The Resurrection of Jesus

Workshop Leaders’ Bible Study

This workshop leader’s Bible study is a historical, theological, and contextual introduction to the “Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus” rotation of Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest workshop rotation program.  It is intended to provide workshop leaders with:

·        A historical context for understanding the Bible story.

·        A Biblical context for reading and teaching the story.

·        The theological basis for the concepts to be taught to the children.

In Kirk of Kildaire’s Faith Quest program, workshop leaders attend a one-hour Bible study two weeks prior to the start of a new rotation.  This Bible study helps workshop leaders understand how the concepts to be taught to the children are derived from the Bible story and how the lessons in the rotation fit together to reinforce the concepts.  It also provides an opportunity for the workshop leaders to grow in their own faith and understanding of the Bible.

It will be helpful to have a chalkboard, whiteboard, or flip chart for writing down questions or observations during the Bible study.

Note:  This is not a comprehensive study of the text, but only a few notes to help provide context and background for workshop leaders.  Consult titles cited in the reference list at the end of these notes for more information.


Luke 24.  Individual workshops will emphasize various parts of this chapter:



Antioch Arcade

Apostles’ Playhouse

24:1-12; the empty tomb

Creation Station

Bread of Life Café

24:13-31; road to Emmaus

Praising Puppets

24:34-53; final appearance/commissioning

Antioch Arcade


Memory verse for this rotation:

Romans 10:9 (NRSV):

“If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”


1.      Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life.

2.      Jesus is with us always.

3.      Jesus helps us understand the Bible.

4.      Jesus wants us to teach others about God.

5.      Jesus promises to help us teach others about God.

Prayer Concerns & Prayer

·        If workshop leaders do not know each other, give them an opportunity to introduce each other and say which workshop they will be leading.

·        Begin the Bible study by praying for God’s guidance as teachers begin a new rotation.

Reading the text

Ask a workshop leader to read the text aloud.  Since this rotation focuses on an entire chapter, you might want to divide the reading among three or four workshop leaders.

Ask the workshop leaders what questions came to mind as they heard the story or read it before the Bible study.  Write down any questions that arise and will need to be answered during the Bible study.

Historical, Theological, and Biblical Contexts

Historical Background

Alan Watson puts it very nicely in his book The Trial of Jesus: “The Gospels are not written by eyewitnesses, nor do they attempt to set out the course of Jesus’ life as modern biographies would.”[1]  They are instead theological accounts of the life of Jesus whose aim is to help Jesus’ followers understand the significance of his life, death, and resurrection.  The passion narratives, especially, serve this purpose.  According to scripture, “anyone hung on a tree is under God’s curse” (Deut. 21:23).”  How can one reconcile this mandate with the claim that “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11)?  The passion narratives are theological accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  They were written to help his followers understand how one under God’s curse by law could be the Messiah.  This predicament is what is commonly known as “the scandal of the cross.”

Background on Luke

The Gospel According to Luke was written probably around 80-85 CE.[2]  It is not an eyewitness account and does not claim to be an eyewitness account (see Luke 1:2).  It is actually part of a two-volume work beginning with the gospel and ending with Acts.  Because the writer of Luke-Acts (as the two books together are referred to) sometimes writes in first-person plural in Acts, Luke may have been written by a physician who traveled with and was a co-worker of Paul.[3]  Together the two books constitute a single story in which Luke portrays “a history of salvation.”[4]  In this story, Luke “grasps the meaning of Jesus and the church for the world in a single vision, and he tells that story so that what happens with Jesus foreshadows the church’s experience and what happens in the church finds meaning as the continuation of Jesus’ story.”[5]  In other words, Luke takes a long view of the life of Jesus and tells us how his life continues in the church through the Holy Spirit.  Thus what the poet T.S. Elliot says is really true of Luke’s passion narrative:

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.[6]

Some say that Luke sees history as occurring in three periods: the time of Israel, the time of Jesus, and the time of the church.  The time of Jesus was a special time of salvation during which Satan departed the earth for a while (Luke 4:13) and did not return until the time of Jesus’ passion (Luke 22:3).[7]  With his resurrection, Jesus defeated once and for all Satan and the powers of death and evil.  Jesus lives and reigns at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56), and through the grace of the Holy Spirit Jesus continues to live and exercise power and authority in the world through the church.  Luke is careful to recount this salvation history in an orderly fashion (Luke 1:3) so that his mostly gentile audience can understand that God first fulfilled his promises to Israel and then extended those promises to the Gentiles.[8]  God’s saving work is for the whole world, Jew and Gentile alike.

A second overarching theme in the gospel¾in addition to salvation history¾is the fulfillment of scripture.  Luke reads and reinterprets Hebrew scripture in light of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and his telling of the story emphasizes how Jesus fulfills the promise of a Messiah and Savior.  This theme is particularly prominent in the story of the resurrection appearances when Jesus “interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures” (Luke 24:27).

Luke’s resurrection narrative continues many of the themes begun in the passion narrative: his role as prophet, his promise of living, continuing presence with his disciples.  But the resurrection appearances also bring forth some new themes, especially with respect to the church.

