*This plan is taken from “The Gospel Project for Kids” curriculum
Unit 20: Session 1–Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
Bible passage: Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19
Main point: People welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King.
Key passage (Memory passage for the unit): Romans 10:9 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Big picture question: Who saves us from our sin? Only Jesus saves us from our sin.
Session starter activity:
Easy-to-make Palm Branches
- Green construction paper (or you can use white paper and later color in green) – 4 sheets per person
- 4-8 popsicle sticks, craft sticks, or 1 large stick from the yard (per person)
- glue or glue stick (or just use tape)
- Using the construction or white paper, outline the hand of each person 6-10 times.
- If using white paper, color each handprint green.
- Cut out each handprint.
- Stick two handprints together, fingers pointing outward, securing with glue or tape.
- Repeat step 4 with the remaining handprints. Have one set of handprint fingers pointed upward to be used as the top of the palm branch.
- Overlap each group of two handprints upward, placing the group with the fingers that point up on top. Secure with glue or tape.
- Tape the popsicle, craft sticks, or a stick from the yard to the back.
Say: In our story today, people welcomed Jesus by waving palm branches and laying them on the ground for His donkey to walk over. Does that seem like a strange way to greet someone? How might you welcome someone special to your town or home?
Wave your palm branches at the appropriate time as you read today’s Bible passages.
Big picture question and Bible Timeline:
Over the last two weeks we’ve learned that Jesus is God the Son. God the Son has always existed; no one created Him. God planned to send His Son to earth to save people from sin. Jesus came to earth as a baby, to God’s chosen mother, Mary.
Fast forward 33 years. Our story today, found in all four Gospels, takes place a week before Jesus would die on the cross for our sins. He had been traveling all over Judea and Samaria performing miracles, teaching people about God, and showing love to everyone. Many people knew that He is the Messiah, but they didn’t exactly know what that meant. They were excited to see Him though!
For the next two weeks, we are going to try to answer an important question: Who saves us from our sin? Even if you think that’s an easy question, listen closely to our story to find out how we know the answer.
Tell the Bible Story: Read Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19 (possibly divvy up passages among family members; have your palm branches ready!)
Say: What a celebration! God had promised to send a Messiah. The prophet Zechariah even said that this day would come. Zechariah 9:9 says, “Look, your King is coming to you; He is righteous and victorious, humble and riding on a donkey.”
Isn’t that surprising? If you were a king riding into a city, what kind of animal would you choose to ride? (Allow responses.) You might ride something like a big, strong horse to show off your power. But that’s not what Jesus did. He came humbly on a donkey.
Crowds gathered, and people welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King. They knew He was the Messiah, and they couldn’t wait for Him to set up His kingdom. But the people didn’t understand that it wasn’t time for Jesus to set up His kingdom. Jesus wasn’t going to overthrow the government and give the people military victory over their enemies – not yet. He had come to save people in a greater way by rescuing them spiritually, freeing them from sin and death.
Just a week after people welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King, they ended up turning on Him. On Palm Sunday, people welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King, only to ask the governor to crucify Him seven days later. Thankfully, nothing can stop God’s plan!
Jesus’ death was part of God’s plan all along. Jesus’ death made the way for us to be forgiven of sin and live forever with God. Who saves us from our sin? Only Jesus saves us from our sin. When Jesus endured the cross, God turned what looked like utter defeat into the greatest victory ever! Jesus established the kingdom of heaven and opened the doors for us to be invited in. One day, He will return as the conquering King the people expected two thousand years ago. When He does, He will fix everything in the world and remove all evil. Then those who believe in Him will live with God forever!
Bible Review Questions:
- Why had many Israelites traveled to Jerusalem? (to celebrate the Passover, John 12:12)
- How many disciples did Jesus send into a village ahead of them? (two, Matt. 21:1)
- What did the disciples find in the village? (a young donkey, Mark 11:2)
- What did the people spread on the road in front of Jesus? (their robes and palm branches, Mark 11:8)
- What word did the people say that means “save now”? (Hosanna, Mark 11:9-10)
- Who asked Jesus to quiet the disciples? (the religious leaders, Luke 19:39)
- Jesus said if the disciples were quiet, what would praise Him? (the rocks, Luke 19:40)
- Whom did Jesus heal in the temple complex? (people who were blind and lame, Matt. 21:14)
- Where did Jesus go to spend the night? (Bethany, Matt. 21:17)
- Which prophet said Jesus would come, riding on a donkey? (Zechariah, Zech. 9:9)
- What will Jesus ride when He comes again one day? (a white horse, Rev. 19:11)
- Who saves us from our sin? Only Jesus saves us from our sin.
Say: We heard in our Bible passages today that people welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem as their King. They celebrated Him! But Jesus was not the type of king the people expected. They hoped for a king who would overthrow the Romans.
Later that week, Jesus was arrested and killed. But we know the whole story – Jesus did not stay dead! We will hear more about what happened next week.
Key verse review:
Have the kids find the key passage (Romans 10:9) in the Bible and copy it onto a notecard or paper. Work on reading it and/or memorizing it over the next two weeks.
Spend some time praying as a family.
Here’s a free coloring page the kids can print out if they would like: