Holy Week


Antioch Arcade



Jerusalem entry:            Matthew 21:1-11

Plot to kill Jesus:            Matthew 26:1-5

Deal for betrayal:            Matthew 26:14-16

Last Supper:                Matthew 26:17-30

Gethsemane:                Matthew 26:36-46

Betrayal and arrest:              Matthew 26:47-56


Memory Verse/Key Verse:

"We may make a lot of plans but the Lord will do what he has decided."

Proverbs 19:21 (CEV)



1. God is in control and is all-powerful.

2. Jesus chose to be an obedient disciple of God.

3. Even though we betray him, Jesus died so our sins would be forgiven.



1.     The children will become familiar with the main events of Holy Week and their sequence.

2.     The class will play a game in which older children will locate and read passages of Matthew’s account of Holy Week, and younger children will hear the passages. All will answer questions about the scriptures.

3.     The children will discuss the meaning of the Holy Week events to their lives.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself. Wear your nametag. Make sure the children are wearing nametags. If not, ask the shepherd to supply a temporary badge. Remember you are interacting with a different group of students each week that may not know you.


2.     Open with a brief prayer.


3.     Explain: Before Jesus died, he spent a week in Jerusalem. We call that week Holy Week. Today you’re going to play a game that will take you through some of the main events of Holy Week as they are described in the book of Matthew.


Scripture/Bible Story:

Briefly summarize these events from Matthew:

1.     Jesus enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey, with the crowd cheering him.

2.     The religious and government leaders plot to kill Jesus.

3.     Judas, one of Jesus’ 12 disciples, makes a deal to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

4.     Jesus has the Last Supper with his disciples.

5.     Jesus goes to a place called Gethsemane and prays.

6.     Judas leads a mob to Jesus, and Jesus is arrested.


Be very brief in going over the events. The children will read or hear more detail as they play the game, but the main focus of the workshop is on the overall sequence of events, not the details of each event. After the first couple of weeks, you might be able to go straight to the game and skip the summary.



1.     See end of workshop plan for details on game materials. The game pieces should be laid out on the floor like stepping stones to make a winding path (like Candyland). Have the “event” pieces (Entry into Jerusalem, etc.) in chronological order, with “question” and “scripture” pieces interspersed.

2.     Divide the class into teams of 3 or 4 children, with a total of no more than 4 teams. The more teams you have, the longer it will take to finish the game.

3.     To play, kids move through the path as a team. When it’s the team’s turn, one member rolls a large die and the whole team moves the number of steps rolled. When they land on a “scripture” stepping stone, one member draws a scripture card and the team looks up the passage, reads it out loud and tells which event it is part of. If correct, they move ahead one space; if incorrect, back one space.

When a team lands on a “question” stepping stone, one member picks a question card. Team moves forward one space if it answers correctly, back one if incorrect.

When a team lands on an “event,” they just stay put.

4.     The object of the game is to reach the “Resurrection” stepping-stone. (The game includes Crucifixion and Resurrection steps to complete the path through Holy Week. Since the children don’t study those events in this rotation, the game does not include any scriptures or questions about Crucifixion and Resurrection). Keep playing until all teams have reached the end of the path or you run out of time. If the teams are progressing too slowly, remove some of the scripture and question stepping stones to make the path shorter.

5.     Older children can read the cards and scriptures themselves. Read them to the younger kids.

6.     During the early weeks of the rotation, put the scripture and question cards in chronological order to help connect story details with the sequence of events. (It also allows you to skip some cards if you’re getting bogged down in the early events.) In later weeks, if the kids seem familiar with the sequence and most of the details of each event, you can mix the cards up. The questions are multiple choice, but in later weeks you might want to make new cards without a choice of answers.


Reflection Time:

Recite the Bible memory verse learned in the Great Hall.We may make a lot of plans but the Lord will do what he has decided.”-- Proverbs 19:21 (CEV)


Discuss: Do you think the disciples expected Jesus to die? Did Jesus plan to die? (No, but God had a plan that included Jesus’ death. We always make plans, but God is in control)


Do you remember what Jesus prayed? (Do what you want, not what I want. Jesus did not want to suffer or to die, but he chose to be obedient to God’s plan. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer and say “Thy will be done,” we’re saying the same thing Jesus said: Do what you want, not what I want.”)


What did the disciples do after Jesus was arrested? (They all ran away. We’re like the disciples because we all lose courage and do the wrong thing sometimes. But even though we betray him, Jesus died for us.)


