To show pupils that the only reasonable explanation of the mystery of the empty tomb is that Jesus rose from the dead.
- John 19 – the death and burial of Jesus
- John 20:1-10; Luke 24:1-12; Matthew 28:1-15 – the empty tomb;
- John 20:11-29; 21:1-22; Luke 24: 13-53; Matthew 28:16-20 – appearances of Jesus after his resurrection.
You will need:
Either a digital projector & laptop or visual display cards.
Prepare display cards or powerpoint for each enigma
1. Explain that you are going to play ‘enigmas’. An enigma is another name for a puzzle or a riddle. You are going to describe some situations. The contestants have to work out how and why those situations have come about. For the sake of time in this assembly, they may only ask a maximum of three questions to which you can answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
2. Ask for six volunteers to make two teams of three people each. Each team takes turns in trying to solve the following ‘enigmas’. Display each ‘enigma’ in turn, so that everyone in the audience has the opportunity to consider them. Here are the ‘enigmas’ (NB: they are quite well known situations, so be prepared for quick answers!):
- In the middle of a field is a hat, a scarf, a pipe, a carrot and a few lumps of coal. (Answer: A snowman has melted.)
- A man goes into a pub and asks for a glass of water. The man behind the bar takes out a gun and points it at the man’s head. The man says, ‘Thanks,’ and walks out. Why? (Answer: he had hiccups! The barman frightened him to make the hiccups stop.)
- A man is pushing a car along. He can see a hotel in the distance and he knows that when he gets there, he’ll have to give the owner of the hotel a lot of money. Why? (Answer: He’s playing Monopoly!)
- An empty ship is floating in calm waters. It is far from any port and is in no danger of sinking. There is no one on board, there are no signs of a struggle and it hasn’t been reported missing. Why? (Answer: It’s a plastic toy boat in someone’s bath!)
3. Whether the two teams get the answers right ot not, give them all a round of applause and then pose the next situation to the entire audience:
• A cave hollowed out of a rock has been used as a grave. The mystery is – it’s empty. Inside, the sheets which had been wrapped around the body are lying on the floor. Why?
4. Suggest a few questions people might ask in order to solve this ‘enigma’, and follow each with the answer. For example:
- Did the person really die? (Answer: Yes. He was executed by experts.)
- Was the body stolen? (Answer: No. The body was never produced.)
- Did this person appear alive to anyone after his execution and disappearance from his grave? (Answer: Yes, to well over 500 people on various occasions.)
5. Say that the most reasonable explanation for this ‘enigma’ is: this person must have risen from the dead!
- Explain that the enigma you have just solved is not a made-up one like the ones in the game earlier. This enigma is actually the key to the Christian faith.
- Many people through the centuries have asked many more questions than these about this amazing event. And they have ended up coming to the conclusion that Jesus Christ – the person buried in that grave in the cave – did come back to life from the dead, and he could only do this because he was none other than God himself.