It’s Jesus! Sunday School Lesson: Disciples on the Road to Emmaus
The “Sunday School answer” is stereotypically Jesus, but the truth is that the identity of Jesus really is essential to our faith. This lesson reviews the events of the disciples on the Road to Emmaus, and their encounter with the risen Christ. Jesus opened their eyes to understand that everything in Scripture and history led up to Him. Help children see how the Messiah is the “big picture answer” to our questions. The disciples on the road realized who He was, and we can, too!
What’s the big idea? Sometimes we have a tendency to get caught up in smaller details and miss out on a broad scope of things. It’s important to notice how central the Resurrection is to our faith. Jesus lived, died, and rose for us! All Old Testament prophecies and events lead up to Him, and all New Testament events spread His story. Jesus is always with us and will help us to understand when we lose our way.
Passage: Luke 24:13-35
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; paper plates; popsicle sticks; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; decorative supplies; varied pictures; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This passage features an interesting story of an unexpected encounter with Jesus. It is a great reminder that Jesus is always with us, even when we don’t realize it, and that He is the answer to our “big picture” questions. Open with some games or discussions to spark thought and introduce themes. Here are some ideas:
- What’s the picture? Split students into groups and provide each group with a jigsaw puzzle (of age-appropriate difficulty). Have them race to put the puzzles together.
- *Variations (for older students): Do not provide the picture showing what the puzzle will be in the end! Or provide a picture, but blindfold the person who is assembling the puzzle, and have the others describe where to place things.
- What am I looking at? Provide students with several pictures of things, viewed in a close-up format. Invite them to guess what the picture is, just from the zoomed-in view.
- “Disguised”: Show images of famous stars or well-known individuals (maybe even people in the congregation), but at various stages in life. Invite students to guess who they are in “less recognizable” form.
- On the road relay: This story involves a lot of back and forth running. Have a relay race across a playing field or large room. Have students tag one another saying “The Lord has risen indeed!
Today’s story is a powerful reminder that Jesus Christ is at the center of all we say, do, and believe. He is with us always and often shows up in unexpected ways!
This passage is another one that can easily be acted out in parts. You could also read directly from the Bible, and have students take turns. Pause between verse sections to review what the story is about.
That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. -Luke 24:13-16
Explain that here, “that very day” refers to the same day that Jesus rose from the dead. He had already left the tomb, appeared to Mary, and after this would go to visit the disciples in Jerusalem. It was a busy day for Jesus! But at this time, two disciples were headed from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking about what had happened to Jesus. One of these disciples is named as Cleopas. We aren’t sure who the other was, but it might have been his wife, Mary. When Jesus came to join them, they didn’t realize who it was at first. Perhaps His resurrected body looked different than His earthly one, or maybe He just somehow managed to make it so they didn’t fully perceive who was with them. It would seem that Jesus likes surprises! At any rate, He casually started conversing with them along the road.
Ask: Have you ever not recognized who someone was at first?
How would you feel if a celebrity started talking with you?
And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. 18 Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” 19 And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. -Luke 24:17-20
It’s interesting here to see Jesus “play dumb” about the situation. We can almost imagine Him smiling mischievously to Himself as Cleopas and companion tell Him about Himself. Clearly, the disciples are still upset about what had happened, and naturally so. It also seems as though news about the crucifixion had already spread, since they wondered why He didn’t know about it.
Ask: Have you ever kept a fun secret from someone and surprised them later? Why do you think Jesus did this, rather than showing right away who He was?
But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. 22 Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, 23 and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” 25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. -Luke 24:21-27
This part of the conversation is particularly interesting. The disciples are revealing that they knew Jesus was supposed to be the redeemer, and also had heard from the women of His resurrection. Evidently, though, they weren’t too sure of what they had heard. They were still trying to make sense of it all. Then Jesus explained to them the whole story, describing how all of the Old Testament prophets and Scriptures were ultimately pointing to Him. He laid it all out clearly in a way that they could understand, although they evidently still didn’t realize who it was they were walking and talking with.
Ask: What does it take to convince you of something? How do you know what to believe?
Have you ever come to a point in a story where things suddenly make sense? How does that feel?
28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” -Luke 24:28-32
The disciples convinced Jesus to stay with them for a little while, although He acted like He was going on. They were eager to know more from this “stranger.” Yet when He blessed the food and gave it to them, they suddenly realized who they had been with. It was Jesus all along! But then He disappeared. It all made sense to the disciples. Their eyes were opened and they understood with powerful clarity that they were with the Lord. Sometimes we don’t grasp what’s right in front of us! And when they did realize, they were overjoyed.
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. -Luke 24:33-35
The disciples were so excited that they turned right around and made the seven-mile trip back to Jerusalem. They told the other disciples that they had seen Jesus, and how He had made Himself known to them. Jesus is the answer and the center of all our “big picture” questions!
Ask: If you had big exciting news, who would you want to tell first?
Close with prayer, thanking God for always being with us and helping us understand His word.
Title: The Road to Emmaus: Jesus Appears to Disciples, Breaking Bread, and the Resurrection
The story of The Road to Emmaus is one of the most significant events in the Christian faith. It’s a story of hope, faith, and love, and it teaches us about salvation and the resurrection of Jesus. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the story and what it means for kids.
The Road to Emmaus story is found in Luke 24:13-35. It’s about two disciples who were walking on the road to Emmaus when Jesus suddenly appeared to them, but they didn’t recognize Him. Jesus asked them what they were talking about, and they shared the news about His crucifixion and the empty tomb. Jesus then explained to them the meaning of scripture and how it pointed to His death and resurrection.
As they arrived at Emmaus, the disciples asked Jesus to stay with them. As they sat down to eat, Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and broke it. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized Jesus. However, He vanished from their sight, and the disciples realized that they had just seen the risen Lord.
The Road to Emmaus story teaches us that Jesus appears to us when we least expect it. Even when we don’t recognize Him, He is with us, guiding us, and showing us the way. It also teaches us that the breaking of bread is an essential part of our faith. We remember Jesus through the sacrament of communion, and we share His love with others by breaking bread with them.
The story of The Road to Emmaus is an excellent way to teach kids about the resurrection of Jesus, Easter, and the meaning of scripture. It shows us that no matter how bleak things may seem, there is always hope. Even when we don’t understand everything, we can trust that God has a plan for us.
In conclusion, The Road to Emmaus is a powerful story that teaches us about Jesus’ love for us and the importance of faith, hope, and love. It’s a story that we can all learn from, no matter how young or old we are. Let’s remember the disciples on that road to Emmaus and how Jesus appeared to them, and let’s have faith that He is always with us, guiding us, and showing us the way.