Grades 3-6 for Sunday School:
The Life of Jesus Christ: Lesson 6
Jesus’ Parting Words
Author’s Notes: Jesus’ life on earth did not end with His death and resurrection. He wanted to be sure that there was no doubt in the minds of His disciples that He had conquered Satan, death, and sin by rising, bodily, from the grave. For our final lesson on the Life of Jesus Christ we’re going to look at three different appearances of Christ, following His resurrection, including His ascension into Heaven. And we’ll talk about His parting words to His disciples, and to us.
Coloring Page for Young Visitors
Imagine that your mom or dad has gotten a job in another town. And today is the last time you will see your friends for a very long time. What do you think you might talk about with them? What might be the last thing you would say before leaving?
Would you talk about all the things you have done together over the years? Is there anything you’d ask them to do for you once you leave? Would you give them anything to remember you by?
Our lesson today will be looking at Jesus’ final days on earth, after His death on the cross, and His resurrection. Jesus appeared to many people so that they would know beyond any shadow of a doubt that He really had risen from the dead. There were things He wanted them to remember about Him. There were promises He wanted to make to them. And there were instructions for things to do while He was away. Let’s take a look, now, at Jesus’ final moments on earth. And find out what He wants us to remember and do until He returns the same way He left.
Memory verse: (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves. And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” Matthew 28:19-20a
Opening prayer: Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today. And thank You for the wonderful news that Jesus is alive and planning to return for us, someday! Give us ears to hear Jesus’ parting words to us, recorded in Your Word. Amen.
This Week’s Lesson: Jesus’ Parting Words (Luke 24, Matthew 28, Acts 1)
(on the road to Emmaus)
Jesus’ disciples had just been through the most difficult days of their lives. After following Him for years, their hopes had been dashed as they watched the Roman soldiers nail Him to a cross and leave Him there until He was dead. Some friends had come to take His body down from the cross, and bury Him in a nearby tomb. But several days later, the tomb was opened and Jesus’ body was gone. Some of the women who had been Jesus’ friends claimed to have seen an angel at the tomb. And one of the women even said she had seen Jesus, Himself.
But the soldiers who had been guarding the tomb were spreading a different story. They claimed that some of Jesus’ disciples had come during the night, and stolen Jesus’ body while they were sleeping. Many were unsure what to believe or do, now that Jesus was gone.
Two of Jesus’ disciples were headed toward the town of Emmaus just days after His crucifixion. As they walked along, they talked about all the things that had happened in Jerusalem. And then, they were joined by a stranger.
13And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
14And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
16But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
These two disciples were so caught up in their worries and disappointment, that the risen Christ, Himself, was walking along with them and they didn’t even recognize Him. And when He asked what they were talking about, they proceeded to fill Him in on the very things that He had just experienced for Himself.
17And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
18And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
19And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
22Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
23And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
24And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
Jesus, knowing He would soon be returning to Heaven, used this opportunity to teach these disciples things He wished they had already known.
25Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
26Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus wanted His disciples to realize that all they had known from the Old Testament was intended to lead them right to Christ. And that included the passages that prophesied about a Messiah who would have to suffer and die. But the Jews of that day were not looking for a suffering Savior. They were looking for a conquering Messiah. So Jesus had not fit the picture they had created.
As Jesus’ review of Old Testament scripture drew to a close, the disciples reached their destination. Not wanting to let the stranger they’d met go on alone at such a late hour, they invited Him to join them for the night. But as they sat down to eat with Him, they suddenly realized Who the stranger was that they had shared the afternoon with.
28And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
29But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
32And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Jesus wanted to be sure that His disciples knew exactly Who it was that they had placed their trust in. He wanted them to see that He was exactly the Messiah that had been promised to the Jews. And He wanted them to understand that everything that had happened to Him was all part of God’s plan from the beginning. Once these two disciples finally understood Who stood before them, Jesus moved on to minister to other disciples who needed to see and hear Him for themselves.
If you had been those two disciples, what do you think you would have done then? Probably exactly what these two did. Even though the hour was late, it didn’t stop them from going back to Jerusalem, right away, and sharing their exciting news with the other disciples.
(in the upper room)
33And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
35And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
What do you suppose this group thought of what these two disciples had just experienced? Do you think they believed them? Many of these disciples had not yet seen the risen Christ for themselves. They were having to take the word of others that He really was alive, when they had seen Him die with their own eyes.
How do you think you would have felt? Would you wonder why, if He really was alive, Jesus had not shown Himself to all of His disciples? These two on the road to Emmaus were not even those of His closest followers. Perhaps they wondered why He had chosen to show Himself to some, but not others. But Jesus had His reasons for revealing Himself to whom He did, when He did. And He was about to do so again.
