As people began to turn against Jesus, He journeyed toward Jerusalem where He knew He would be arrested and crucified. Jesus continued to tell people that they needed to repent, and He prepared His true followers for His death. In Unit 25, kids will study the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
Session 4 presents the story “Jesus Was Arrested” from Matthew 26:36–27:2. The Pharisees and other Jews in Jerusalem did not like Jesus. He didn’t play by their rules (Matt. 12:1-14), He claimed to be God (John 8:58-59; 10:22-33), and He extended salvation beyond the Jewish people (Luke 4:29). So they plotted several times how they might kill Him.
The events leading up to His death did not surprise Jesus. Each step was part of God’s established plan. (See Is. 53:10; Acts 2:23.) But knowing God’s plan didn’t lessen Jesus’ suffering as He was betrayed by His friends, arrested, falsely accused, and beaten. As you teach kids about the arrest of Jesus, help them understand the gravity of the events.
First, Jesus wanted to do God’s plan. Jesus came to earth to rescue people from sin. He was committed to doing the Father’s will. (Matt. 26:39,42) When Judas showed up with a crowd, Jesus didn’t run. He didn’t even allow Peter to stand in His defense. (Matt. 26:52) Jesus willingly gave Himself up for us because He loves us. (Eph. 5:2)
Second, Jesus was betrayed and arrested even though He did nothing wrong. The Jews tried to find a legitimate reason to kill Jesus, but they couldn’t find one. (Matt. 26:59-60) Jesus did what we failed to do; He perfectly obeyed the law. His arrest was not just. The trial was not fair. But this had to happen. Only a sinless, perfect sacrifice could take away sin. (Heb. 9:11-14)
Finally, Jesus is who He says He is. After Jesus’ arrest, the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God. Jesus affirmed that He is. (Matt. 26:64) The high priest accused Him of blasphemy (speaking against God), but Jesus always told the truth.
Jesus felt the pain of betrayal and the agony of His imminent suffering and death. He came to do His Father’s plan no matter what in order to bring salvation to the world.
Why didn’t Jesus stop the people from arresting Him? What does that tell you about God’s love? Leave a comment below.
Here is more help for leaders preparing for the September 24, 2017 session (Unit 25, Session 4) of The Gospel Project for Kids.
Alyssa Jones has been a content editor for The Gospel Project for Kids since 2011. She lives with her husband, Nate, and their two kids in Nashville, TN. Alyssa volunteers with the kids’ ministry at Refuge Church, a church plant in Franklin, TN.