Objects for Good Friday

Like candy canes or paper angels remind us of people of the Christmas story, a variety of items can remind us of the people and events of Good Friday. These items can engage the interest of the young and old with the scriptural accounts found in Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23 & John 19. Similar to the tradition of reading Luke 2 at Christmas, we can read the Passion accounts on Good Friday!

Objects that use our five senses can help us discuss the events and people of Good Friday. With my children or in a class setting I would lay out the objects on a table and have the children/students choose one. Then I would invite them to share what part of Good Friday it represents and something we can learn from it. If someone does not know they could go look up the scripture that goes with that object.

This first list is objects that directly point to a specific person and the next group is objects that point us to events of Good Friday.

1)Prayer Tassel or piece of large piece of dark material to drape over head and shoulders (Caiaphas, Annas and the  Chief Priests) Matthew 27:57-68

2)Royal clothing and/or a judge gavel (Pilate) Matthew 27:24. I used an old curtain that had fancy trim.

3)Crown (Herod Antipas) Luke 23:6-11.

4)Ribbon or pretty scarf (Pilate’s wife) Matthew 27:19

5)Handcuffs or chains (Barabbas)  Matthew 27:16

6)Purple Robe, Staff and Crown of Thorns John 19:2, Matthew 27:27-31  (Jesus)

7)Spear (Roman Soldier) John 19:34

8) Roman Soldier attire (Centurion who testifies at the foot of the cross)  Matthew 27:54. I found a breastplate and shield at the dollar store.

9) Rope or silver coins (Judas) Matthew 27:5

10) Cross (Simon of Cyrene) Luke 23:26 and Jesus

11) Myrrh, aloes and linen which Nicodemus brought John 19:38-41

12) Rock or tomb, representing empty unused tomb Joseph of Arimathea offered

13) At least 8 pieces of colorful cloth/scarves for the many women who are at the cross: Mary the mother of Jesus, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ aunt, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, Mary of Clopas, the mother of Zebedee’s children, and many other women who followed him from Galilee. (8 singled out women when we look at all four gospel accounts, plus the “many others who followed Jesus from Galilee.” We do not have an exact number)

14) Bible (representing the beloved disciple at the cross, likely John), John 19:26

15) Image of a group of many people (all his acquaintance at the cross) Luke 23:49

Objects pointing to events

  1. Whip   Matthew 27:26
  2. Nail Colossians 2:14
  3. Beam or Large piece of wood Mark 15:21
  4. Lamb (small stuffed animal symbolic of the Passover Lamb) John 18:28
  5. Pair of dice Matthew 27:35 (the soldiers cast lots for his clothing)
  6. Vinegar Matthew 27:48 (can be smelled or tasted)
  7. Hyssop  John 19:29 (can be smelled or tasted)
  8. Heart John 15:13
  9. Dark piece of paper, or turn off the lights in the room (Three hours of Darkness Matt 27:15)
  10. 6 hours on the cross (6 hours on the cross —  Mark 15:24-25, Matthew 27:46-50; about 9am-3pm) For this you could have either the number 6 on a piece of paper or the times 9am-3pm.
  11. Piece of purple/red/blue cloth/paper with cherubim; possibly tear it in half (2 Chronicles 3:14), representing the veil of the temple torn in two at Jesus’ death (Matt 27:51) The veil separated the Holy Place and the most Holy Place.
  12. Image of gravestone or gravestone breaking (Matt 27:51)
  13. Shaker representing earthquake (Matt 27:51) or have everyone move like they are shaking in an earthquake
  14. More Darkness & Shaking (3 Nephi 8:5-23) for the signs of Jesus’ death in the Americas. Three hours of storms/earthquakes followed by 3 days of darkness.

How to Use the Items

This is likely too many objects to discuss in one sitting or one lesson!  When I have done this in a family or church lesson setting I have picked about 12-15 of the 27 items to discuss.  We usually end by talking about the centurion at the foot of the cross who testifies of Jesus Christ  and how shocking it would have been for a centurion to bear testimony at Jesus’ death.  I then give an opportunity for anyone who would like to share their testimony of Jesus Christ. Testimony sharing is perfect thing to do on Good Friday activity. We can be like the centurion at the foot of the cross as we declare that “Surely Jesus is the Son of God.”

Another way to include the props/objects is part of a Reader’s theater. This script that combines Good Friday events in the four gospels.

Thinking about each person’s role and using items can connect us with meaningful lessons from the people of Good Friday. For example, like Barabbas we are all set free even though we are sinners because Jesus was not set free; we can testify that Jesus is the Son of God, like the centurion at the foot of the cross did; we can choose to stay near Jesus even when things look bleak like the more than women at the cross.

Some of these items are great for display throughout the Easter season, not just Good Friday. I like to have the crown of thorns, the empty tomb, the nail displayed by my Easter creche on my entry table.

I hope however you decide to use the objects of Good Friday, whether its each person sharing about a different item, a readers theater, pondering lessons from each individual or group, or as decor, all involved will deepen their testimony of our Savior.

Here is a list of just the people by separated into three sections:

TRIAL TO PATH: Before dawn: Annas; Caiaphas; Chief Priests; Peter who denies Jesus the third time before the cock crows. Early morning: Pilate, Pilates Wife; Herod; Roman Soldiers; Barabbas (who can represent all of us in the sense that are let free because Jesus is not); Judas (who tries to return the money); Roman soldiers who mock him; Simon of Cyrene; the group of women Jesus speaks to on his way to Calvary

AT THE CROSS: Jesus (who asks the Father to forgive the soldiers); Roman soldiers who nail Jesus to the cross and cast lots for his clothing; 2 thieves on the cross who speak to Jesus (one who mocks him & one who asks to be remembered in his kingdom); the Roman Soldiers who crucify him; Mary the Mother of Jesus; Mary Magdalene; Mary the mother of James and Joses; Mother of Zebedee’s children; Salome; Joanna; Mary of Clopas; Jesus’ aunt; the beloved disciple likely John; “Many other women” who followed Jesus from Galilee (many of the women at the cross had been following Jesus and ministering to Him of their substance throughout His ministry); All his acquaintance.

AT DEATH AND BURIAL: Soldier who puts spear in Jesus side and out comes water and blood; Centurion at the cross who beholds the events and declares, “Truly this is the Son of God;” Joseph of Arimathea; Nicodemus; The women who behold the burial place.

For more ideas on a Christ-centered Easter see this page of resources.