Trial and Crucifixion


This lesson is copyrighted by the Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian, Cary, North Carolina.

It may be used for non profit purposes only.



Apostle’s Playhouse




Scripture:  Luke 23


Memory Verse: “God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.” (John 3:16, CEV)




·          Even though he was accused of doing wrong, Jesus was innocent.

·          When we mess up, Jesus forgives us.



1.      The class will learn the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion by listening to Luke 23 and acting out the story using “frozen pictures”.

2.      By listening and acting the children will understand that Jesus was accused of doing wrong even though he was innocent.

3.      Children will understand that Jesus forgives people who were cruel to him or who have sinned.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.      Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your nametag.

2.      Explain to the class that they will be acting out the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion using “frozen picture acting.”


Scripture/Bible Story:

1.      Luke 23

2.      Read the passage to them (it is fairly long) while they read along. If they have read it in previous weeks you may choose only to summarize the events.

3.      To reinforce the sequence of events you could play a game where the class puts the events in order.   Write the event on cards, shuffle, and have the class discuss the events and place in order.

-Pilate questions Jesus

-Jesus is brought before Herod

-Crowd yells “Nail Him to a cross!”

-Pilate gives Jesus the death sentence

-Simon carries Jesus’ cross

-Jesus is nailed to the cross and says “Father, forgive these people.”

-Soldiers tease Jesus and gamble for his clothes.

-Jesus shouts “Father I put myself in Your hands.”

-Jesus dies.

-Jesus is placed in the tomb



1.      Explain to the class they will be acting out the events in Luke 23 using a frozen picture technique. The narrator will read the lines while actors are showing the motions.  Four scenes in the action will be frozen when the narrator says, “Freeze”. The object is to show a snapshot of a dramatic moment.

2.      Warm-up exercise: Have the class practice while you read the following.  They act out the motions silently and freeze when told. In this passage the children can all act out Simon’s actions such as rowing the boat and throwing and pulling up nets: Jesus was standing by a lake near Simon Peter’s fishing boat.  He asked Simon Peter to take him out to a deeper part of the lake (freeze) and let down his nets (freeze).  They caught so many fish that their nets began ripping apart (freeze).

3.      The class will be divided into three groups each having a scene to rehearse:

1)      Pilate & Herod question Jesus and give death sentence.

2)      Jesus walks through the street and is nailed to the cross.

3)      Jesus dies on the cross and is buried.

4.      Give each group their lines (see attached scripts), assign a narrator, assist with costumes, and assign an area to rehearse. Shepherd and workshop leader provide assistance and suggestions as they rehearse (about 15 minutes).

5.      Have each group present their drama (going in correct sequence) with actors freezing action for 30 seconds when narrator says Freeze.

6.      Take picture! (either use a Polaroid camera or pretend to take a picture) Applause!

7.      Put away props and costumes.



Reflection Time

Sharing and discussion:

Here are a few questions that can be discussed with possible answers.

1. Why did Pilate condemn Jesus to death even when Jesus was innocent?

-Possibly Pilate thought that Jesus and the crowds were causing trouble and may start dangerous rioting so that it would be easier to get rid of Jesus to avoid riots, or it could be that Pilate wanted to be a popular leader, so when the people asked for Jesus to be hung on the cross he agreed.

2.Jesus is very calm and doesn’t struggle or argue. How do you know he is calm?

-He shows calmness by comforting women on the way to the cross, reassuring the criminal on the cross, and by forgiving those who nail him to the cross.

3.      Why do you think Jesus is calm?

-He trusts in God.  He knows this is part of God’s plan.  He is teaching his disciples by showing self-control and forgiveness because he knows they will help spread God’s love.

4. Why does the Roman officer change his mind about Jesus?

-Perhaps he saw Jesus’ strength, serenity, and calmness, and knew that he must get it from a powerful source (God).



Suggestion: You may wish to give the children a sticker or some memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the story or activity.


Prompts for journal writing:

Readers: give children strips of paper with the events (those listed in scripture section previously) and ask them to glue them in the correct order onto their sheet of paper.

Non-readers: draw a picture of Jesus showing forgiveness.



Prayer:  Ask for prayer requests.  Lead a prayer.  Suggestions include: thanking God for sending Jesus and forgiving our sins.  Asking for help in being forgiving and obedient to God like Jesus was. Amen    


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help tidy up. Put costumes back into box on the stage.


Teacher preparation in advance:


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

2.      Prepare a closing prayer.

3.      Get props, costumes and scripts together.


Supply List


·          Biblical costumes

·          strips of paper with the events (those listed in scripture section previously)

·          Polaroid camera (optional)

·          Copies of scripts

·          Events on individual cards for sequencing the story




·          Luke 23

·          Notes supplied by Susan Mazzara for curriculum writers’ Bible study Jan. 2002

·          Ritz, Randy L. Act It Out! Cincinnati, Ohio: The Standard Publishing Company, 1999.

Actors: Pilate, Herod, soldiers, Jesus





Pilate and Herod Question Jesus



The council takes Jesus to see Pilate. (FREEZE) They are angry with him and say he was trying to start riots and claiming to be the Messiah. Pilate asks Jesus “ Are you the King of the Jews.” “Those are your words,” says Jesus. Pilate tells the council that he doesn’t find Jesus guilty (FREEZE), but they say Jesus has been causing trouble all over the place even in Galilee. Pilate says,  “If he is from Galilee then send him to Herod.”


Herod asks Jesus a lot of questions, but Jesus doesn’t answer.  The priests and teachers say Jesus broke the law. Then Herod and his soldiers make fun of Jesus (FREEZE) and send him back to Pilate. Pilate calls together the leaders and people and says that Herod didn’t find him guilty either. Pilate says, “He doesn’t deserve to die, maybe we should beat him and send him away.”


The crowd disagrees, they yell “Kill Jesus! Kill Jesus!”  Pilate says again, “He isn’t guilty.” The crowd keeps shouting  “Nail him to a cross!” They keep shouting as loud as they can. Finally, Pilate gives Jesus to the angry crowd. (FREEZE)

Actors: Jesus, Simon, crowd, two criminals, soldiers



Jesus is Nailed to a Cross


As Jesus is being led away some soldiers grab hold of a man named Simon. They put the heavy cross on him and make him carry it behind Jesus. (FREEZE) A large crowd is following Jesus. In the crowd a lot of women are crying and weeping. (FREEZE)  Jesus says to the women, “Don’t cry for me.” Finally they arrive at a rocky place called “The Skull.”


Soldiers nail Jesus to a cross. (FREEZE) He cries out, “Father, forgive these people. They don’t know what they’re doing.” While Jesus is on the cross the soldiers play dice to see who wins his clothes. (FREEZE) They tease him by saying, “If you are a king then save yourself.”


One of the criminals felt sorry for Jesus because Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong. The criminal says, “Remember me when you come into power.” Jesus replies, “I promise that today you will be with me in heaven.”





















Actors: Jesus, Roman officer, Pilate, Joseph, women



Death of Jesus


Around noon the sun stops shining. Jesus shouts, “Father I put myself in your hands.” Then he dies. (FREEZE) When the roman officer saw what had happened he praised God. The officer says, “Jesus must really have been a good man.”


The crowd is sad when Jesus dies. They walk home sadly. (FREEZE) A man named Joseph wants to help bury Jesus. Joseph goes to Pilate and asks for Jesus’ body. Then he takes the body down from the cross and wraps it in cloth. (FREEZE)


He puts Jesus’ body in a rock tomb. (FREEZE) The women who had come with Jesus watch how his body is placed in the tomb.