Kids Apologetics Series – For Upper Primary Kids (ages 8-11)
Teaching Plan – Historicity of the Resurrection 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 and v17
This is the fifth in a 5 part apologetics series for kids. Apologetics means to defend the faith. The aim of this series is to equip kids so that they are always prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). This series can be taught in kids church over 5 weeks or can be used at home by parents to equip their kids. Note if this is being used at home you may decide to skip or change the game.
Lesson 1 looked at the question of why should we do apologetics.
Lesson 2 looked at the argument from creation.
Lesson 3 looked at the argument from design.
Lesson 4 looked at the argument from morality.
The fifth lesson focuses on the historicity of the resurrection. The big idea is to show there is good historical evidence that the resurrection of Jesus is true. The importance of the resurrection cannot be overestimated. Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15 that if the resurrection didn’t happen then our faith is futile. We are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). In other words if you want to prove Christianity is false, prove the resurrection didn’t happen. However, there is very good historical evidence to show the truth of the Resurrection.
This evidence seeks to establish the truth of three historical facts
- The tomb was empty
- Jesus appeared after the resurrection to a number of his followers
- His followers came to live very different lives after they encountered the risen Jesus.
Once these facts are established then we need to seek the best explanation of these facts. The best explanation continues to be that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
We will use 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 and v17 as the passages in Scripture to support our apologetics.
How we want kids to be changed at the end of this lesson?
We want kids to be able to recall the historicity of the resurrection to defend the faith.
1 Peter 3:15 memory verse – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XX8z9f_H5GU
- This song will help us learn this key Bible verse for our series
- This verse shows us that God commands us to use apologetics
Recap and introduce
We have just listened to a song on the Bible verse 1 Peter 3:15. This verse includes a command “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks to give the reason for the hope that you have.” This was our point from lesson 1. We do apologetics because God commands us too.
Lesson 2 we saw one reason people often give for not believing in Christianity is because they believe Science has shown that Christianity is wrong. We saw the argument from creation uses Science to show God exists rather than showing it to be wrong.
Lesson 3 we saw another answer to those who say Christianity can’t be true because Science has shown that Christianity is wrong. We saw the argument from design uses Science to show God exist.
Lesson 4 we to saw another argument for the existence of God. Since moral laws exist, there must be a moral law giver. This moral law giver must be God.
Today we are going to look at the resurrection of Jesus. The Apostle Paul says that if the resurrection didn’t happen then our faith is futile. We are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). In other words, if you want to prove Christianity is false, prove the resurrection didn’t happen. However, there is very good historical evidence to show the resurrection did happen. We will look at this evidence today.
Spend two minutes having the kids write down what they know about the resurrection of Jesus and have them share this with each other.
There are three historical facts about the resurrection of Jesus that are well established among historians (write these up on the board)
- Jesus’ tomb was found empty
- Jesus appeared before a number of his followers
- The lives of Jesus’ followers were radically changed following their encounters with the risen Jesus
First, we will look at the evidence for each of these facts and then we will seek to find the best explanation of these facts.
Watch this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qhQRMhUK1o
Have the children feed back to you what evidence the video presented for each of these facts. Write up the reasons. These can be found below.
Jesus’ tomb was found empty:
- Lots of early sources increases our confidence that this event did really happen.
- The tomb was found by a group of Jesus’ women followers. At that time, in that culture, a women’s testimony was worth less than a man’s testimony. If this story was made up a man’s testimony would have been used as it would have been more believable at that time, in that culture.
- The Jewish authorities who were Jesus’ enemies also came to believe that the tomb was empty. Read Matthew 28:11-13. Explain if the tomb wasn’t empty the Jewish leaders could have just pulled out the body. Instead they come up with a lie.
Jesus appeared before a number of his followers:
- Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
- Ask the children who Jesus appeared to?
- Peter was his best friend who should recognize him
- His 12 closest followers who should recognize him
- 500 people most of whom were still alive when this was written. It is very difficult for 500 people to consistently tell the same story without it breaking down. If you’ve ever played telephone (aka Chinese Whispers) you will know this. (see game below)
- Then he appeared to James who was his half-brother who should recognise him.
- Then to the apostles
- Then to Paul – Paul was Saul who was his enemy and so was not likely to say Jesus rose from the dead unless he actually did.
- These testimonies are covered in a large number of early sources giving us confidence that they did happen.
The lives of Jesus’ followers were radically changed following their encounters with the risen Jesus:
- The Disciples were scared for their lives after Jesus’ crucifixion
- The Disciples came to believe Jesus rose from the dead even though they had no previous idea this would happen
- Paul and James became believers even though they were previously enemies or skeptical
- The disciples were willing to die for their belief
Best explanation of these facts
Some people have suggested it was a conspiracy
- The Disciples stole the body and set up a hoax
- Yet the Jews were not expecting the Messiah to die and rise again. Why would they make it up?
- Why would the disciples die for something they knew wasn’t true
Some people have suggested that Jesus wasn’t really dead and was placed in the tomb alive, then escaped
- Yet the Romans tested to see if he was dead by stabbing him with a spear
- The tomb was guarded by Roman Soldiers
Some people have suggested the disciples imagined Jesus had risen from the dead
- Yet he appeared to multiple people at different times. How could they all have imagined this?
- Also the Jews would have imagined Jesus had gone to heaven not that he had come back to life.
- It also doesn’t explain the empty tomb
The best explanation is that God raised Jesus from the dead.
We can use this argument in two ways
Firstly, we can use it as evidence for the existence of God when we talk to people who don’t believe in God
Secondly, we can use it to encourage other Christians in their faith.
- Getting Started. Players must sit in a circle or stand in a straight line. They need to be close enough that whispering is possible, but not so close that players can hear each other whisper.
- Begin the Game. The first person in the line or circle whispers a word or phrase into the ear of the person sitting or standing to their right.
- The Game Continues. Players whisper the phrase to their neighbors until it reaches the last player in line.
The Conclusion. The last player says the word or phrase out loud so everyone can hear how much it has changed from the first whisper at the beginning of the circle or line.
In this game we couldn’t keep the same story going throughout the chain.
Yet early Christians witnessed Jesus rising from the dead and told the same story even though this was not what they were expecting. This is one of the three historical facts support the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus.