Jesus Enters Jerusalem

Does anyone know the special name we use for this Sunday? Allow children to answer. This Sunday is called Palm Sunday. We are going to read about why it’s named Palm Sunday in a minute but before we do I want to talk to you about what happens between Palm Sunday and Easter. Read children “Jesus Gets Ready to Die” from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible Year B. It does an excellent job of explaining that Palm Sunday is the beginning of a sad story. Today we are going talk about how the story begins.

Have you ever seen someone important arrive somewhere? Maybe in a movie, or on TV? What was it like when that important person arrived? Allow children to answer. They may describe a movie star on the red carpet or the president’s entourage. When the people see someone important how do they act? Allow children to answer. In Jesus’ time someone really important, like a king or a Roman general, would have ridden into town on a magnificent horse…but Jesus does something different. Let’s read to find out what happened when Jesus came to Jerusalem. Read Mark 11:1-11 from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Story Bible Year B.

Jesus made a choice to enter into the Jerusalem in a different way than a king or Roman general. What did he do differently? Allow children to answer. Jesus chose to enter into Jerusalem on a donkey. Mark also tells us that Jesus plans to return the donkey to it’s owner. Which is different than what a king or Roman soldier would have done. And yet, as Jesus enters into Jerusalem he is treated like a king. Not because of how Jesus comes into Jerusalem, in fact Mark tells us that Jesus remains silent…Jesus doesn’t ask to be treated like someone special. He is treated like a king by the people! Think back to how important people are treated nowadays. You told me that people scream and cheer and take pictures. I think the people of Jerusalem also screamed and cheered for Jesus. They didn’t take pictures of course, but what did they do? Allow children to answer. They laid down their cloaks and palm branches so that even the donkey would have a soft place to walk. Every year on Palm Sunday we remember that Jesus never asked to be someone important. And yet because of the love he showed everyone, people will always remember him that way. Even now, many Many MANY years later we still lay down Palm leaves to honor Jesus.

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Every Wednesday I share a lesson based on the lectionary. These lessons are meant to be used for a children’s moment (aka children’s sermon, children’s liturgy, children’s church, etc), sunday school, or even as a family devotion in your own home.

I have taken the lesson above and written it into a lesson plan format. I have also added a Respond and Extend section to the downloadable lesson. These are additional ideas for the children to respond to the main lesson and then an extension activity for them to do at a later time. The extension activity includes a handout to send home with directions.

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Loving Community

We’ve all been sick before. What happens when you are sick? Can you be with other people when you are sick? Allow children to answer. Help children realize that you may have to stay home from school/church/activities when you are sick, but that they still aren’t totally alone. In our community, when we get sick there are people to help us. Like our parents, or grandparents, doctors and nurses. You usually have to stay home from school/church/activities when you are sick so that you don’t spread germs, but your family is still there to take care of you. But in Jesus time if you were sick you weren’t allowed to be around anyone. You couldn’t be a part of the community anymore.

This week’s bible story is about a man who was sick and wasn’t allowed to be around anyone in his community. He was by himself all the time. I bet he felt really lonely. Let’s read about what Jesus did. Read Mark 1:40-45 from Ralph Milton’s Lectionary Bible Year B. It was a big deal that Jesus stopped and talked to Rufus. It was an even bigger deal that he touched him. Can you imagine being sick and having no one look at you, or talk to you, or touch you at all? No hugs? No smiles? All alone. That would make me very sad. But Jesus stopped and helped Rufus feel better.

Why do you think Jesus asked Rufus not to tell anyone that Jesus had made him feel better? Allow children to answer. This is a tricky question to answer…even for grown-ups, but I’ll tell you what I think. I think that Jesus felt his most important job was to tell people about God’s love. And when people like Rufus started talking about how Jesus made them feel better when they were sick, that was all people could think about. They wanted Jesus to make them feel better too. The story tells us that there were so many people coming to Jesus that he could hardly move sometimes. All those people asking Jesus to make them better made it hard for Jesus to teach about God’s love.

Which makes me think…perhaps the most important part of this story isn’t about how much better Rufus got. I think the really special part is that Rufus was finally able to join his community again. Because he was better he could be around people. Having a community of people in our life is really important. Because he had been sick, Rufus knew what it felt like to be all alone. Now that he is better, I bet he will be more able to help others in his community that feel alone. 

That is what Jesus teaches us. To love others in our community. Especially those that feel all alone

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