36And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
What did some of those in this upper room believe they were seeing? If they thought they were seeing Jesus’ ghost, then they did not really believe that He had risen from the dead. They thought they were seeing the ghost of a dead man.
38And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
Jesus knew their hearts, and understood what they were thinking. So in order to assure His disciples that He truly had risen bodily from the dead, He showed them what they felt like they needed to see…the physical proof.
40And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43And he took it, and did eat before them.
What did Jesus show His disciples, to prove to them who He was? He showed them the scars from His crucifixion. And what did He do to prove to them that He was there with them in body and soul? He ate some food with them, so they would see that He truly was still a man, and not just a ghost.
Once their fears were taken care of, and they began to understand that this truly was a physically risen Jesus standing before them, Jesus then used this gathering to explain the same things to them that He had to the two on the way to Emmaus.
44And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
45Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
46And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48And ye are witnesses of these things.
Jesus let His disciples know that they had just been witnesses to the greatest event in human history. Old Testament prophecy had been fulfilled, right before their eyes, in Jesus’ suffering, death, burial, and resurrection. It was of utmost importance to Jesus that His disciples understand all of this, because He was about to give them instructions that would change the world.
But before Jesus let His disciples know what He wanted them to do, He had a special promise for them.
49And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
This promise would not be fulfilled until a little while later. On a day we now refer to as Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the believers gathered in Jerusalem. This was also a fulfillment of Jesus promise in John 14:16 where He said, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” Jesus wanted His disciples to know that when it was time for Him to leave this earth, they wouldn’t be left alone. He promised them that the Holy Spirit would come in His place to be with those who placed their trust in Him.
With that promise in mind, the disciples were then given some special instructions for how to carry on Jesus’ ministry once He was gone. These instructions were not only for the disciples, they are for us as well. And we can find them in our memory verse for this week.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20
Some have called this The Great Commission. It is Jesus’ mission for everyone who is saved. We are to carry the message of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to the whole world. And teach them all that is written about Him in God’s Word.
These were the last instructions given by Jesus. So we can be sure that it was the one thing He wanted His disciples (and us) to remember most. God doesn’t just want us to keep the good news to ourselves. He wants us to bring the message to others, so they can be saved, too!
Did you know that Jesus left this instruction for us, too? If you are saved, have you ever shared the good news of what Jesus did for you with someone else? If not, why not?
If you’re worried that you won’t know what to say, prepare ahead of time. God’s Word tells us that we should “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15) Can anyone tell us what verses they might use to share the gospel with someone? Here is one simple way to remember:
(If you have time, take a few moments to review this witnessing method with your students, so they can become familiar and comfortable with what they might say.)
Now that Jesus had left His disciples with the promise of the coming Holy Spirit, and with the instructions that they should go and share His gospel with the world, He knew it was time to leave this earth, at least for a while. The book of Acts records Jesus’ final words and His miraculous departure, as well as one more promise.
8But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
9And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.
10And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
How do you think the disciples were feeling as they watched Jesus being taken away from them? They had been through losing Jesus only weeks before, when they watched Him die on the cross. And now He was leaving again. But this time, He was not leaving them alone. The Holy Spirit was coming in His place.
And He also left with an additional promise. What did the angels tell the disciples about Jesus? They promised that He would return in the same way they had just watched Him go. Were they told when that would be? No Jesus expected them to live each day as if it could be the day of His return.
And that is how we should still be living today. Jesus could return any day, at any time. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
So the first question I’ll leave you with is this: are you ready if this should be the day that Jesus fulfills His promise and returns for us?
And if you do know Jesus Christ as your Savior, the second question is this: are you obeying His instructions to go out and share His message of salvation with the world? Those were His parting words of instruction for us. We need to be doing all we can to fulfill that mission from Christ.
Closing Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for including Jesus’ final days and words in the Bible. Thank You for the promises He gave us, that You would send the Holy Spirit to be with us, and that Jesus will return when You are ready. Help us to be faithful servants, ready to share the good news of salvation with all who will listen. And help us to live each day knowing that it could be the day Jesus returns. And Lord, if anyone here today has not yet asked you to be their Savior, may today be the day their eyes and hearts open to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Fill in the Blanks
True or False
1. The two men on the road to Emmaus recognized Jesus right away. (false – they did not recognize Him)
2. When Jesus appeared to the disciples in the upper room, they were excited to see Him. (false – they were afraid and thought He was a ghost)
3. Jesus ate some food with them to prove he was not a ghost. (true)
4. Jesus promised that His Father would send the Holy Spirit after He left. (true)
5. Jesus told His disciples, and us, to spread His message throughout the world. (true)
What If It Is Today?
Am I ready if the Lord’s return should be today?
Am I living as He asked, showing others the Way?
Jesus could return at any day and any time.
If that day should be this day, what would my Savior find?
Lisa DeVinney, November 2016