Begin this recipe on Saturday evening, the night before Easter.
· 1 cup whole pecans
· 1 teaspoon vinegar
· 3 egg whites
· pinch salt
· 1 cup sugar
· Ziploc bag
· wooden spoon or toy hammer
· masking tape
Preheat oven to 300*F.
Place pecans in a Ziploc bag and give the children wooden spoons or toy hammers.
Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3 – “So Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers, having braided a crown from thorns, set it on his head, threw a purple robe over him, and approached him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" Then they greeted him with slaps in the face.”
Allow the children to then beat the pecans.
Open the vinegar and give each of the children a chance to smell it. Ask the children if they’d like to drink it. (Even if they do taste it, they should realize it is not good for quenching a thirst.)
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar (sour wine) to drink.
Read John 19:28-30 – “Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, "I'm thirsty." A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to his mouth. After he took the wine, Jesus said, "It's done . . . complete." Bowing his head, he offered up his spirit.”
Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the mixing bowl.
Show the children the eggs. Explain that eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life.
Read John 10:6-13 - “Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary. A hired man is not a real shepherd. The sheep mean nothing to him. He sees a wolf come and runs for it, leaving the sheep to be ravaged and scattered by the wolf. He's only in it for the money. The sheep don't matter to him.”
Have the children help you crack open the eggs and add the egg whites to the mixing bowl.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste. Then put your pinch of salt in the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27 – “And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him.”
So far, the ingredients are not very sweet.
Sprinkle a little sugar into each child’s hand. Let them taste. (Make sure all the salt is gone first!)
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us, and because our Heavenly Father loves us.
Read Psalm 34:8 – “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see - how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.”
Read John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Add 1 cup of sugar to the mixing bowl.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. If you have little children, this is a long time to be patient. Explain that when Jesus died, it was long and difficult. You can use this time to look at picture Bibles, ask the children questions about the parts of the story you’ve already covered, and see if the children have questions for you.
Once the stiff peaks have formed, show the children the mixed ingredients and explain that the color white represents purity, and the way that Jesus made us clean and new.
Read Isaiah 1:18 –"Come now, and let us reason together,"
Says the LORD,
"Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They will be like wool.”
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheets.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Read Matthew 27:57-61 – “Late in the afternoon a wealthy man from Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, arrived. His name was Joseph. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Pilate granted his request. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in clean linens, put it in his own tomb, a new tomb only recently cut into the rock, and rolled a large stone across the entrance. Then he went off. But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary stayed, sitting in plain view of the tomb.”
Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed.
Read Matthew 27:65-66 – “Pilate told them, "You will have a guard. Go ahead and secure it the best you can." So they went out and secured the tomb, sealing the stone and posting guards.”
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Give each child a piece of tape and allow them to seal the oven door. Tell the children they will not have any cookies until tomorrow.
Acknowledge that the kids are probably sad that they've worked hard to make these cookies, and now have to leave them in the oven overnight. Explain that Jesus' followers were in sad when Jesus died and the tomb was sealed.
Read John 16:20-23 – “Jesus knew they were dying to ask him what he meant, so he said, "Are you trying to figure out among yourselves what I meant when I said, 'In a day or so you're not going to see me, but then in another day or so you will see me'? Then fix this firmly in your minds: You're going to be in deep mourning while the godless world throws a party. You'll be sad, very sad, but your sadness will develop into gladness.
"When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there's no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you. You'll no longer be so full of questions.
On Easter morning, I suggest getting up extra early and testing out one of your cookies. You will then have two options.
Option 1 – IF your cookies are hollow, seal the oven back and allow the children to open it. Give them each a cookie and let them discover that the cookies are hollow.
Option 2 – IF your cookies are NOT hollow, “roll the stone away” by removing the tape and cookies from the oven. Allow the children to find the empty tomb! (Give them cookies, though. It’s only right.)
Either way, the point is the same. :)
Explain that on the first Easter morning, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.
Read Matthew 28:1-10 – “After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move. The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed. "Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to
Teach the children “He is risen!” and the “He is risen indeed!” response, because it’s fun. :)
Happy Resurrection Day!
PS – If you do an egg hunt, the scripture that we focus on Matthew 18:12-14 – “Look at it this way. If someone has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders off, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine and go after the one? And if he finds it, doesn't he make far more over it than over the ninety-nine who stay put? Your Father in heaven feels the same way. He doesn't want to lose even one of these simple believers.” We have a Father who will hunt for us!