THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM

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1 BOOK 3, PART 1, LESSON 1 THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM THE BIBLE: Luke 19:29-40 THEME: We remember that Jesus taught about love and showed love in everything he did. During Lent and Easter, we remember and celebrate God s love made known in Jesus. PREPARING FOR THE LESSON MAIN IDEA: When Jesus entered Jerusalem, people praised God for the things they had seen Jesus do. On Palm Sunday, we praise God for Jesus. wonderful MEMORY VERSE: Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory to God. Luke 19:38 CEV KEY WORDS AND CONCEPTS TO BE LEARNED: a. Passover - One of the most important annual Jewish festivals celebrating the night that God freed his people from Egypt. b. Holy Week - The last week in Jesus life. c. Palm Sunday - The Sunday before Easter when we remember Jesus entry into Jerusalem. d. Holy Friday - The day of Jesus death on the cross. e. Easter - The day that we celebrate Jesus resurrection. BIBLE BACKGROUND FOR TEACHERS: When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, large crowds had gathered to cheer him. They had waited long for this Messiah. Jesus knew, however, that his death was soon to follow. Jesus rode down from the Mount of Olives on the back of a borrowed donkey, not on a horse like a great military leader of the time. The humble donkey was a symbol of peace and not military might. (Luke 19:29-40) Not everyone was celebrating that day though. The religious leaders were nervous at what they saw. The Jewish people were living under Roman rule and the existing peace was delicate. As long as the Jewish people didn t cause trouble, they were allowed to carry out their religious lives pretty much as they had before the occupation. But the leaders were unsure about Jesus and his followers. UNDERSTANDING YOUR STUDENTS: This is the first lesson of seven lessons about Lent and Easter. Children can relate easily to the Christmas story. The Christmas message is Christ was born, a gift to all. Children may have some difficulties, however, understanding the Easter message. Christ suffered and died as a substitute for us all. Christ conquered death and guaranteed that we all can have a new life. For younger children, the emphasis should

2 be on the reason for Christ s suffering, which is love, and not on the details of his suffering. This lesson is about the joy and enthusiasm people had at the beginning of Holy Week. Children easily overflow with enthusiasm. Allow their enthusiasm to help you teach. Only by expressing their feeling of joy and excitement can they understand how the crowd felt about Jesus. DEVELOPING YOUR FAITH: Read Luke 19:37. The crowds began praising God for the mighty works they had seen. Have you offered praise today for the things God has done for you? Do you recognize and acknowledge God s blessing in your life? Make it a habit to praise God before making requests each time you pray. Read Luke 19: Jesus said that if the people were quiet even the stones would cry out. Where do you see creation proclaiming God s greatness? Read Psalm 118:24. How will you rejoice in this day that the Lord has made? Do others see you as a joyful person? Pray that God will help you recognize and choose joy in your life. 1. INTRODUCTION TEACHING THE LESSON Greet the children and make them feel special and welcome. Talk about a parade or waiting for a special person to come to town. ASK: Have you seen a parade? How do people act when they see a parade? Why do you think they feel that way? SAY: In Bible times there were special days when all people left what they were doing and, if they were physically able, went to Jerusalem to worship in the Temple. Passover was one of those times. Everyone who could make the trip to Jerusalem did so even Jesus and his friends. There was a parade of people on the roads coming into the city. SAY: In today s Bible story, the people are excited about the arrival of one person in particular. They have heard about him. They have heard about all that he has done. Now they want to see him for themselves. Who do you think it is? SAY: Yes, you are right. They were waiting for Jesus. 2. EXPLORE THE BIBLE MESSAGE SAY: I am going to tell you a story about the time Jesus entered Jerusalem, but I need your help. Just like the people in the crowd cheered when Jesus came, I want you to cheer. I will tell you the story and when I raise my hand, I want you to cheer. But instead of just yelling out, I want you to say Hosanna! He comes in the name of the Lord!. Let s practice.

