Holy Week





Palm Sunday  

Plot to kill Jesus             

Judas aggress to betray    

Last Supper                    

Praying in Gethsemane   

Betrayal and arrest 

Matthew 21:1-11

Matthew 26:1-5

Matthew 26:14-16  

Matthew 26:17-30

Matthew 26:36-46

Matthew 26:47-56 


Memory Verse:    

"We may make a lot of plans but the Lord will do what he has decided.”  Proverbs 19:21 (CEV)



  • God is in control and is all-powerful.
  • Through Jesus, God did what God had promised in the Bible.
  • Even though we betray him, Jesus died so our sins would be forgiven.



The children will hear confirmation of God’s control and power over our world (a tough message during these sad events of Jesus’ last week on earth as a human being) and God’s plan to save us through Jesus Christ.  Children will also think about love and apply these thoughts to God’s perfect love, which is why Jesus died for us.




Welcome and Introductions:

  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your nametag.
  2. Tell the children that today they will learn about God’s control and power and plan for us through Jesus Christ in the Bible story.  They will learn more about God’s love using puppets.


Bible Story: 

1.      Read the scripture passages using the attached version.  Please practice reading this aloud several times before you teach. Practice will help you decide where to put the emphasis, especially when reading dialog.  You might want to mark words to emphasize.  It’s a very interesting story!  Before reading it to the children, you can tell them that this passage is about Jesus’ last week before his human body is put to death (to cleanse our sins).    

2.      There are comments inserted in italics that you can use to explain some of the passage.  It’s important to use these comments as this is where the children will learn about God’s control and power and his plan to provide Jesus to save us.  

3.      Try to keep the Bible Story to 10-12 minutes.  The children will be eager to get to the puppets.  You need to cover the story completely for the first two weeks of the lesson; after that, most children will be familiar with this passage.

4.      After going through the Bible story, introduce the skits by saying that the skits will help us understand the love that God has for us—a love beyond imagining.   



Note:  There are 4 skits.  Two have 3 characters; two have 4.  You’ll have to use a combination of skits to give everyone a chance to perform, either by repeating or leaving out—you never know how many children will be there!  Let each child have a chance to operate a puppet or they will be disappointed.  Use an adult to fill in extra parts—it’s very hard to give only one or two children two turns.

  1. Divide the class into groups of children needed to perform each skit.     
  2. You have several options about who will read the parts.  You may pre-record the entire skit on cassette tape before Sunday (this always worked well for me when I was a PP workshop leader).  You may also allow each child to read and act out his/her own puppet part (this works well with 3rd grade and up).  
  3. Give out scripts to each group and assign parts.  Some scripts are written such that any gender can play the parts.  Names are usually only used as prompts for the puppeteers.  Let the children line up quietly to choose a puppet. 
  4. Allow the groups 3-5 minutes to practice their script.  Grades 1&2: The shepherd and workshop leader should help with the scripts, perhaps even “speaking” the voices while the children act them out. You may want to do this for the other grades as well to keep the pace moving and to allow the children to focus on what is being said and not the mechanics of reading.
  5. When performing the skits, you may use the pre-recorded version.
  6. If you have a large group of children, you may repeat skits so everyone has a turn.
  7. After each skit (or all versions of a skit), ask the performers to sit down and have a brief discussion with all children about what happened in the play. 
  8. After skit 1: Ask what happened in this skit.  Any discussion permissible, but look for idea of forgiveness.  Would you have forgiven the friend?  Any answers permissible.  Why do you think the one friend did forgive the other?  Look for idea that the one friend was truly sorry and repentant (planned to change behavior and not do it again) which are both necessary for forgiveness.  Is friendship a kind of love?  May not agree, but yes, there is a friendship kind of love.  When we love (even a friendship kind of love), we forgive each other.  God forgives us for bad things that we do when we are sorry and plan to change our behavior.  Who helps us to be forgiven?  Jesus, he died to cleanse our sins.  Why did God give us Jesus to help us be forgiven?  Because God loves us—all of us!
  9. After skit 2:  Ask what happened in this skit.  Children will have different words for it, but look for ideas of sacrifice, unselfishness, putting others’ wants and needs before your own.  That’s why the one sibling let the other one have the fun tooth-brushing pills.  Siblings (brothers and sisters) have a special kind of love between them, too.  When you love someone, should you feel like making a sacrifice or putting his or her wants and needs before your own? Sure—this gets easier to do as you get older.   Can you think of someone who sacrificed something huge for you and for all of us?  God sacrificed his son and Jesus sacrificed his life to cleanse us.  Why did God and Jesus sacrifice so much for us?  God loves us; Jesus loves us. (For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16)
  10. After skit 3:  Ask what happened in this skit.  Child is sick, and his grandparents come to  care for and comfort their grandchild.  Do grandparents love grandchildren?  YES!  What does this tell you about something you do when you love someone?  Care for and comfort people you love.  God and Jesus care for us very much.  God has provided everything we need—what are some of the things God has given us?  Earth, sun, sunrises, human bodies, air, food, water, family, friends, animals—an endless list! Why?  To care for us because he loves us.   
  11. After skit 4:  Ask what happened in this skit.  Children are talking about being obedient and decide to obey parents because of their love for them.  We know that God loves us, and God is a special kind of father to us, a heavenly father.  Do you think he wants us to be obedient to him out of love?  Yes.  What are some ways we can be obedient to God?  Follow God’s commands, love God with all your heart, love one another.



