Easter Stories: A Storyteller Book

Easter Stories: A Storyteller Book

by Bob Hartman

Paperback(New edition)

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Following the tried and tested formula of his earlier Lion Storyteller titles, Bob Hartman retells a selection of Easter stories in his own inimitable style. This collection of 23 stories includes the key Bible accounts of the events of the first Easter from Palm Sunday through to Jesus' resurrection, encounters with his friends and followers, and the ascension. Bob Hartman's retellings of familiar and sometimes serious tales are fresh and engaging, making these Bible stories accessible to the young and not-so-young. Line illustrations complement the text. As a bonus, this book includes some of Bob Hartman's favourite storytelling tips.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780745978093
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Publication date: 03/01/2019
Series: A Storyteller Book
Edition description: New edition
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range: 5 - 18 Years

About the Author

Bob Hartman, author of the best-selling Lion Storyteller Bible, and other titles in the Storyteller series, the highly acclaimed Angels, Angels All Around, and the hilarious Wolf Who Cried Boy. He regularly entertains children with his storytelling in schools and at festivals.

Read an Excerpt


Jesus Rides a Donkey Down the Hill

'I need a donkey,' said Jesus to his friends.
'I need a donkey.' (Hee-Haw!)
'And if the owner of the donkey should ask you what you're doing,
Say I need to ride the donkey down the hill.
I need to ride the donkey down the hill.'

So Jesus' friends went to find a donkey.
They went to find a donkey. (Hee-Haw!)
And when the owner asked, they simply answered,
'Jesus needs to ride the donkey down the hill.
Jesus needs to ride the donkey down the hill.'

Then Jesus' friends put a cloak onto the donkey.
A cloak, not a saddle. (Hee-Haw!)
Then Jesus climbed on and headed for Jerusalem.
And Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.
And Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.

The people were surprised when they saw him on the donkey,
When they saw him on the donkey. (Hee-Haw!)
Then they remembered a promise – a promise from a prophet About a king who rides a donkey down the hill.
About a king who rides a donkey down the hill.

So the people cheered when they saw him on the donkey.
The people cheered. (Hooray!)
They cried, 'Hosanna! Save us, Lord!'
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.

Then they laid their cloaks in front of the donkey,
And they laid down palm branches too. (Hooray!)
And they treated Jesus just like a king.
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.

But the religious leaders grumbled and groaned.
They cursed and swore and moaned. (Moan! Moan!)
'You're no king!' they cried. 'You're nobody special!'
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.
As Jesus rode the donkey down the hill.

'Say what you like!' called Jesus to the leaders.
'Be as stubborn as donkeys!' (Hee-Haw!)
'If these stones could speak, they'd join with the people And cheer the one who rides the donkey down the hill.
And cheer the one who rides the donkey down the hill!'


Jesus Knocks Down the Tables in the Temple

When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, the first thing he did was visit the Temple. But when he got there, he saw something that made him very sad.

There were poor people, who had come a long way to worship God. They had doves with them, the very best they could find, and they wanted to give them to God, as a way of saying thank you for his love.

But the men who worked at the Temple would not let them do that.

'We're very sorry,' they said, 'but the doves you have brought are not good enough for God. You have to buy these "special" Temple doves.' And they pointed to a bench that was covered with cages.

The poor people set down their own doves and fumbled around for what few coins they could find.

'We're very sorry,' said the temple workers once again. 'We don't take ordinary coins here. You have to use "special" Temple money to buy the "special" Temple doves!' And they pointed to a table that was covered with coins.

So the poor people sighed and changed their money. But for every two coins they gave, they only got one coin back.

'You've cheated us!' they cried.

And the temple workers just grinned. 'We're very sorry,' they said for the third time. 'But those are the rules. Now stop your moaning and get on with your business.'

Jesus was no longer sad. No, Jesus was angry now. In fact, he was furious! These poor people had come simply to worship God, and they were being cheated every way they turned.

So Jesus did something. Something that no one expected. Something that no one had ever done before.

He turned over the tables of the money-changers. He knocked down the benches full of doves. And as the coins clattered onto the floor and the birds flew free from their cages, Jesus cried, 'God's Temple should be a place of prayer, but you have made it a hideout for cheats and thieves!'