Jesus as empowering presence in the church

In the appearance and ascension narratives, Luke has written into the story many of the elements of worship: breaking bread, proclaiming and interpreting scripture, charging and blessing the disciples.  Jesus is not simply out of the picture, but is actually present in an even more powerful way.

Fulfillment of scripture and prophecy

In his conversations with the disciples, the risen Jesus emphasizes that all that has happened has been in fulfillment of his own prophecies (remember that Jesus is the prophet like Moses) and of scripture.  This is, in fact one of Luke’s overarching themes and as you read the gospel you will note his many references to the Hebrew Scriptures.  Just as Jesus is somehow more present after his death, so are the scriptures somehow more complete when read from a post-resurrection point of view.

Real, bodily resurrection

Luke is careful to point out that the risen Jesus appears not as a ghost, but as a real, fleshly person.  He is somehow different: his disciples do not recognize him at first (until he breaks bread with them), but he is real.  He eats with them to show them that he is real and not just a ghost.

A promise and a charge

The last that Jesus says to his disciples in the gospel is to charge them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness to all nations in Jesus’ name and to promise them that they will receive the power to carry out the charge.  This is the charge and promise given to the church: we are to proclaim Christ risen and are promised that when we gather the Holy Spirit will be with us to empower us to carry out that charge.

Workshop Summaries

Ask each workshop leader to summarize his or her workshop.  As they do so, point out the concepts that each lesson reinforces.  Ask workshop leaders if they have any questions about the logistics or practical application of their lesson.

General Overview of the Story

·        Holywood reviews the sequence of events in the story and then invites the children to illustrate the story on transparencies on which various parts of the story have been printed.  The children then get to “watch” their version of the story as it is shown in an overhead projector.

·        Sequence – Apostles Playhouse and Antioch Arcade both include activities and games that focus on narrating the events of Jesus’ resurrection appearances in sequence.

Jesus was raised from the dead to give us new life.

·        Bread of Life Café by making “Resurrection Cookies” the children will experience in a very concrete way what it means when scripture tells us that Jesus’ tomb was empty on Sunday morning.  In a brief survey of Lenten and Easter hymns, the children will experience the movement from sadness to joy that we experience in worship through Lent and Easter.

·        In Apostles Playhouse the children will explore the emotions of Jesus’ disciples as they came to understand that he had been raised from the dead.

·        Creation Station gives children another tangible, concrete example of what it means that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning.

Jesus is with us always.

·        Praising Puppets helps the children learn the “Road to Emmaus” part of the resurrection story and portrays Jesus presence with his disciples after his resurrection.

·        In Apostles’ Playhouse children will play a game called “Mirror Me” that will help them understand what it means to follow Jesus teachings and what it means to be an example to others.

·        In Creation Station children will learn that even though the tomb was empty, Jesus is still with us today when we read and study scripture together.

Jesus helps us understand the Bible.

·        Praising Puppets shows the children an example of Jesus helping the disciples to understand the scriptures and helps the children understand that Jesus is with us whenever we read scripture or hear it read.

·        Antioch Arcade helps the children understand that “scriptures” means our Bibles and that Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit to help us understand what the scriptures mean.

Jesus wants us to teach others about God.

·        Bread of Life Café explores Jesus’ instructions to the women at the tomb to share the good news of his resurrection with the other disciples.

·        Antioch Arcade helps the children understand that Jesus’ instructions to his disciples to teach others the good news of repentance and forgiveness of sins is also an instruction to us.  Wee too are to share the good news.

·        In Apostles’ Playhouse children will play a game called “Mirror Me” that will help them understand what it means to follow Jesus teachings and what it means to be an example to others.

Jesus promises to help us teach others about God.

·        Antioch Arcade explores Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit will be with his disciples when they go to spread the good news.  As disciples of Jesus, we too have been given this promise.

·        In Apostles’ Playhouse children will play a game called “Mirror Me” that will help them understand what it means to follow Jesus teachings and what it means to be an example to others.

Review Questions

Return to the questions that were gathered at the start of the hour.  Have they been answered?  Are there any further questions about the Bible story or about the lessons?

Closing Prayer

Close the Bible study with a prayer.


Harper’s Bible Dictionary.  Ed. Paul J. Achtemeier.  New York: HarperCollins, 1985.

Johnson, Luke Timothy.  The Gospel of Luke.  Sacra Pagina Series, volume 3, ed. Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.  Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1991.

_______________.  Living Jesus: Learning the Heart of the Gospel.  New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.

_______________.  The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1986.

Watson, Alan.  The Trial of Jesus.  Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1995.

[1] Watson, xi.

[2] Harper’s, “Luke,” 583.

[3] Johnson, Writings, 198.

[4] Harper’s, “Luke,” 584.

[5] Johnson, Writings, 199.

[6] T.S. Elliot, “Little Gidding,” 5:214-216, Four Quartets (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1943), 58.

[7] Harper’s, “Luke,” 584.

[8] Johnson, Writings, 204.