During this Easter season, we remember that Jesus participated in the Last Supper on the night He was betrayed by Judas. The Last Supper was an important event leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. It was the meal that commemorated the Passover and initiated the practice of communion. Communion is a Christian practice that is SO meaningful, but also kind of obscure (it can be hard to understand!), and the Passover is a part of the Old Testament that is often, well, passed over.
This Easter season might be a good time to teach your kiddos about the significance of these three important parts of God’s story!
This might seem like a daunting task! We want to help make it easier and more fun. Below you will find summaries of the Passover, the Last Supper, and communion; as well as some activities to make these things more real and comprehensible to your kids.
The Passover | Exodus 12
The Egyptians made the Israelites (God’s chosen people) their slaves. God sent Moses to help lead the people out of Egypt into freedom. God used Moses to bring 10 plagues (super bad things, like people getting sick and swarms of bugs). The last one was the worst—some people were going to die. God told Moses to tell the Israelites that if they put some blood from a perfect lamb on their door, then they would be safe and no one in their family would die. They were supposed to eat the roasted lamb that night, with their shoes and coats on, ready to go when it was time. God did as He said He would, and the Israelites were freed. God told them to remember that day forever, to remember how God cared for the Israelites and saved them. The way they did this was to have a Passover meal each year.
One way to make this story really come alive would be to make a “Passover taste testing plate.” Include:
- Unleavened Bread (Tortillas or Pita Bread) or Matzah – This reminds us that on the night of Passover the Israelites ate bread without yeast because they didn’t have time to wait for it to rise. They had to be ready to go as soon as it was time to leave Egypt. We also should be ready to follow whenever God calls us to do something. Yeast is also used as a symbol of sin (it puffs up a person with self-love), so the bread without yeast symbolizes freedom from sin.
- Hard-Boiled Egg – The egg represents the animal sacrifices people made in the temple to demonstrate that the cost of sin is death; this was before Jesus came to be the first and last sacrifice for all. It also represents new life, as some creatures are born from eggs.
- Lamb – This represents the original Passover lambs.
- Parsley, Celery, and Lettuce – These greens represent the leafy plant “hyssop” which was used by Israelites to spread the lambs’ blood on their door during the first Passover.
- Salt Water – Dip the greens in the salt water to represent the hyssop dipped in blood. Salt water also reminds of us of the tears shed by those in slavery.
- Horseradish or Romaine Lettuce – These bitter ingredients are a symbol of the bitterness of slavery—that of the Israelites, and of all people to sin.
- Charoset (Apples, Nuts, Cinnamon, Raisins, and Honey) – It looks like mud! This symbolizes the mud used by the enslaved Israelites to make buildings for the Egyptians. Its sweet taste also reminds us of the sweet hope in God’s promises (to free the Israelites and to send a Rescuer for all people).
- Grape Juice – Back then, people drank wine with their meals (which is another drink that comes from grapes).
(View this article for more information about the Passover!)
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, just like all Jews did. But this time, He taught them something new. He took the unleavened bread and broke it and said that it was like His body breaking for people. He held his cup of wine and said that it was like His blood, which would be poured out for people. He was telling them about the new covenant, the new way of life. Jesus was going to die and come back to life, so that people could have new life in Him. During the meal, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, showing that He was the Servant of all, the One who had come to cleanse all of them.
Below are some images of what the Last Supper might have looked like. Kids can color these and/or write about what they see happening in the picture.
Communion | John 6:46-59
Jesus taught that people should “eat his flesh and drink his blood.” That sounds gross! What He meant was that we should remember His sacrifice, His death on the cross for us. We should remember it and live in the new life He has given us. Food and drinks are things we need to stay alive—similarly, we need Christ and His sacrifice (symbolized by His body and blood) to have the new life, the best life! We take communion now to remember that Jesus gave His life for us, and that we need Him to sustain us; to be with us; and to help us be right with God, follow Him, and live in friendship with Him forever.
Invite kids to write out a prayer that could be said while taking communion:
- thanking Jesus for His love for us, shown by His suffering and death on the cross, the price He paid to free us from sin so we could be with God.
- asking for forgiveness for the things we have done to hurt God’s heart, the times we have run away from God and followed our own plan.
- asking that Jesus would live in us and change our hearts so we can follow God and experience the happiest life–the one only He can give us!
Check out this video that explains communion!