The poor people cheered when they heard what Jesus said.

But the money-changers and the bird-sellers and all the other cheats were very angry.

And so were the religious leaders, who had been watching all along.

'We need to do something about this man,' they grumbled. 'We need to stop him now!'

And that was just the beginning of Jesus' troubles.


Grapes and Farmers and Religious Leaders

The religious leaders followed Jesus everywhere he went. They listened to everything he said. And they watched everything he did. They were looking for a reason to arrest him.

So Jesus warned the people about them.

'Watch out for the religious leaders,' he said. 'They want you to think that they are serving God – that they are good and holy men. But they are really just interested in what they can get for themselves – power, money and praise.'

And then Jesus told the people a story:

Once upon a time, there was a man who owned a vineyard. He wanted to go away on a long trip, so he made a deal with some local farmers.

'Take care of my vineyard for me,' he said. 'And you can have most of the grapes. But because it is my vineyard, I want you to save some of the grapes for me as well. At harvest time, I'll send one of my servants to collect them.'

So the man went away. The farmers took care of the vineyard. And when harvest time came, the man sent a servant for his share of the grapes.

'I've come to collect my master's grapes,' the servant said.

But the farmers just laughed.

'Why should we give you the grapes?' they asked. 'Your master is far, far away!'

And they beat the servant up and sent him away with no grapes at all!

So the man who owned the vineyard sent another servant.

'I've come to collect my master's grapes,' the servant said.

And the farmers laughed again.

'You're not getting any grapes either,' they sneered. And they beat that servant up as well and sent him home empty-handed.

So the man sent a third servant. But the same thing happened again!

'I've come to collect my master's grapes,' the servant said.

The farmers laughed louder than ever, and they beat the servant till he ran away.

The man who owned the vineyard had one last idea.

'I will send my son,' he said. 'Surely the farmers will respect him and give him the grapes.'

But when the farmers saw the son walking towards the vineyard, they had a different idea.

'It's his son!' they whispered. 'His only son. If we kill him, there will be no one to inherit the vineyard when the master dies, and we can take it as our own!'

So that's what they did. Having made their evil plan, they lay in wait for the master's son. They grabbed hold of him. They dragged him out of the vineyard. And then they put him to death!

Jesus stopped and looked past the crowd, right to the back, where the religious leaders were standing.

'So what do you think the master will do with these men?' he asked. 'These men whom he trusted, but who used their position to get what they could for themselves. He will come and throw them out of his vineyard – that's what he'll do – and give their jobs to someone else!'

The religious leaders were furious!

'He's talking about us,' they whispered. 'He thinks that we're like the farmers in the story!'

They wanted to arrest Jesus – they really did! But they could see that the people liked him. So they decided, instead, to wait. To wait and to plan.

Just like the farmers in the story, in fact. Just like the farmers in the story!


A Taxing Question

The religious leaders were angry with Jesus. They were jealous of him too.

'If the people listen to him,' they moaned, 'they may not do what we tell them any more. We won't be nearly so important or powerful.'

So they decided to test Jesus – to ask him hard questions in the hope that he would give the wrong answers and that the people would stop listening to him. They felt sure they could catch him out.

'I've got a good question!' said one of the religious leaders. 'The people hate the Romans, because the Romans rule our country and treat us so badly. Let's ask Jesus if he thinks it's right to pay taxes to the Roman leader, Caesar.'

'Brilliant!' said another religious leader. 'The people will not like it if Jesus says that it is all right to pay taxes to Caesar. They believe that God is our king, and that we should honour only him. But if Jesus says that we should not pay our taxes, then we can tell the Romans and get him into big trouble! Either way, we win!'

So, the next day, while Jesus was talking to the crowds, the religious leaders asked him the question: Is it all right to pay taxes to Caesar?

Jesus looked at the religious leaders. He guessed that they were trying to trap him, so he asked a question of his own.

'Can somebody give me a coin?' he said. And when he was handed a little silver one, he held it out and asked another question.

'Whose face is on this coin?'

The religious leaders were puzzled.

'Caesar's face,' they said.

Jesus just smiled.

'All right, then,' he answered. 'Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.'

And the crowd booed.

