When it comes to Holy Week and Easter as believers who are adults, we can have a good understanding of the events that lead up to Resurrection Sunday from our reading of Scripture and listening to Bible teaching over the years.
We are able to grasp, at least on some level, Jesus' words, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen!” These words, found in Luke’s gospel, are what the two beings dressed in white stated to the women who ventured to the grave that third morning after Jesus’ crucifixion. This is a passage that all believers in Christ should get excited about as His resurrected life means life for us.
We know that when God was creating at the dawn of time, He lovingly formed us with life and eternity in mind; not separation and death. As adults, we are all too aware that the latter is the result of missing God’s perfect mark, sin. We also know that even though sin had its drastic and tragic outcome that has flowed forward since Genesis 3, God had a plan of redemption. His redemptive plan had great cost, the life of His Son, and He was willing to pay the cost – for us.
We are aware that Holy Week is an especially meaningful time to reflect on this redemptive work. It's an opportunity to abide in Him, while He abides in us.
Yet, for our kids, we need to remember that they do not have an adult mind or understanding about important tenets of our Christian faith. So do not be surprised if some questions come your way. Or, if you are brave, probe a bit and see what questions are roaming around their inquisitive minds!
In my experience in explaining events of Holy Week to elementary-aged children, keeping it simple is important, especially the younger the child. Provide enough information to satisfy their mind’s natural curiosity while striving to not overwhelm them.
Here is a sample to consider for a young elementary child: “Why is Good Friday good when it is the day Jesus died?” A reply could be something like: Wow, what a great question. I like how you ask good thinking questions. You are right, Jesus died on a Friday so many years ago and he had many friends and family members who were sad that he died. When someone dies that is a sad time. Feeling sad is OK. God made us to have many different feelings and when sad things happen it is OK to feel sad. After many years that day started to be called Good Friday to help us remember that Jesus did a good but really hard thing for us so we will be able to be with him someday because he loves us. When Jesus died, he made a way for us to be with him. Before he died, we could not because sin would hold us away from him, but after he came back to life on Easter morning, we have a way to be able to be with Jesus forever. So, while it is sad that Jesus had to die it is good because we have a way to be with him. To help us remember the day he died we call it Good Friday.
As we reflect during this time, let’s remember that your sin and mine drove the nails, while His love and obedience drove Him to our cross so His redemptive work could be completed for us, in us.