Use Visuals to Share Faith with Your Children through the Scriptural Way of the Cross, a Family Lent + Easter Activity
Children develop their ability to comprehend and understand ideas through images or pictures as they learn and grow. Beginning with bold color and shapes in baby books, then moving through picture books, kids eventually abandon illustration for simple words on a page when they are ready. But for much of their childhood, visuals help children learn concepts and ideas.
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Throughout Church history, people used symbols or pictures to explain stories and truths. Traditionally, churches have focused on what is called the “Stations of the Cross” at some point throughout the season of Lent. These “stations” are artistic representations of the Story and are often visible inside churches as paintings, sculptures or stained glass. In an effort to make them more directly linked to biblical text, Pope John Paul II adjusted the stations to The Scriptural Way of the Cross in 1991. Much like you may follow the days of Advent as you count down to Christmas, your family can follow the 14-station Scriptural Way of the Cross, as you prepare your hearts for Easter.
Use this Lent + Easter activity along with our family Lent devotional. Find out how to get it here.
NOTE TO PARENTS: Some of the Easter story includes graphic details. Keep this in minding when completing the Scriptural Way of the Cross activity with young children. Consider using a children’s storybook bible when possible. (affiliate link)
Use plain, white, printer paper to draw each picture then bind them together or find a blank storybook to draw each station. You can create your own Easter book!
The Scriptural Way of the Cross for Kids
SHARE IT: Have you ever seen a stained glass picture in a church? Churches often used beautiful art to share a story, especially when language kept them from simply telling it. We are going to walk through the Easter story together over the next few weeks, reading verses from the Bible and then creating pictures to go along with them.
1. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane – Matthew 26:36-46
SHARE IT: Jesus went away in the garden to pray. He knew that dying was a part of God’s plan and he even knew that he would be resurrected. But still, he asked God if there was another way. He was sad and he was probably scared but he trusted God above all.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of a garden. Think about Jesus praying in the garden because he was scared. Even though Jesus is God’s son and he trusted God, he still felt afraid at times. Now pray and ask God to help you when you are afraid.
2. Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested – Matthew 26:47-56
SHARE IT: It was one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas who turned him in to be arrested. You can imagine Jesus’ disappointment that a friend would turn on him this way. Again, Jesus knew this was all part of God’s plan and he trusted the Father.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of your best friend. Think about how you would feel if your friend got you in big trouble. Now pray and ask God to help you be a good friend.
3. Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin – Matthew 26:57-64
SHARE IT: Jesus was taken before the leaders of the city to be put on trial. They did not like that he claimed to be the Son of God. They were afraid he would try to take over their position as leaders.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of a leader in your life or write them a note. Now pray and thank God for good leaders you can trust such as parents, pastors and teachers.
4. Jesus is denied by Peter – Matthew 26:69-75
SHARE IT: One of Jesus’ disciples Peter, is asked if he knew Jesus. Peter denied Jesus several times. He was afraid to let others know he followed Jesus. Peter realized that he was abandoning his friend and it made him very sad.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Jesus. Pray and thank Jesus for being your friend.
5. Jesus is judged by Pilate – Matthew 27:11-26
SHARE IT: Jesus came to stand before Pilate, the governor of the city. Pilate did not believe Jesus had committed any crime but because the people pressured him he sentenced Jesus to be crucified.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Jesus standing before Pilate, the governor. He was on trial, with a judge in a courtroom. Pray and thank Jesus that even when people don’t believe us we can be confident when we stand on his truth.
6. Jesus is beaten and crowned with thorns – Matthew 27:27-31
SHARE IT: The soldiers took Jesus to be crucified. They stripped him of his clothes, spit on him, beat him and put a crown of thorns on his head.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of a crown of thorns. Pray and thank Jesus for going through so much pain because he loves YOU.
7. Jesus takes up His cross – Matthew 27:31/John 19:16-17
SHARE IT: Even though he was already hurt badly, Jesus was forced to carry his own heavy cross up the hill to where he would be crucified.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Jesus carrying his cross. The cross sometimes represents the heavy burdens or problems we carry. Just like he carried his cross years ago, Jesus still carries our burdens for us. Pray and thank Jesus for carrying your fears, problems and sadness so you don’t have to.
8. Jesus is helped by Simon to carry His cross – Matthew 27:32
SHARE IT: Along the road, a man named Simon was forced to carry Jesus’ cross the rest of the way. Simon must have felt very sad yet very honored to help Jesus.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Simon. Think about how he must have felt to help Jesus in this way. Now pray and ask Jesus how you can help him by loving and serving others.
9. Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem – Luke 23:27
SHARE IT: Lots of people followed Jesus as he went to be crucified including a group of women who cried for him.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of the crowd who followed Jesus. Many of them were crying. Now pray and thank Jesus that he turns our sadness into joy because of his great love.
10. Jesus is crucified – Luke 23:32-38
SHARE IT: Once they reached the top of the hill, Jesus was hung on the cross between two robbers who were also being crucified. The soldiers sat and kept watch over him.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Jesus on the cross. (Keep this picture because we will add to it.) Pray and thank Jesus for dying on the cross for you.
11. Jesus promises His kingdom to the repentant thief – Luke 23:39-43
SHARE IT: One of the robbers who was being crucified beside Jesus asked to be remembered and forgiven. Jesus promised this man he would be with him in heaven.
SEE IT: Take the picture you made yesterday of Jesus on the cross and add the two robbers who were on either side of him. Pray and thank Jesus that he offers us the same promise to join him one day in heaven.
12. Jesus entrusts Mary and John to each other – John 19:25-27
SHARE IT: While Jesus was on the cross, his mother Mary and his beloved disciple John stood nearby. Jesus asks these two loved ones to take care of each other.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of Mary and John hugging. Jesus asked them to take care of each other, just like he asks us to love one another every day. Pray and thank Jesus for your loved ones.
13. Jesus dies on the cross – Luke 23:44-47
SHARE IT: Darkness came over the area as the sun went down and Jesus said to his Father in heaven, “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Jesus breathed his last breath and then died in that moment.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of what you think the sky looked like when Jesus died. It was filled with darkness because Jesus’ death was sad. Pray and thank Jesus that we don’t have to live in sadness or darkness because of what he did for us.
14. Jesus is laid in the tomb – Luke 23:50-56
SHARE IT: After his death, a man named Joseph asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. Joseph took Jesus, wrapped him in cloth and laid him in a tomb.
SEE IT: Draw a picture of the tomb where Jesus was buried. Pray and thank him that we have hope even when life is hard because the story doesn’t end here.
Have you downloaded our FREE family Lent devotional? Click here to find out more!
Praying your family connects to each other and to Jesus as you gather together this Easter season.