If Jesus Conquered Death, Why Do People Still Die?

Although preteens are starting to think more abstractly, the concept of death is still pretty concrete to them. When they hear that Jesus died for us, they may wonder what that really means. Why do we still die if Jesus died for us? This lesson excerpt from BE BOLD preteen curriculum helps them begin to think about death differently, viewing it as separation from God rather than the end of our time on earth.

Bible Background for Leaders

Bible Truth: Jesus loves you. (John 3:16)

“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.’ ” (John 11:25)

New bodies in heaven.

What happens when we die.

Death is swallowed up in victory.

Pray for Your Preteens

Pray for any kids who are grieving the loss of a loved one.

Begin Boldly

You’ll need:

Arrival Activity

Greet preteens warmly as they arrive. Have healthy snack stuff on a table.

Set out pages 31-34 of the Bold Action Student Books, bowls of water, and sidewalk chalk. Kids can dip the chalk in the water and use wet chalk to draw awesome pictures on the blank pages.

As you’re ready to move on, move the snacks and drawing supplies out of sight.

Welcome Kids

Read aloud these BE BOLD Values:

  • You’re accepted just as you are.
  • We respect each other’s thoughts and struggles.
  • We’re all in this together.
  • God is here, ready to be your friend because you matter!

Say: I’m so glad we’re all welcome here! Since we’re ready to respect and accept each other, let’s dive into today’s topic.

Questions on Jesus’ Death

Say: It’s that time of year…Easter is just around the corner! So you might be hearing things like “Jesus died for you.”

Maybe you’ve heard that your whole life, or maybe that’s new. Either way, when you stop and think about it, you might have some questions about Jesus’ death.

One of my questions is…

Briefly write a question about Jesus’ death on the whiteboard.

Say: Now it’s your turn. What are your questions about Jesus’ death? Tell me and I’ll write them, or feel free to come up and write your question yourself.

Gather kids’ questions on the board. Be sure to have enough markers so preteens can write their own questions.

Say: Thanks for sharing your questions. I’m glad we’re all in this together! We have a lot of questions about Jesus’ death. Today let’s talk about this one: If Jesus conquered death, why do people still die?

Question of the Week

You’ll need:

Say: We probably all know someone who died even though Jesus conquered death.

Distribute pages 35-37 from the Bold Action Student Books to each preteen. In the appropriate box, have kids write the name of or draw someone they know who died. Then have them describe that person in the appropriate space.

Finally, have kids cut out and fold their papers.

Ask:

  • Tell about the person you drew. Share your own story first. Kids can show the pictures they drew as they share.

Say: Some of those people might’ve believed in Jesus, but they still died. We talk about the fact that Jesus died for us and beat death by coming back to life, yet everyone still dies. What’s up with that?

First, we need to learn what death really means.

Ask:

  • What would you say death means?

Say: When most people think of dying, they think of the end of life on earth. But when the Bible talks about death, that’s not always what it means. Death also means being separated from God. But Jesus loves us, and he didn’t want us to be separated from him. So he came up with a plan to die for us.

Prepare Eggs

Give each child an egg and a piece of candy. Set out crepe paper and double-sided tape to share.

Have preteens each put a piece of candy in an egg, wrap double-sided tape around the seal of the egg, and then wrap crepe paper around the egg so it sticks to the tape.

Ask:

  • What’s the most important part of this egg, in your opinion?

Say: Most of us don’t really care that much about plastic Easter eggs. We care about the candy inside! So, trade eggs with a friend. Then crack the egg to get the candy out.

Earthly Death

Allow time for kids to open their eggs and get out the candy.

Ask:

  • What happened to the seal on your egg when you got the candy?
  • How does that remind you of what happens to our bodies when we die?

Say: Our earthly bodies will die, and they won’t come back to life. But listen to this, and eat your candy as we read these verses.

Have a willing preteen read verse 1 (1 Corinthians 15:42-44) from the Bold Action Student Book pages.

Say: When the seal on the egg was broken, it’s like the Easter egg died. But there was something great inside—the candy. The real you is inside your body, just like the real treasure was the candy, not the egg.

Ask:

  • What’s special about the real you, the way you are on the inside? Share first to help set the tone.

Heavenly Bodies

Say: When we die, our bodies “break,” but our inner selves move from our current bodies to heavenly bodies!

Ask:

  • What do you think a heavenly body is like?

Say: Let’s read on to find out more about our heavenly bodies.

Have a willing preteen read verse 2 (1 Corinthians 15:50-53) from the Bold Action Student Book pages.

Say: We don’t know exactly what our heavenly bodies will be like. But we know they’ll last forever, and they’re much better than the bodies we have now! Let’s think again about the people we know who’ve died. We usually get sad when someone dies because we won’t see that person anymore on earth. But listen to what’s happened to people who believe that Jesus loves us.

Have a willing preteen read verse 3 (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14) from the Bold Action Student Book pages.

Ask:

  • How does this verse give you hope?

Have a willing preteen read verse 4 (John 11:25) from the Bold Action Student Book pages.

Ask:

  • What does it mean to live even though you die?

Have kids show what they learned by flipping their folded paper over to show the glorious-looking body on top.

Say: People who love Jesus don’t truly die. The inside of your paper is still there; it’s just in a new body! Because Jesus loves us and died for us, we can live forever in heaven with him.

Celebrate

Say: The Bible talks more about Jesus’ victory over death. These verses celebrate that we don’t really die. Let’s read those verses as a praise to God. When I point to all of you, repeat the line I just said. The words are in your student books under verse 5.

“ ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Point to kids. O death, where is your victory? Point to kids. O death, where is your sting?’ Point to kids. For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jesus loves us and conquered death. That means death has no victory over us! We’ll never die; instead, we’ll just transfer from one broken body to a much better, permanent one when God says it’s time. We’ll live forever!

Bold Blessing

Pray

Say: We discovered today that Jesus loves us and beat death so we can live forever. Let’s repeat some verses we read as a cheer!

Have preteens repeat each line after you.

Pray: Thank you, Jesus,

That death is swallowed up in victory.

O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?

Thank you, God,

For giving us victory over sin and death

through our Lord Jesus Christ, amen.

These activities come from Group’s BE BOLD Sunday school curriculum for preteens. For the complete lesson and more great activities that tackle tough topics, click here!

Looking for more preteen Bible lessons? Check out these posts!

© Group Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use or duplication permitted.


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