Today we are going to hear about the most exciting mystery story every told. I call it, “The Case of the Empty Tomb.”
This is a story about what happened after Jesus died on the cross. Jesus died on a Friday. It was a very sad day. It was sad because Jesus’ friends didn’t know what was going to happen. They didn’t understand why Jesus had to die.
Late on that Friday afternoon, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross. It was wrapped in long strips of cloth. And it was buried in a rich man’s tomb. A large stone was rolled over the entrance to the tomb, and soldiers were standing outside to make sure that nothing happened to Jesus’ body. Jesus was dead.
The Bible tells us (hold up your Bible) that this is what happened next:
Early on Sunday morning when it was still dark, Jesus’ friend, Mary Magdalene, went to the tomb and saw that the large stone that was rolled over the mouth of the empty tomb was gone!
When she looked in, what did she see? An empty tomb!
So, she ran away. Why do you think Mary ran away? (Let the children answer: Was she afraid? What could have happened? Jesus’ body was not there. The stone had been moved.)
Mary ran to two more of Jesus’ friends, Simon Peter and John. So, Peter and John ran very fast to the tomb. (Have the children stand and run in place.)
John ran so fast that he beat Peter there. (Have the children stop and sit down)
Why do you think the friends ran (really animated)? (Let the children answer: Were they shocked? Was it hard to believe what Mary had told them?)
The friend and Peter looked inside the tomb. Guess what they saw?
An empty tomb!
There were strips of cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ body. They saw the cloth that had been put on Jesus face. John saw, and he believed. What did he believe? Jesus was dead, but God raised him to life.
Do you believe that Jesus is alive? (Pause).
Mary didn’t understand. She was sad. She thought Jesus was missing. The friends went back to their homes, but Mary stayed at the empty tomb, and she cried. Why do you think that Mary cried? (Let the children answer: She thought that Jesus was dead, and now his body was missing too!)
A man came to Mary. He said, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” Mary said, “If you took him away, please tell me where he is. I’ll go and get him.”
He said her name, “Mary.” It was Jesus! He had been dead. But now he was alive! Now Mary believed! She wanted to touch him and hug him! Jesus said, “Not yet. I’m going to the Father.”
Then, Mary ran away. Why do you think Mary ran this time? (Let the children answer.)
Mary had good news! She was going to tell her friends, “I have seen Jesus! He was dead! But now He is alive! He is risen! And he is giving us life, so that we can live with the Father again!
Would you like to know Jesus and receive this life? Pray with me: Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for me so that my sins can be forgiven. Thank you that you rose again so that I can have new life in you. Thank you that you open the way to the Father for me. I accept you into my life today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.