Join me over at The MOM Initiative today, where I’m writing about Communication: the power of a text.
Women inspire me in the way they use their resources to speak life to others. Mary Kate Warner is one of those kind of women. She established the website Christianity Cove to share free Sunday School lessons, Bible games, crafts, skits and activities for Children’s Church. Her goal is “to make Jesus real to children.” Mary Kate helps others have budget friendly, creative ideas for teaching God’s word to children in meaningful ways. I’m a lover of object lessons (AND popcorn!) I’ve asked her to share an Easter object lesson for teaching children about new life. Her resources will inspire you in ways to speak life into the kids in your life! Take her ideas to your classroom, ministry, missions team, neighborhood, or kitchen table!
Unless a Seed Dies – An Easter Object Lesson
This lesson using popcorn will help kids understand some of the miracles associated with Easter, such what happened to Christ after He died, and what will happen to us after we die.
- Microwavable popcorn
- Microwave (If it’s impossible to have a microwave in the room, pop the popcorn before the lesson and use a “pretend” microwave made out of a box).
- Microwavable popcorn
- A few kernels of popcorn or other seeds to demonstrate with
- Paper towels, one for each child
Before Easter, some people believed that when life was over, it was over, and your body went into the ground and ceased to exist.
Other people, such as the Jewish folks in the Old Testament, though that when people died they went to a place called “Sheol,” which is dark and dreary and not very happy. It’s no wonder people dreaded death and were very afraid of it!
Easter brings us the best news in the universe: We don’t ever have to face death after we know Jesus. When we die on earth, we go to heaven immediately to live with Jesus. In John 11:25, Jesus assured his good friend Martha: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live , even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
One of the very last things Jesus said to the people of Jerusalem before His death was this: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.”
What on earth could he have meant by that? Let’s look at a seed.
Bring out the single popcorn seed.
This seed is pretty strong, isn’t it? Try to squash it down with the palm of your hand. Ouch! It is so strong that I can’t break it with my fingers. If I tried to bite through it, what might happen? Pretend to break your teeth.
And it is kind of cute. Look. It has maybe three colors in it—brown near the bottom and white at the top and a kind of yellowish color. God sure makes things interesting, doesn’t He? Unless a kernel of what falls to the ground and dies… Jesus is saying this seed is no good the way it is. It can’t do anything. It doesn’t have arms to reach out and help. It doesn’t make any noise. It simply is.
There are a lot of people in this world who are like this seed, aren’t they? They can’t help others—they don’t want to help others. They don’t speak to us in ways that are helpful to mankind. They might gossip. But it doesn’t really help anyone. Some people are just kind of…hard…and not very useful. Right?
What happens to a seed when it dies? Let’s find out. Let’s use a whole bunch of seeds.
Stick the bag of microwave popcorn into the microwave. Turn it on for two minutes.
There’s no way anything could live through the powerful zap of a microwave. The seed dies in the microwave. But then what happens? It pops. What becomes of that hard, little seed when it pops? It becomes popcorn.
Is popcorn useless? No. What can we do with popcorn? We can eat it. Does it taste good? How many bags of popcorn do you think one movie theater sells in a year? Here’s a hint: The average movie theater sells almost a hundred bags a night. Answer: around 3,000 bags a year.
What happens to people when they eat popcorn? Is it like spinach? Are they all saying, “Ew, this tastes terrible?” No, they enjoy it. It tastes great. It’s light. And fluffy. And tasty. Unlike popcorn seeds, popped popcorn can do something.
Hopefully by this time you will hear popping noises. Enjoy the sound of it with the students.
What do you notice already? It’s popping. It smells great.
What does the smell make you want to do? Eat it!
Jesus told the people about seeds falling to the ground and dying for two important reasons. First of all, He was about to die on the cross in just a few days. He wanted people to remember He had said that. He wanted people to know that even though He was dead, He was coming back to life…as something infinitely more powerful.
Take the popcorn out of the microwave. Put it in a bowl. Pass it around so that children can grab a handful on their paper towel. While they’re eating…
Jesus died on Good Friday as a sacrifice for all our wrongdoings, so that when we die, we can go to heaven with Him. Forget about being dead forever. Forget about some shadowy place, some Sheol. That was then, this is now.
Jesus did not stay dead. Just like the seed of popcorn that died in the microwave, He popped back up on Easter Sunday. Only this time, He went up to sit with God in heaven. He sent another version of himself, which is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is with all of us every day. We don’t have to be seated in front of Jesus anymore, just listening to His teaching or watching a miracle.
Because Jesus “popped back up,” He is with us every day as the Holy Spirit. He can tell us where to go and how to get there. He can remind us of His love. He never leaves us.
When they are almost finished eating, continue:
Jesus knows that we were all born seeds. The rest of John 12:24 goes like this: “But if [the seed] dies, it produces many seeds.”
If we agree to take His hand, listen to Him and do the things He tells us, we can be more like tall bushes. If we hold tight to His hand, some of us will get to be like forests!
At some point, we have to say, “I’m tired of being like a small, hard seed! I want to be something bigger, more useful, more powerful, more able to nourish other people’s spirits. How many of you are ready to become something bigger?”
For younger, more literate children, you may have to answer some questions and assure them they don’t have to get near the microwave!
Mary Kate Warner
Mary-Kate is a regular blogger at Christianity Cove. You can often find her writing about Christian Parenting, Homeschool Teaching, Bible Study and Sunday School Activities, Faith and inspiring children to love God. Follow her at @SundaySchoolGal Facebook & Pinterest