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.







Scripture:  Luke 23 with emphasis on verses 13-23


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)


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

                                    Jesus is obedient to God


Objectives:     This workshop will help children better understand the great injustices that led to Jesus’ death on the cross.  It will also help the children realize that Jesus did not fight the charges brought against him, but was fully obedient to God’s plan for Jesus’ life. 




Welcome and Introductions:

  1. Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear name tags.
  2. Tell the children that today they will use the puppets to learn more about the end of Jesus’ life. 


Bible Story: 

  1. Ask the children to define arrest, trial, guilty and innocent.  Although most children know these words, it is important they have a clear understanding of them before moving on in the discussion.  Be sure the children remember that when someone is innocent, they should not be punished. 
  2. Ask how the terms above relate to Jesus.  In the first weeks of the rotation, the children may not know much about Jesus’ arrest and trial and this information will need to be supplied by the workshop leader.  The key information for the children at this point is: Jesus was arrested.  The Roman authorities tried Jesus.  The two people who could decide what happened to Jesus were Pilate and Herod.  Jesus died on the cross. 
  3. For first and second graders, summarize Luke 23: 13-23 in your own words. For third through fifth graders, ask them to find this passage in their Bibles and take turns reading it aloud.  
  4. Ask the following questions to be sure the children understood what was read:  Did Pilate and Herod think Jesus was guilty? No.  Did they think Jesus should die?  No.  Why did they allow Jesus to die?  The crowd said they wanted Jesus to die.  Another man named Barabbas was supposed to die as his punishment.  Pilate could choose which person would be set free and which would die.  Because the crowd was so insistent, Pilate decided that Barabbas could go free, and Jesus would die. 
  5. Certainly the children will have questions about what has been read.  Do not attempt to answer these questions right now, but instead tell them the puppets will help them understand how this happened. 



  1. This script is somewhat more complicated than previous scripts.  It has one voice from off stage (does not require a puppet or puppeteer), has three individual parts, and a “crowd” part.   The crowd can be as many or as few children as works best for each class.  In the combined 1st/2nd grade classes, the less-experienced readers might be the crowd and the more experienced readers read the three individual parts. 
  2. No matter how the division is made, it might be helpful for the “crowd” to review their parts as a group.  The workshop leader could say the lines and the crowd repeat after the leader.  Remind the children that several of the “crowd” lines need to be said like a chant or in a mocking way. 
  3. At the workshop leader’s discretion, choose separate readers and puppeteers for each part—or allow the same child to read and puppeteer for each part.   
  4. Perform the skit at least once.  A second time might be helpful since it is not too long. 



1.      After the skit, ask the children to return to their seats for a discussion time.

2.      Ask the class to compare the puppet skit and the Bible story.  How are the two stories similar?  How are they different?      Specifically ask how Marcus and Jesus responded to the crowds and the charges against them.  Although Marcus said a little in his defense, Jesus said nothing to the crowds. 

3.      Ask why they think Jesus didn’t protest or fight against what the crowd was saying.  This will probably be a difficult question for the children—and the answer may have to come from the workshop leader.  Jesus knew that he was following God’s plan in all of this.  Jesus was so obedient to God that Jesus did not even fight against the charges that were being brought on him. 

4.      Ask if they think there were any people in either crowd who might have thought Jesus or Marcus were not guilty.  If there were any people like that in either crowd, what did they do in these stories?  Nothing—they just went along with the crowd.

5.      Why didn’t any of those people say anything?  Answers may vary——but during this discussion suggest that people in both crowds might have been afraid to say anything different because they thought they would be punished or hurt, too. 

6.      What might have happened if some of those people spoke up?  Answers will certainly vary here, and of course, we don’t know for sure, but suggest that the ending of the stories might have been different if the crowds had responded differently. 

7.      Do you think any of the people in the crowd felt differently when they saw Marcus or Jesus being punished?  No right answer—but probably many people wished later they had not gone along with the crowd in either story. 

8.      The children may still have unanswered questions about why Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s plan.  These types of questions are indeed difficult.  The Presbyterian Church (USA)’s “Study Catechism,” approved for use in churches by the 1998 General Assembly, explains it this way:


Question 45. Why did Jesus have to suffer as he did?

Because grace is more abundant—and sin more serious—than we suppose.  However cruelly we may treat one another, all sin is primarily against God.  God condemns sin, yet never judges apart from grace.  In giving Jesus Christ to die for us, God took the burden of our sin into God’s own self to remove it once and for all.  The cross in all its severity reveals an abyss of sin swallowed up by the suffering of divine love.


Reflection Time:


  1. Ask the first and second graders to write words or draw a picture to show how this story makes them feel. 
  2. For older children ask them to write at least two sentences about how this story makes them feel. 





Prayer:  Close with a simple prayer thanking God for Jesus.  Thank God that Jesus loved the world enough to die on the cross.  What an amazing gift for us!


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to help clean up as they wait for their parents to arrive.  Put pillows behind stage area. Put away boom box, workshop bin, etc


Teacher preparation in advance:


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

2.      Make 10 copies of each script. 

3.      Highlight the scripts so there are two for each part.  The extra copies can be posted behind the stage or used by the workshop leader or shepherd. 

4.      Prepare a closing prayer.

5.      Bring a CD or taped music for background music while you are gathering, along with meditative music for reflection time.



STAGE NOTE:  For first and second grade mixed classes, the younger, less experienced readers can be the “crowd” in this script.  They can each have a puppet and practice their short lines before the play.  The workshop leader can easily prompt these lines and the kids say them as a group. 

          For other classes, use whatever number of puppets for the “crowd” that is convenient. 






MARCUS:  “Look at this birthday card, Grandpa sent me!  And there’s money in it-- $10!!!   I can’t believe it.  Grandpa has never sent me money before!” 


MOM:  VOICE OFFSTAGE—DOES NOT REQUIRE A PUPPET ONSTAGE.  “Marcus, It’s time to go to school now.”


MARCUS:  “Ok, Mom, I’m going to take this money Grandpa sent me to show to my friends.  It’s a brand new $10 bill!  They won’t believe it.”




RYAN:  “Hey, how’s it going?”


MARCUS:  “Great, I got a brand-new $10 bill from my grandpa! See?”


RYAN:  “Cool, but that looks just like the $10 I lost yesterday.  I think you took it out of my lunch box.”


MARCUS:  “Ryan, I wouldn’t take your money.  Besides, one $10 bill looks just like the next one.”


RYAN: “Well, it doesn’t matter.  That’s my $10 bill and I want it back.”


MARCUS:  “Come on, Ryan.  I’m sure you left your money in your pocket or something.  Have your mom check the wash.”


RYAN:  CALLING OUT TO CROWD  “Hey, listen everybody—Marcus stole my money.”


CROWD:  “Marcus—give it back.”

RYAN:  “Yea—that’s my money!” 


CROWD: **  “It’s Ryan’s money.  It’s Ryan’s money.”


TEACHER:  “What happened here?” 


RYAN:  “Marcus stole my money!”


CROWD: **  “Give it back!  Give it back!”


TEACHER:  “Did anyone see Marcus take Ryan’s money?”


CROWD: **  “Make him pay.  Make him pay.”


RYAN:  “I had $10 in my lunch box and now it’s gone. See?”


CROWD: ** “Stealer.  Stealer.  Stealer”


TEACHER:  “Marcus, even though I didn’t see you take the money, the other kids sure are convincing.  It sounds like you’re the guilty one.  I don’t like to punish you—but give Ryan his $10 now.”