them. Peter was hung upside on a cross. Then, since they already had Paul on house arrest, they brought him out and cut off his head.
But do you think Paul was afraid to die? (No.)
Paul wasn’t afraid to die because he knew he’d be going to see God and Jesus when he died and that he would get to live forever in Heaven.
Paul also knew that he had done what he was supposed to do. He had done what God wanted. Ever since he believed in Jesus, he always tried to do the right things, and he had done his job of telling other people about Jesus.
If we believe in Jesus and do the things He wants us to do, we don’t have to be afraid to die either. Instead, we can look forward to how great it will be to see God and to live forever in Heaven.
Nothing bad will ever happen in Heaven because God doesn’t let anything bad happen in Heaven. No one will ever die again or get hurt. No one will ever be sad. No one will do anything wrong or mean. It’ll be great!
So, don’t be afraid to die and go to Heaven. When it’s time for you to die, be brave, because you know you’re going to see God, and it will be the best time you’ve ever had. Then, when it’s time for Jesus to come back to Earth, He will bring your spirit back with Him and bring your body back to life too.
Craft: What Will It Be Like?
Give students drawing supplies and have them draw a picture of themselves going to Heaven. When they’re finished, have them share their pictures and ask them what they think Heaven will be like.
Game: Resurrection Tag
Pick one student to be It. That student is Death. Pick another student to be Jesus. When Death tags someone, they fall down and lie on the ground like they’re dead. Jesus can then come to tag them, and they can get back up. If Death tags Jesus, Jesus must count to three (because Jesus was dead for three days), but can then get up again. If Jesus tags Death, the round is over. Play until everyone has had a chance to be both Death and Jesus or as long as time permits.
Remind students that when we die, our spirit goes to Heaven, but Jesus will come back one day and will raise everyone who believes in Him back to life.
Father God, we thank You that we don’t need to be afraid of dying because You’ll bring our spirits to Heaven when we die, and Jesus will bring our bodies back to life when He comes again. We only pray that You’ll help us to live how You want us to live and do the work that You want us to do until we do die. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Paul: The Odd Apostle.