Review the three concepts for this lesson (see above) and give a chance for additional questions.  Have the children put their puppets back neatly.



Reflection Time:

  1. Ask the shepherds to pass out the journal sheets and pencils/markers.  Tell the younger children to draw their favorite part of the Holy Week story.  If shepherds have time, ask them what they’re drawing and write a quick caption, so parents will understand the picture (parents really appreciate this).   Tell the older children to think about their favorite part and write a few words about it.  If they are struggling, have them start with:  “My favorite part of the Holy Week story was…”   If they have time, they can illustrate. 



Prayer:  Close with a simple prayer acknowledging that God is in control and all-powerful, thanking God for the gift of Jesus to save us and for his amazing love.  Thank Jesus for making this sacrifice for us out of love.  Ask God to help us be more loving toward God and each other.  Ask all of this in Jesus’ name. 


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive. 


Teacher preparation in advance:


1.      Pray:  Ask God to give you clarity of this scripture and words to teach His children this lesson. 

2.      Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

3.      Make at least 12 copies of each script page.  Cut the scripts into pieces so that each player can have a copy.  You can also post two copies of the script at each end of the stage so puppeteers can refer to it.

4.      Prepare a closing prayer.

5.      Check out the room before your first Sunday workshop so that you know where everything is located.

6.      You can bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, along with meditative music for reflection time.

7.      Optional:  pre-record the scripts on tape.  Family members and their friends can have a lot of fun playing the different parts.




Copies of the script.



Notes supplied by Lori Houck for curriculum writers' Bible study in January 2003.






SKIT 1 (3 characters)


Scott:  “I did something bad at school today.  I don’t feel very good about it.”


Mom:  “What did you do?”


Scott:  “I could see that Brandon didn’t have the right answer on his paper, and I told everyone else at the table about it.  I thought it was funny that he had missed it, but later I just felt bad about it because he looked so sad.”


Mom:  “You and Brandon are good friends.  That really wasn’t very nice, but I think you know that now.  Why don’t you call him and say you’re sorry?  I’ll bet he’ll forgive you.” 


Scott: “OK. (phoning) Brandon, it’s Scott.  I wanted to say I’m sorry for what I did at school today.  It was really mean.  I won’t do that ever again.”


Brandon:  “That was really mean.  How do I know you’re really sorry?”


Scott:  “All I know is that I feel really bad and keep wanting to take back what I said.”


Brandon:  “OK, I believe you.   Can you come over later?  I have to finish my homework first.”


Scott:  “Sure.  Thanks for forgiving me.  I feel a lot better now.”



SKIT 2 (3 characters)


Beth:  “Hey Mom.  We got the coolest thing at school today.  A dentist handed out little colored pills to show us where our toothbrush isn’t going.  It’s supposed to turn your teeth red where you miss.  I’m going to use mine right now.”


Matthew:  “I got those too.  It’s going to be really cool to see all the red spots!”


Mom: “Great.  Go ahead and try it out.  But I hope there are no red spots.”


Beth:  “Oh no, I don’t believe it.  My box doesn’t have any in it.  What happened to them?”


Mom:  “I’m sorry.  Someone must have made a mistake at the factory. “


Matthew: “You can have mine.”


Mom:  “Don’t you want to do it?”


Matthew:  “Sure, but Beth seems more excited about it, so I’ll let her have my pills.  The dentist will probably visit again sometime, maybe next year.”


Beth:  “Wow, that’s really nice of you.  You’re sure?”


Matthew:  “Sure.” 


SKIT 3 (4 characters)


Mrs. Kramer:  “How are you feeling?”


Child:  “My throat still hurts, and my head hurts.”


Mrs. Kramer:  “Grandma and Grandpa are coming over to see you.”


Child:  “Really?  Because I’m sick?”


Mrs. Kramer:  “Yes, as soon as they heard how bad you felt, they said they’d be right over.”


(grandparents arrive)


Grandpa:  “How’s my little buddy?”


Grandma:  “Hi, Sweetheart.  I brought you some of our raspberry sherbet.”


Grandpa:  “And I brought you a toy your Mom used to like.  It’s an old box.  See if you can figure out how to open it.  It has a secret latch.”


