Palm Sunday

(Resource Pack 137 ) Key Stage 2 & 3

VISUAL AIDS: Costumes and palms, and props which depict Jesus entry into Jerusalem.

For full script see my free assembly book, But It’s Only Nine o’ Clock In The Morning.

At this point tell the story of Jesus entry into Jerusalem again in your own words (Matthew 21. 1-17

OR use Godly Play version Jesus the King (page 136 Young Children and Worship. Stewart and Berryman).

Have the children act out the scene, with a Jesus on a donkey, palm branches being waved and set down, a crowd shouting, Pharisees anxiously watching on, point out the gates of Jerusalem, and have younger children pretending to be stones.

Now take the children back into their starting positions for the beginning of the story, and walk through the story commenting on each part.

JESUS

I wonder why the people were cheering for Jesus ?

Their responses?

A He was kind and good

B He told amazing stories and did amazing things

C He was the Messiah or so everyone thought, the King who had all the answers, who would set everyone free for the enemy, the Romans!

Did you know that there is another answer that John gives in his gospel about a miracle that had just happened not far away in Bethany, and that was about Jesus a dead man, his friend Lazarus, from the tomb he’d been in for four days, and he’d been brought back to life? No wonder the people were going wild. Rumours spread quickly! Word gets around.

He was also coming from the direction of a place called the Mount of Olives, which was where on the Day of the Lord, the Lord was going to enter Jerusalem.(Zech 14)By the words he spoke, he also seemed to be a bringer of peace and justice (Zech 9.9)So, like voting for some leader in politics, they, by cheering , were in effect, putting their X beside his name.

I wonder how Jesus felt when he rode into Jerusalem with all these expectations of him?

THE CROWD

I wonder who the people were who shouted,

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest’?

His friends, his followers, ordinary people? Children!

They were there to greet their KING!

Explain my trip to see the Queen go by when I was little. I waited for what seemed like two hours, and I was cold, but then someone shouted ‘She’s here!’ and I waved my flag like crazy, and yelled for the Queen and Prince Philip, who were past in seconds and that was it!

No tiara, no fur stole, no long ballroom dress.

All that fuss for an ordinary looking lady and gentleman riding past quickly in a large car, with big windows! I confess I was a little disappointed.But then again, I had seen the QUEEN!So I wonder if the crowd were a little disappointed when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey?

DONKEY

Perhaps they wanted him to ride in on a warhorse or with an army of followers getting ready to do battle with the authorities…and in he came bobbing up and down on a donkey’!

Isn’t it strange that it was a young donkey, never ridden before, like some sacred sacrificial victim. like Jesus, being led to the slaughter, it is a sacred moment, an act of great humility.

THE PALM BRANCHES

Then there were the branches…yes quite often used in processions, with psalms, but I wonder if these too were symbolic…the Messiah the people were expecting was to be a BRANCH OF DAVID’S LINE! How appropriate.

THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS

Why did they hate Jesus so much. It is said that they were plotting to get rid of Jesus, (and also Lazarus, because as a result of his healing many people were beginning to believe Jesus was the Messiah!)

They were jealous of him, afraid of the power he used to heal people and perform miracles, furious about the parables Jesus told,as they came over badly in them. They were angry about claims he made for himself. In their minds Jesus was a trouble maker from an insignificant town called Nazareth. The real Messiah would come from Bethlehem. (which he did). Surely it was better for this one man to die, than for the whole nation to perish if his followers got out of hand, and rose up against the Romans?

STONES

What about the stones? Jesus could have been talking about the great stones of the temple. There’s another possibility…

Creation itself would bear witness to him, if people should ever turn away from their Creator. (Through him all things came to be made, without him nothing was made that has been made!).

TEARS

We are given three reasons why Jesus cried

1) The people would never know the peace he alone could bring

2) The people were blind, things were hidden from their eyes

3) He knew their destruction was coming, he was in great distress.

What issues does Jesus still cry over today…

Let’s ask ourselves…

What is it at present that is robbing me of God’s peace?

What am I blind to, which issues should be making me broken hearted in our world today?

What habits/kinds of behaviour will destroy my life, if I continue these practices? or even affect the world I live in?

THE GATES OF JERUSALEM

Just imagine for a moment that WE ARE Jerusalem, and Jesus is entering into our lives.

What would we quickly want to change before he gets here and sees!

I listened to a very challenging sermon by Bishop Martin, Newcastle who was quoting a bishop of the church, over 70 years ago, as saying these words:-

Our present duty is to make a far deeper surrender to our Lord Jesus Christ than ever before. We are to make such a surrender of self to Christ over the whole area of our life, that were he to choose to come to earth to reign in his own person, neither you nor I would find it necessary to alter the principles upon which we conduct our work and our prayer and our worship.

This same bishop also went on to say,

‘now go and look in the byways and the hedges; look for Jesus in the ragged and the oppressed, in those who have lost hope, in those who are struggling to make good their lives…..? Look for Jesus, and when you see him, gird yourselves with a towel and try to wash their feet!’

We must make way for him to be present in our world today, through our own lives.