Today’s text is not a straight story but an interactive event.
Start by gathering the children in a circle and putting as large a cross as you can find in the middle. Explain that today we are going to talk about what happened when Jesus was on the cross. It’s a sad part of Jesus’s story, but we know that it’s not the end of Jesus’s story. The witnesses to the event did not know this, though! Choose one of these three ways of sharing the story.

1. Split the large group into 3 small groups and give each group one of the accounts. Gather and share after 10 minutes of group discussion.
2. As a whole group, use three actors to read the three accounts.
3. Hand out one of the story cards and have the children read them individually. Give them a moment to be quiet before discussing as a large group. Repeat process with the next character.

This retold version of the Bible passage is supplied for inspiration, feel free to omit or embellish to give it your personal voice.

Main Passages : John 19, Matthew 27, Mark 15

Biblical retelling of the stories of the Witnesses to the crucifixion

Salome’s Story:

When Jesus left after the evening meal, we knew whatever was going to happen would be soon. When one of the disciples finally returned, he was alone. Jesus had been arrested. We stood in the streets and heard the whip hit his back, watched as he carried the wooden cross to Golgotha wearing that stupid crown of thorns. Would he save himself from the cross? Mary Magdalene, Jesus’s mother, and I edged closer and closer and saw him looking at us. Three hours we waited until he shouted the words, “it is finished.” Jesus was gone. It was over. They laid him in a tomb, and I went to collect spices to put on his body. But it was too late. The Sabbath was coming, and the spices would have to wait. That Sabbath was so quiet. We were so afraid. We were so lost. Our lives had become all about Jesus, and now he was gone.

The beloved disciples Story:

Jesus called me the one he loved, but I ran just as fast as the rest of the disciples. I ran when I saw Judas turn up with the crowd of men. I ran when I saw their swords. I was scared they would take me too. I didn’t stand up in court or plead with Herod or Pilate. For 3 years, he was my family, and I did nothing. The crowds in Jerusalem were thick with people. I followed at a distance, keeping my head down. I saw the men with gold coins for those who shouted “crucify,” and I did nothing. Why am I so afraid? I can see him looking from the cross for his friends. I got near enough to see his mother and the women. He wanted to say something to me. He told me that I am to take his mother as my own and that she is to take me as her son. Even as he left, he gave me a new family.

The Centurion’s Story:

We got handed this man straight from the steps of Pilate’s house. He’d been whipped already, but he was still standing. Pilate looked irritated. This was the crowd’s decision, not his. It was about half a mile to Golgotha, but we didn’t think he’d make it. The crowd was crazy. There were a few weeping, but most of them were shouting abuse and spitting in his face. He had this good robe on and a crown of thorns. We gambled for the robe and put up a sign saying “King of the Jews.” The Jews didn’t like that. He was nailed up to the cross as the sky went black. It was midday. He didn’t say much up there, and he didn’t last long. But he asked God to forgive us and said we didn’t know what we were doing. When he died, I realised this was no ordinary man: We’d killed the son of God.

Witnesses to the crucifixion | Story PDF

Click this image to get the printable story page. Split into 3 cards once printed.

 

I spinning crafts for both Nicodemus and the woman at the well are rather popular choices so with a little nudge from a friendly comment I made up a version for the witnesses to the Crucifixion story. It depicts the Easter scene.

It’s three scenes have no words. It shows the city, Golgotha, and the garden. When it comes to characters I’ve included the three from the witnesses to the Crucifixion lesson as well as lots of extra’s. Where you place the characters and which you choose to use is totally dependant on how you are telling the story and which gospel is your base.

 
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Here are the images you need for the hero’s attributes linked to witnesses to the crucifixion.

Each hero’s page set contains a high quality graphic of the character, a take home bible card and a colouring page.

The images are displayed small here, click on the image you wish to have, then save the image that loads.
(Please note : these images have no watermark but are not copyright free, they are only intended for classroom use.)

 

English

 

32S-Card32S-Card
32-Salome32-Salome
32S-Colouring-page32S-Colouring-page

 

32C-Card32C-Card
32-Centurion32-Centurion
32C-Colouring-page32C-Colouring-page

 

32B-Card32B-Card
32-Beloved32-Beloved
32B-Colouring-page32B-Colouring-page

 

 
Witnesses to the crucifixion
This worksheet is an activity connected to the Witnesses to the crucifixion lesson. The first part examines how the emotions of the witnesses may have been different. The second part gets the children to examine the end of the story for the three witnesses. if you are doing this lesson in parts then get the child only to complete the activity for the character they have been examining.
There is also a puzzle in the background and the words ‘Jesus lives’ to be completed.

The PDF can be downloaded by clicking on the images.

32-M-00The central image to the witnesses to the crucifixion lesson (in large below) is really quite simple to recreate. I’ve made the mural image here from paper and fabric scraps. It could be made individually on a piece of printer paper or it could be made onto a noticeboard or wall in your teaching room, onto the floor of your hall or grass outside the church.

The pdf includes images for the three heroes in colour and as outlines (image below linked). I’ve not added a message to mine but the speech bubbles and the headings are included in the PDF file. If you would like individual images of the characters then please click on their names below the image.

32-M-01
Centurion, Beloved, Salome, Mother Mary, Mary

You need to create a dark background because the sky went dark, a space for the women to watch which isn’t too near,an earthy colour or green and a space for the soldiers, probably dry earth. You can use any medium you wish for this, eg: paper, sandpaper, fabric, grass, dirt, sand… etc.
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Rather than 3 play posts for the Witnesses to the crucifixion lesson the games are listed here – if you want more games connected with Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter then click here for the last Easter theme lesson. This lesson has 3 heroes, (the soldier, Salome, and the disciple Jesus loved) ideally you would choose one or split your group into 3 and each cover a different hero. I’ve tried to include games than link with all three
 

Obstacle race – It’s been a while since I fell back onto this traditional game, but the journey to the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, or getting through the crowds to see Jesus, can easily link in.
 

Shadow charades – set up a sheet or screen and a bright light to play charades. this version allows letters to be made to spell out words and ties into the idea of standing in the shadow of the cross.
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