Grandma:  “When your mom told us how badly you felt, we didn’t have time to go shopping, so we just looked around the house for something to bring.”


Child:  “A secret latch?  That’s great.  Let me see…”


Mrs. Kramer:  “You guys are great.  This is the happiest I’ve seen my child all day.”


Grandma:  “You know us—we’d do anything for our grandchild.”


Grandpa:  “When you get that figured out, I brought some cards for Crazy Eights.”







(4 characters plus an adult for the Moms’ voices)


Thelma:  “Who wants to go over to the tree house in my yard?”


All other kids:  “I do.”


Daphne’s Mom’s voice:  “DAPHNE…DAPHNE”


Daphne:  “That’s my mom.  I have to go.”


Bob:  “You don’t have to go.  Just pretend you didn’t hear.”


Graham:  “Yeah, just ignore your mom.”


Daphne:  (running off) “My mom says if I love her, I’ll obey her, so I try to obey.”


Thelma:  “I love my mom, but I don’t always obey.”


Bob:  “Me neither.  And I love my mom, too.”


Graham:  “My mom would sure be a lot happier if I obeyed all the time.”




Thelma, Bob, Graham:  “Let’s show our moms we love them—let’s obey right away.”



The Holy Week Sequence

From Matthew, CEV

(Suggested comments are in italics.)



21:1-11 When Jesus and his disciples came near Jerusalem, he went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives and sent two of them on ahead.  He told them, “Go into the next village, where you will at once find a donkey and her colt.  Untie the two donkeys and bring them to me.  If anyone asks why you are doing that, just say, ‘The Lord needs them.’  Right away he will let you have the donkeys.” (This has all been pre-arranged by GOD.)

So God’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said,


“Announce to the people of Jerusalem;

‘Your king is coming to you!

He is humble and rides on a donkey.

He comes on the colt of a donkey,’ ”


(The prophet who said these words was Zachariah who lived over 500 hundred years before this Holy Week happened.  These words are written in the Old Testament in the book of Zechariah.)


The disciples left and did what Jesus had told them to do.  They brought the donkey and its colt and laid some clothes on their backs.  Then Jesus got on.

Many people spread clothes in the road, while others put down branches which they had cut from trees.  Some people walked ahead of Jesus and others followed behind.  They were all shouting,


“Hooray for the Son of David!

God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Hooray for God in heaven above!”


(Remember during the Birth story we learned that Jesus was a descendant of King David—that’s why they are calling him the Son of David.)


When Jesus came to Jerusalem, everyone in the city was excited and asked, “Who can this be?”

The crowd answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”


(Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was wonderful.  He was welcomed and honored.)

(While he was in Jerusalem, Jesus continued to teach many things to the crowds.  We are not studying those things during this rotation, but one of his sermons during this week is called the Beatitudes.  You studied that a while ago.  It lists things that make people blessed or happy.)

26:1-5 When Jesus had finished teaching, he told his disciples, You know that two days from now will be Passover.  (Passover was a Jewish holiday celebrating the time when the angel of the Lord, who was killing all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, “passed over” the homes of Israelites and did not kill their sons.  This was one of the plagues of Egypt that you studied during the Moses rotation.)   That is when the Son of Man will be handed over to his enemies and nailed to a cross.”

(Jesus is telling his disciples that he is going to be killed very soon.  God has planned all this a long time ago, and Jesus knows what is coming.)
          At that time the chief priests and the nation’s leaders were meeting at the home of Caiaphas the high priest.  They planned how they could sneak around and have Jesus arrested and put to death.  But he said, “We must not do it during Passover, because the people will riot.” (This means that both the religious leaders and government leaders were against Jesus.  The reason they called it risky was because lots of Jewish people came to
Jerusalem, a big religious center, to celebrate Passover.  The city was crowed with lots of religious people who might riot to save Jesus.)


26:14-16  Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples.  He went to the chief priests and asked, “How much will you give me if I help you arrest Jesus?”  They paid Judas thirty silver coins, and from then on he started looking for a good chance to betray Jesus.


26:17-30  On the first day of the Festival of Thin Bread, Jesus’ disciples came to him and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal?” (The Festival of Thin Bread or unleavened bread starts with the Passover meal.)

Jesus told them to go to a certain man in the city and tell him, “Our teacher says, ‘My time has come!  I want to eat the Passover meal with my disciples in your home.’   They did as Jesus told them and prepared the meal.

When Jesus was eating with his twelve disciples that evening, he said, “One of you will surely hand me over to my enemies.”

The disciples were very sad, and each one said to Jesus, “Lord, you can’t mean me!”

He answered, “One of you men who has eaten with me from this dish will betray me.  The Son of Man will die, as the Scriptures say.  But it’s going to be terrible for the one who betrays me!  That man would be better off if he had never been born.”

