by Lynace Pabst Veit
Scripture: Luke 19: 28-40
This week’s reading is the familiar story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I suggest using the version from The Spark Story Bible.
Something terrible yet wonderful was about to happen. In a few days, God’s big plan would be revealed. Jesus knew what was coming, and God knew. But no one else did.
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples ahead to find a donkey for him to ride into the city. Jesus climbed onto its back and, clippity-clop, he rode it through the open city gates. Jesus was filled with families preparing for Passover, the year’s biggest celebration. “Look! It’s Jesus!” someone shouted. They all ran to see him. Some laid their coats on the dirty road for the donkey to walk on. Others covered the street with palm branches or waved them in the air. “Hosanna! Hurry! The Son of David is here!” they yelled. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Jesus rode into the city like a king, and Jerusalem’s religious leaders didn’t like that one bit. “Why are the people saying he comes in the name of the Lord?” they grumbled. “There’s no way he can be the Son of God.”
They were so angry that they made a plan to kill Jesus…
As a family, this story is a great one to act out together. Gather up your coats, cut out palm branches from construction paper, and find a stuffed donkey. Choose a reader, someone to play Jesus, and the rest of the family can be the people in the crowd. When you get to the part in the story where the people in the crowd yelled “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” give everyone a chance to shout it as they each lay their coat and palm branch before Jesus the King.
*adapted from the Jesus the King story in Young Children in Worship by Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman
The Palm Sunday story of Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When sharing this story with children, I try to always remember that the waving of palm branches is only part of the story. It is the beginning of the “terrible yet wonderful” plan God has in store for Jesus and His people. Reading and acting out this story is first about being in the moment. Feeling how the crowd felt to see their King and shouting “Blessed is He who comes!” But this story also hints at the darkness to come – the plan to kill Jesus. One cannot read this story without looking forward in wonder; how did those shouts of joy turn to shouts of hate? And how will God’s big plan be revealed?
Questions to Spark Discussion
I wonder why Jesus the King rode a donkey instead of a horse?…
I wonder how it felt to be in the crowd that welcomed Jesus?…
I wonder how Jesus felt knowing what was to come when no one else did?…
I wonder what God’s big plan is?…
As we enter Holy Week,
help us remember how it felt
to see Jesus the King
ride into Jerusalem.
that though there are dark times to come
your big plan will soon be revealed. Amen.
Lynace Pabst Veit is the Director of Children and Family Ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. She is a wife, mother, and second generation Christian Educator.