Read John 20:19-30 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+20%3A19-31&version=NRSV).
For younger kids
Print out the attached comic strip and cut it up into individual panes (you can leave the first pane out if you want to). Together, put the panes in the correct order. Once the panes are in order, go through them again and talk about what happens in each part. [You can skip this if you don’t have a printer].
Do you think Thomas was surprised when Jesus appeared to him? [Yes, probably]. Ask the kids to show you with their body and face how they think Thomas would have looked when Jesus appeared to him. [There may be some giggles!]
Has God ever amazed you by doing something? What? [There are many, many possible answers here that you can help get them to – everything from rising from the dead, to really cool things in the natural world like rainbows or flowers blooming]. Ask kids to draw a picture of what God has done to amaze them.
For older kids
Print out the attached comic strip and cut it up into individual panes (you can leave the first pane out if you want to). Together, put the panes in the correct order. [You can skip this if you don’t have a printer].
Ask what they think the definition of faith is. [You can even look it up in the dictionary. In general, try to get to the idea that faith is believing in something, even without proof.] Was Thomas someone to whom faith in Jesus’s resurrection came easily? Does it seem like Jesus loves Thomas more, less, or the same as the other disciples? [Try to get at the idea that Jesus loves those who believe without seeing but he also loves those who have to see to believe — he clearly loves Thomas no less for his doubt.]
Are you the kind of person who has to see to believe something? Or are you someone who can believe based on faith? [It is important that you as the adult share your experience here, too. For example, you might say that you are someone who generally can believe without proof, but that you have doubts all the time. How do you respond to those doubts? Or maybe you are someone for whom faith is really hard because you have to see to believe. Perhaps share why you still strive to have a relationship with God, or where you see proof of God’s love that helps you believe].
Ask kids to come up with three things or ideas that they think shows us God’s love is real. They can chose how to answer – write a list, draw a picture, take three photos. If you have more than one kid, tell them to keep their group of things or ideas a secret until you come back together. You can make the secrecy part of it a big deal to give it some urgency. Then, bring everyone back together and have them reveal their three things all at once [you can give it a sense of anticipation/a big reveal…maybe a drum roll?]. Did anyone pick the same things?