3 (Have the students repeat the phrase after you. If appropriate, have them raise their hand or other gestures of joy and enthusiasm.) Tell the story. Remember to raise your hand at the appointed places as a signal for the children to cheer. Passover was coming. Passover is the most important Jewish festival day. The Jewish Law said that everyone who could travel must go the Temple in Jerusalem to celebrate this special day. (Raise your hands the children cheer.) Jesus and his friends were making preparations to go to Jerusalem. They traveled down the road with many of their other friends from Galilee. When they came to the edge of the village, Jesus told two of his disciples, Go into the village ahead. There you will find a colt. Untie and bring it to me. (Cheer.) The two disciples did as Jesus had told them. When they came into the village, there was the donkey just as Jesus had promised. One of them began to untie it. Stop! Where are you going with my donkey? shouted the owner of the animal, rushing from the house. The Lord needs it, answered James, just like Jesus told him to say. James could not believe it but the man let him take the donkey. (Cheer.) James and the other disciple, Bartholomew, brought the donkey back to Jesus. They threw their coats over the donkey s back and helped Jesus to get on. Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! the crowd shouted. The word quickly spread among the people along the road into the city. Some of the people from the city heard the news and they used out to greet Jesus and his followers. (Cheer.) Some people spread their coats on the road for the donkey to walk on. Some people broke palm branches from the trees and waved them as Jesus and his friends passed by. (Cheer.) Hosanna! Hosanna! they shouted. (Cheer.) Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! A great noise came from the crowd. (Cheer.) The Pharisees didn t like Jesus very much. Because there were so many people who had come to the city for the Passover, the Pharisees thought that Jesus followers might cause trouble. The Jewish leaders did not want trouble because that would make the Roman soldiers angry. Tell your people to stop shouting, said some of the Pharisees to Jesus. (Cheer.) But Jesus only smiled at them and said, If I told these people to be quiet, then the very stones we are walking on would shout out. Everything that God created would cheer. (Cheer.)

4 The Pharisees looked puzzled. They did not understand that Jesus was truly God s Son. He was not a military leader sent to overthrow the government. He was the one God had sent to teach the people about God and about God s love. But to them, Jesus was nothing but a troublemaker. They began to plan how to get rid of him. ASK: 1. Why did the people rush out to greet Jesus? (They had heard of the wonderful things Jesus had done and they wanted to see him.) 2. What did they say? (They shouted, Hosanna! He comes in the name of the Lord! ) 3. What did they do? (They cheered and waved to Jesus and his followers. Some waved palm branches. Some spread their coats on the ground for the donkey to walk on. Accept other answers.) 4. Was everyone glad to see Jesus? (No, the Pharisees were worried that Jesus may cause trouble. Some thought that he was coming to be the military ruler or king.) 5. What did they ask Jesus to do? (They asked Jesus to tell his followers to be quiet.) 6. What was Jesus response? (He said that if they kept quiet, the rocks would cheer.) 7. What do you think the Pharisees are going to do? (You are asking them for their personal opinion. Therefore, accept any answer.) 3. RESPOND TO THE BIBLE MESSAGE ACTIVITY 1: Talk about Palm Sunday Hold up the Bible. Show the children where they can find the story you have just told them. Tell them that you can find this story in all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. SAY: Today we began the stories of Holy Week. Holy Week is the last week of Jesus life. Our church calls this Palm Sunday. Why? (Accept any answer. Remind the children that the people waved palm branches when they cheered Jesus. If Palm branches are readily available, gather and give to the children some branches to wave when they cheer during the story.) ACTIVITY 2: Make a Rock Choir Preparation: You will need a small rounded rock and glue for each child and some of the following: crayons, markers, paint, fabric, yarn, colored paper and scissors. On the rocks, have the children create faces that resemble

5 persons singing. Recall in the Bible story how the Pharisees told Jesus to quiet his followers, but Jesus said that if the people were quiet, even the stones under their feet would sing praises. Gather the completed rocks together, making a rock choir. The rocks may be glued to a cardboard and left in the classroom until Easter. Talk about how the beautiful things of nature reflect and teach us about God s love and greatness. FOR OLDER CHILDREN ACTIVITY 3: Exploration SAY: The week before Easter is a special time for us in the church. It is a special time to listen to God. Let us explore two things: 1) How did God speak to people in Bible times? 2) How does God speak to us today? DIVIDE the class into groups of three or four. Give each group one of the following Bible verses. Ask them to read the verses and discuss how God spoke to people in those days. (The answers in parentheses are for the teacher only.) Kings 17:16 (Directly) Exodus 3:26 (Burning bush) Luke 2:8-12 (Angels) Genesis 28: (Dream) Acts 8: 26-28, (God spoke to Philip through an angel. He spoke to the Ethiopian man through Philip.) ASK: How does God speak to us today? Encourage discussion. (Some possible answers are: God speaks through parents, pastors, teachers, prayer, music, worship, Sunday school lessons, friends, the beauty of His creation, etc.). 4. CLOSE IN PRAYER Have the children display their Rock Choir. Sing together This is the Day or another song of praise. PRAY: Thank you, God for this beautiful day. We thank you for your gift of Jesus. We know that he is your promise to all people everywhere. We are so happy to be a part of this day you have made. AMEN. Unless indicated, this lesson has been quoted or adapted from New Invitation, Grades 1 & 2, Spring, pages and Creative Ideas for Lent, Volume 3 by Linda S. Davidson; Educational Ministries (Used by permission.).

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