Judas said, “Teacher, you surely don’t mean me!”

“That’s what you say!” Jesus replied.  But later, Judas did betray him.

(Again, Jesus is telling about his death.  He knows everything that will happen because God planned it long ago and has told Jesus what to expect.)

During the meal Jesus took some bread in his hands.  He blessed the bread and broke it.  Then he gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and eat it.  This is my body.”

Jesus picked up a cup of wine and gave thanks to God.  He then gave it to his disciples and said, “Take this and drink it.  This is my blood, and with it God makes his agreement with you. It will be poured out, so that many people will have their sins forgiven.  From now on I am not going to drink any wine, until I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom.”  Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.  (This was the Lord’s Supper, which all Christians continue to celebrate at our churches.  It is also called communion.)


26:36-46   Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane.  When they got there, he told them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”

Jesus took along Peter and the two brothers, James and John.  He was very sad and troubled, and he said to them, “I am so sad that I feel as if I am dying.  Stay here and keep awake with me.”

Jesus walked on a little way.  Then he knelt with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup.  But do what you want, and not what I want.” 

(When Jesus talks about drinking from this cup, the cup is a symbol for this plan—which was a very hard thing for Jesus or any man to do.  Jesus is asking for another way.  Jesus prays to God because Jesus knows that God is in control and all-powerful.   Jesus is also obedient to God’s will.  He says he is willing to die for us if that is God’s plan.)

He came back and found his disciples sleeping.  So he said to Peter, “Can’t any of you stay awake with me for just one hour?  Stay awake and pray that you won’t be tested. You want to do what is right, but you are weak.”

(Jesus is telling his disciples that they are weak, as we all are, so they must always pray to God to help them be strong and good.)

Again Jesus went to pray and said, “My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want.”

Jesus came back and found them sleeping again.  They simply could not keep their eyes open.  He left them and prayed the same prayer once more.

Finally, Jesus returned to his disciples and said, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners.  Get up! Let’s go. The one who will betray me is already here.”


(This is a wonderful example of how to pray to God:  ask for what you want, ask many times, but be willing to accept what God has planned for you. And why?  Because God is in control and all-powerful.)

26:47-56 Jesus was still speaking, when Judas the betrayer came up.  He was one of the twelve disciples, and a large mob armed with swords and clubs was with him.  They had been sent by the chief priests and the nation’s leaders.  Judas had told them ahead of time, “Arrest the man I greet with a kiss.”

Judas walked right up to Jesus and said, “Hello, teacher.”  Then Judas kissed him.

Jesus replied, “My friend, why are you here?”

The men grabbed Jesus and arrested him.  One of Jesus’ followers pulled out a sword.  He struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.

But Jesus told him, “Put your sword away.  Anyone who lives by fighting will die by fighting.  Don’t you know that I could ask my Father, and right away he would send me more than twelve armies of angels?  But then, how could the words of the Scriptures come true, which say that this must happen?”

Jesus said to the mob, “Why do you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like a criminal?  Day after day I sat and taught in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me.  But all this happened, so that what the prophets wrote would come true.”

All of Jesus’ disciples left him and ran away.


(Did you hear Jesus tell everyone that God, his Father, would send angels to save him if Jesus asked?  Jesus knows how in control and how powerful God is.  He also knows that God has a wonderful plan for us—better than anything we or even Jesus could plan—and it is better to use God’s plan than our own.  Even though things look sad for Jesus right now, Jesus knows that through his death, his blood will clean all our sins away.  It is the only way we can be cleaned enough to be acceptable to live in heaven with God and Jesus.  So he is willing to die so that we can be with him.  He loves us that much.  And he loves us no matter what we do.  Did you see how the disciples ran away?  And often we run away from doing the right thing.  Still he loves us.  Can you imagine a love so great?)


Additional Comments to the Workshop Leader:


The whole concept of Jesus dying for our sins is hard for children (and adults) to grasp.  In case questions come up about this, it would be helpful if you personally have thought about this before you lead this workshop.  Why did Jesus have to die?  We do not know all the thoughts and motivations of our God (For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  Isaiah 55:8), but in the Bible, God has made it very clear that sacrifice and the shedding of blood would make it possible for sins to be forgiven.  (In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.  Hebrews 9:22)  Very specific and demanding guidelines were given for the animal to be sacrificed (first born, without blemish).  While God never condoned human sacrifice (in fact sacrificing their sons and daughters to foreign gods ALWAYS got the Israelites into trouble with God), when it was God’s time to provide a final sacrifice for our sins, God provided Jesus, God’s first (and only) son, the only perfect human being ever to exist.  It is still a hard concept to grasp, but we must accept God’s commands.  God controls everything, and this is how God has told us we can be forgiven and given eternal life.  In obedience and gratitude, we accept this gracious sacrifice, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.