'But ...' Jesus went on, 'Give to God what belongs to God as well!'

And the crowd cheered!

The religious leaders, however, walked away annoyed.

'He made everybody happy!' they moaned. 'He's not in trouble with the people or the Romans. Either way, he wins.'

'Well, I've got an even better question!' said another religious leader. 'Why don't we ask him which of God's laws he thinks is most important? Whichever he picks, he'll be saying that the others are not as good. And that's bound to upset someone!'

So they went back to Jesus and asked him their new question.

Again, Jesus looked at the religious leaders. Again, he looked at the crowd. And again, he gave his answer.

'It's simple, really,' he said. 'The first commandment is the most important one – "Love God with your whole heart!" And the second is just as good – "Love your neighbour as you love yourself." Don't you see? All the other commandments – don't steal, don't murder, don't lie – are summed up in these two!'

Again the people cheered. Again, the religious leaders grumbled.

'Any other questions?' asked Jesus.

But the religious leaders just walked away. Jesus had given good answers. He'd passed their tests and they had to admit it. So now they were more angry than ever.


Camels, Bugs and Dirty Bowls

'Watch out for the religious leaders,' Jesus warned the people. 'I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Watch out for them – for they teach one thing and do another. It's all just pretend – a show. They act as if they want to please God, but they're really just trying to impress one another.'

'Imagine you had a bowl of soup,' said Jesus.

And the people said, 'Mmm.'

'Now imagine there was a bug in the soup,' said Jesus.

And the people said, 'Urgh!'

'And what if there was something else floating in the soup?' said Jesus.

And the people said, 'What?'

'How about a camel?' said Jesus.

And the people said, 'Whoa!'

'Now you wouldn't want a bug or a camel in your soup, would you?' asked Jesus.

And the people said, 'No!'

'But the religious leaders,' said Jesus, 'would go to all kinds of trouble to strain out that little bug, then quite happily swallow that camel down whole!'

And the people said, 'Yuck!'

'Exactly,' said Jesus. 'They pay lots of attention to all the little, bug-sized details of their religion – what to wear, how to wash, how much of each tiny herb and spice they should give away. But they pay no attention at all to the big, camel-sized things – like loving one another and taking care of the poor. So watch out for them, they'll lead you the wrong way.'

Then, just as if he'd finished the soup himself, Jesus held up a bowl, so the crowd could only see the outside.

'What do you think?' asked Jesus.

And the people said, 'Lovely!'

Then he turned it around so that everyone could see the old food that was caked inside.

'What do you think of it now?' he asked.

And the people said, 'Disgusting!'

'And so are the religious leaders,' said Jesus. 'They look good on the outside – all pious and prim and proper – but on the inside they are dirty with selfishness and jealousy and greed.'

Finally, Jesus pointed across the hill to a cemetery.

'Can you see those bright, shiny tombs?' he asked.

And the people said, 'We can!'

'They look nice, don't they? But what's inside them?' asked Jesus.

And the people answered, 'Dead men's bones.'

'And so it is with the religious leaders,' said Jesus again. 'Shiny on the outside, with all their pretending, but cold and dead inside – dead to the needs of others. And dead to what pleases God as well.

'And the saddest thing of all is that they can't even see it.

'"We want to make God happy!"' they say. '"We want to do what's right."' But every time God sends somebody to talk to them – to show them how to stop pretending and let God make them really alive and really good from the inside out – what do they do? They put that person to death.'

Then Jesus looked at the crowd. And his look was very serious.

'Sadly,' he said, 'I think they mean to do that to me.'


A Counting Problem

Jesus and his friends went to the Temple. There was a queue of people, waiting to give their offering. They dropped their coins into a hole in the temple wall, and the coins clattered down into a money-box below.

'Come and stand with me by the wall,' said Jesus to his friends. 'I have a counting problem for you. If you listen closely, you can hear how many coins each person has given. Let's see who gives the most!'

The first person was a merchant. He looked very rich indeed. And as he dropped in the coins, Jesus' friends counted them.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten.

'Ten coins!' said one of Jesus' friends. 'Not bad, but I bet someone will do better.'