Distribute the journal pages and pencils/markers. (TIP: Fill in the “workshop” blanks ahead of time; otherwise, the children will spend the entire journal time spelling out “Antioch Arcade.”) Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento to paste in their journal as a reminder of the workshop.


Ask the children to write about or draw a picture of a time when they were scared to do the right thing, or a time when things didn’t work out the way they wanted but maybe what happened was what God wanted. (This will be too hard for many of them. As an alternative, they can write or draw anything to remind them of what they did in the workshop.)



Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to One Great Hour of Sharing. The money helps people all over the world who don’t have enough food, live in poverty, or have been in disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and wars.


Prayer: Close with a brief prayer. Suggestion:

God, we think all the time about what we want, but we don’t always try to know what you want. Help us to accept your will and obey you even when it’s not what we want. Amen 


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help collect the game materials. Dismiss the class after the room is tidy.


Teacher preparation in advance:


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

2.     Prepare opening and closing prayers.

3.     Optional: Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, or meditative music for Reflection time.

4.     Find one or more Bibles in the Contemporary English Version.

5.     Write the memory verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.

6.     Prepare game cards and have them in order. Lay out game pieces on the floor.


Supply List


Journal sheets


Dry-erase marker

Game “stepping stones” (directions below)

Game cards (below)

Giant die

One or more Bibles – Contemporary English Version


Game Materials


1. Make 24 “stepping stones,” each large enough for several children to crowd onto. One method: Use a box cutter to cut leftover vinyl flooring into rectangles and label them with acrylic paint. (If the vinyl is warped, it will flatten out after a few hours of kids standing on it.) There are probably many other materials that will work equally well for the stepping-stones – try whatever is available!


Label eight stepping-stones with events:

Jesus enters Jerusalem

Plot to kill Jesus

Judas makes a deal

Last Supper


Betrayal and arrest




Label eight stepping-stones “Scripture” or draw a Bible on them.


Label eight stepping-stones with a question mark.


2. Make or purchase a giant die. To make your own: Find a cubic or nearly cubic cardboard box -- 10 or 12 inches on each side is probably ideal. For strength, you can fill it with Styrofoam scraps or some other lightweight material. Tape tightly shut. Paint white (it might take several coats), then paint on the dots. A soup can, open on both ends, makes a good stencil for the dots. Cover with clear contact paper to protect the paint and make the die more slippery and sturdy.


3. Cut out cards below and paste them to index cards. Keep scripture and question cards in separate piles.

Scripture cards



 Read Matthew 21:1-3


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:17-18


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:42


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 21: 8-9


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:20-25


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:47-48


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 21: 10-11


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:26-30


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:49-54


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:3-5


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:36-37


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:55-56


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26:14-16


Which Holy Week event is this part of?



 Read Matthew 26: 37:41


Which Holy Week event is this part of?





Question cards


Before Jesus entered Jerusalem, what did he tell his disciples to get for him?


  1. a donkey and a horse
  2. a donkey and a mule
  3. a donkey and its colt



Who went with Jesus to Gethsemane?


  1. Peter, James and John
  2. Peter, Andrew and Philip
  3. Matthew, Mark and Luke



When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, what did the crowd put on the ground?


A. Flowers and tree branches

B. Clothes and tree branches

C. A red carpet and tree branches



What did the Peter, James and John do while Jesus was praying in Gethsemane?


  1. Played cards
  2. Fell asleep
  3. Made plans for protecting Jesus



Who wanted to kill Jesus?


A. The disciples

B. Zacchaeus

C. The chief priests and the nation’s leaders



What was Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane?


  1. My father, please save me from suffering.
  2. My father, please send an army of angels to fight my enemies.
  3. My father, if I must suffer, I will do what you want.



Which disciple agreed to help arrest Jesus?


  1. Peter
  2. Judas
  3. James



Who came to arrest Jesus?


  1. A mob armed with clubs and swords
  2. The chief priests and nation’s leaders
  3. A special police unit





What was Judas’ paid for betraying Jesus?


  1. 30 dollars
  2. 30 pieces of silver
  3. 30 pieces of gold.



When Judas brought the mob to arrest Jesus, how did he identify Jesus?


  1. By waving to him
  2. By saying a secret password
  3. By kissing him



The Last Supper was a special meal. What were Jesus and his disciples celebrating?


  1. Hanukah
  2. Christmas
  3. Passover



After Jesus was arrested, what did the disciples do?


  1. Went with him to prison
  2. Ran away
  3. Finished eating their Passover dinner.


After the Last Supper, where did Jesus go to pray?


  1. Bethlehem
  2. Gethsemane
  3. The Temple