Matthew 21: 1-11. Mark 11: 1-11. Luke 19: 28-44. John 12: 12-19
Better late than never O.o Palm Sunday is upon us! Which means Easter is almost here! But before we start getting too excited about the joys of Easter, we have Holy week to prepare us. While Holy Week is massively important to the build up to Easter not all churches host child friendly services for Maundy Thursday or Good Friday or perhaps you will not be hosting Sunday School during these days. So we are focusing purely on Palm Sunday for the moment and will probably upload some activities for Holy Week services in the week.
Today is Palm Sunday, this is the day that marks the last week of Lent, we are just seven days from Easter. Your church may have participated in a procession around the church in which case you may want to explain why it is you have done so; to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.
The BBC have a short video here, more suited to a younger audience, explaining Palm Sunday which you may want to use instead of an introduction.
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem appears in all four of the gospels so it is up to you which one you use. Whichever one you use the themes are the same; Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey to crowds of cheering people.
Ask the children if they have ever waited for a celebrity before? If anyone has been lucky enough to wait for someone like the Queen to arrive you would see the streets thronged with people, all waiting to glimpse her and cheering when she arrives. That is what it was like this day in Jerusalem. Everyone had heard about Jesus’ miracles and teachings, so when he decided to come to Jerusalem everyone crowded around shouting blessings on him and laying palms at his feet.
But think about what the people were expecting. They thought they were there to welcome a king. Ask the children what they think a king looks like. We have some worksheets here . Print them out and ask the children to just loosely dress up the figure in the attire of a king. Compare their ideas to what Jesus actually looked like.
Ask them what kind of transport a king would have? How do rich people travel? They use planes or fancy cars. Would anyone have expected a king to show up in plain robes on a donkey? Jesus wasn’t even wearing a crown! But Jesus is a heavenly king not an earthly one. He does not wear the finery of a king because he teaches us such things are not important. It is what we do with our hearts that matter, not the clothes we wear.
Palm Sunday is tinged with sadness. Just think, in just a few short days the people that cheer Jesus on and are so happy to see him are calling for his crucifixion! Jesus knew that this would be the case. Yet he still went! Think about times you know something bad is about to happen, would you embrace it or run away? Jesus must have felt like saying, ‘I don’t want to go to Jerusalem’ but He did anyway, even though He knew the people would betray him, even his disciples would! But He went, because His death on the cross would save us all.
Activity (for older children)
This activity is good for older children or young teens, it can also be developed into an Easter project. Give everyone a Bible. The class can produce a newspaper relating the events of Easter, starting with Palm Sunday. Ask them how they would lay it out, what they think would be important to include, who would they interview? What would they say? How might an interview with a pharisee differ from that of a disciple? What about just a passer by? What would they have heard about Jesus? Would they write it from the perspective of a believer or a non believer? These are just some starter questions to get the ball rolling, you will be surprised at how quickly the paper takes on a life of its own. They might even produce a full blown paper with various Easter features rather than just a single news item. This can also be incorporated later in the week for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.
– Any excuse to make a crown! Here are some printable crown shapes that you can print out before hand. During the lesson it is just a case of colouring them in or sticking down whatever craft materials (feathers, crepe paper, stars, glitter etc) that you have available to you.
You will need:
– If you can acquire some palm leaves the children can use them to paint a picture. Simply separate the palms into individual leaves.
Cover the leaves in paint and press them against the paper to make palm prints over the page. Use different coloured paint to make a vibrant picture.
You will need:
Green paper (or white paper and green colouring pencils)
Tape or glue
– Cut out a long, strip of green paper.
– On separate paper draw around your hand eight times. Cut out the hands, these are your ‘palms’.
– Tape the ‘palms’ to the strip in twos, working your way up the strip, each hand pointing away from the others. On each hand you can write a Bible verse relating to Jesus’ entry or ‘Hosannah’.