And someone did. The next man was a lawyer. He was even better dressed. And Jesus' friends had to count more quickly as the coins went clattering down.

Two, four, six, eight, ten, twelve, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen and twenty.

'Twenty coins!' said another of Jesus' friends. 'Twice as many as the first man!'

Then a third man walked up to the wall. He was the richest of them all. And what is more, he was one of the religious leaders.

'Watch out for this one,' Jesus whispered to his friends. 'The religious leaders like to send their coins rattling into the money-box just as loudly as they can – so that people will be impressed with what they give.'

And, sure enough, that's exactly what he did. The religious leader reached into his money bag and scooped up a handful of coins. They rattled down so quickly that Jesus' friends could hardly count them.

Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five, forty ...

'We give up!' cried Jesus' friends. 'But at least we know the answer to your question. No one is going to give more than that man.' And they turned to walk away.

'Just a minute,' said Jesus. 'There's one more person waiting.'

It was an old woman – a widow, dressed all in black. She pulled two tiny coins out of her purse.

'I wish I could give more,' she whispered to God. 'But this is all I have.' And she dropped the coins – one, two – into the hole.

Jesus looked at his friends.

'Anybody want to change his answer?' he asked.

'No,' said Jesus' friends. 'The third man gave the most.'

'Really?' grinned Jesus. 'But what about the woman?'

'The woman?' his friends chuckled. 'The woman put in only two coins. We can count, you know.'

'I know,' said Jesus. 'But those were the only two coins she had. The others put in more coins, that's true. But they had plenty more in their pockets and in their money-boxes at home. But the woman gave everything she had. Don't you see? It all adds up. The woman dropped in the fewest coins, but in the end she gave the most of all!'


The False Friend

Listen. Everything is quiet.

Listen. Even the birds have stopped singing.

Listen. It's late. It's dark. And everyone has gone to bed.

Everyone but the four men in the corner of the temple courtyard.

Listen. Three of the men want something.

Listen. They want it badly.

'We want Jesus stopped,' they whisper. 'We're tired of his teaching, we're tired of his stories, and we're tired of him making us look bad in front of the people. And we think that you can help.'

The fourth man listens. He listens very carefully indeed. He listens to the religious leaders. He listens for the sound of footsteps in the dark, because he shouldn't be here at all. Not here with Jesus' enemies, for his name is Judas. And he is one of Jesus' friends!

'Listen,' he says at last. 'There is something that I want as well. I want money. Lots of it. And if you give it to me, then I will lead you to a quiet place – a place where you can arrest Jesus without fear of the crowds.'

Listen. The men reach into their money-bags.

Listen. The coins clink and clank as they change hands.

Listen. Thirty pieces of silver, and the deal is done.

The religious leaders get what they want.

Judas gets what he wants too.

And in the darkness the devil is laughing.



Bread, Meat and Stinky Feet

Jesus and his friends went out for a meal.

It was the Passover meal, when they remembered all the wonderful things that God had done for his people – how he had set them free from slavery in Egypt and led them to a land of their own.

They sat on the floor around a low table. They were waiting for the meal to start. Everything smelled sweet – the bread, the lamb, the sauces. Everything but their feet!

They had walked a long way. Their feet were dirty and sweating.


Excerpted from "A Storyteller Book: Easter Stories"
by .
Copyright © 2005 Bob Hartman.
Excerpted by permission of Lion Hudson Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1 Jesus Rides a Donkey Down the Hill,
2 Jesus Knocks Down the Tables in the Temple,
3 Grapes and Farmers and Religious Leaders,
4 A Taxing Question,
5 Camels, Bugs and Dirty Bowls,
6 A Counting Problem,
7 The False Friend,
8 Bread, Meat and Stinky Feet,
9 A Meal to Remember,
10 Sleepy Peter,
11 A Trial by Night,
12 Panicking Peter,
13 A Bad Deal,
14 No Peace for Pilate,
15 A King, a Crown and a Cross,
16 The Crucifixion,
17 Still No Peace for Pilate,
18 A Glad Morning,
19 Walking, Talking – and Shocking!,
20 Not a Ghost Story,
21 I Don't Believe It!,
22 Fishing Peter,
23 Up the Hill and Higher Still!,
Storytelling Tips,

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