Bible Lesson: Jesus' Final Days: The Triumphal Entry

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This Palm Sunday Lesson was created for a small group of children between the ages of 6-9.  They will discover that the greatest need for all people is to be forgiven from their sins.
Bible Passage: Matthew 21
Bible Story Title: Jesus’ Final Days: The Triumphal Entry
Target Age Group:  Ages 6-11 (K-5th Grade U.S.A.)
Target Time Frame: 60 Minutes
Original Teaching Context: Sunday School
Supply List:  Bibles, activity sheets, pens, pencils, pictures/objects for needs & wants activity
Learning Goal:  Students will learn that our greatest need is to be forgiven from our sin.
Learning Activity #1:  Activity pages
Learning Activity #2: Introduction to Bible lesson-Needs & Wants.  Have items/pictures of things we need to live and things that we want but don’t need to live.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: “And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

Bible Lesson:  The Triumphal Entry

(Begin with prayer)
What are some things that you and I need to live? (Allow responses) What are some things that you want that aren’t necessary to live? (Allow responses) (Optional: Have pictures or objects of things that we need/want and ask students to say if the item is a need or want.)
God knows all that we need and want. The most important need all people have is forgiveness of sins. We just named things that we needed to live. Food, air and water are very important to have to stay alive. However, sometimes we may have those things and die. After we die we will either live forever in heaven with God or separated from Him in a place called hell. Since none of us know when we will die, do you understand why I just said the most important need all people have is forgiveness of sins?
For the next couple of weeks our lessons will allow us to turn our eyes to the Easter story. Let’s turn to Matthew 21.
For 3 years, Jesus the Son of God had been teaching God’s people how to live a life that pleases God. He showed God’s power by healing many people.
Before Jesus was born and Joseph had learned that Mary was pregnant and they were not yet married, an angel told Joseph to take Mary as his wife because she was going to give birth to God’s Son.  Joseph was told to name God’s Son Jesus because He would save the people from their sins (Mat. 1:18-23). Jesus’ name was a reminder for the main reason He came to this earth. He came to provide for our greatest need, to be saved from our sins.
We have been studying the prophets in the Old Testament for the past few months. It is exciting that today as we turn to Jesus’ final days on earth we will get to look back at how the words that the prophets spoke came true in our lesson about Jesus today.
Let’s get into the story from the Bible today and as we listen to this familiar story we are going to see how God’s prophets spoke about this very story many, many years ago and it happened just as God said it would.
Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem. Because Jesus is fully God and fully man, He knows what is going to take place in the coming days. As they are on the way to Jerusalem and were near the Mount of Olives, He tells two of His disciples to go into the village and get a colt and bring it back to Him. Jesus told them, “If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” (Mark 11:3)
The disciples went into the village and they found the colt and his mother tied to a post outside on the street (Mark 11:4). They went over to the donkeys and began untying them just as Jesus said. The owners of the donkeys said, “What are you doing untying them?”(Luke 19:33) The disciples said exactly what Jesus had commanded them to say. And just as Jesus said, the owner let them take the donkey and her colt to Jesus. Jesus told them what would happen and it happened just like He said.
God’s prophet Zechariah wrote about this event over 700 years before it happened. (Have a volunteer read Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”)
When the disciples brought the colt back to Jesus they placed some clothes on the colt’s back and Jesus sat on it. As Jesus rode this young donkey into Jerusalem and the people saw Him coming, they began to lay their clothes on the road and they cut palm branches (John 12:13) from the trees and spread them on the road. The palm leaves in these times symbolized triumph and victory.
Many people were in Jerusalem at this time because it was the week before Passover. God’s people had travelled from many different cities so they could celebrate and worship in Jerusalem. When the crowd saw Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem began to praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen. Our memory verse tells us how the crowd responded “And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9
At the time that Jesus was entering Jerusalem riding a donkey, God’s people were being mistreated by the Roman government. They were shouting hosanna which means “Oh save!”  When the crowds saw Jesus riding a donkey they welcomed Him as their king. God’s people felt that their greatest need was to be rescued from the Roman government and they thought Jesus was coming as the King to save them from the Roman government. God knew what they felt they needed but He knew that their greatest need was to be forgiven for their sins.
Jesus riding a donkey was symbolic of a king coming in peace. If a king came in riding a horse it meant he was coming to fight a war. Jesus came into this world the first time fully God and fully man to bring peace with God for sinful people. One day Jesus will return riding a white horse and He will come to conquer His enemies (Revelation 19:11-16) but on this day He came to provide for our greatest need. What is our greatest need? (To be forgiven of our sins)
When Jesus was in Jerusalem He went into the temple and was angered at what He saw. He saw people buying and selling animals for sacrifice in the temple. He drove all the people out of the temple who were buying and selling and overturned the tables. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of robbers.’”
Jesus was quoting something that the prophet Isaiah spoke about in his day. He said, “For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7
When John wrote about this incident in John 2:13-17, he said in verse 17 “Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (Psalm 69:9) Once again something that God prophesied through His prophets many years ago was happening through the life of His Son Jesus.
While Jesus was in the temple blind and lame people came to Him and He healed them.
While all these things were taking place Jesus had some critics standing their watching His every move. The chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that Jesus did, they could hear the little children praising Jesus as they sang, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” and yet they were indignant. Indignant means to feel or express anger. They were angry at the things they saw.
They wanted the children to stop! The religious leaders didn’t understand that their greatest need was to be forgiven of their sins. They didn’t believe Jesus was God’s Son. They didn’t love Jesus. They hated Jesus so much they wanted to kill Him. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”
As we close our Bible lesson we can have great joy as the crowds did on the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem. We have God’s complete written Word so we know that a week later after this event Jesus died on the cross so our sins could be forgiven.
Celebrating Easter is a reminder that Jesus came into this world to die in our place so we could have forgiveness for sins. When He shed His blood on the cross He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because Jesus was sinless, His death fully satisfied God’s anger toward sin. In order to be forgiven from our sins we must repent of our sin and believe that Jesus died on the cross, was buried and rose again 3 days later.
Let’s take a few moments of silence to thank Jesus for providing for our greatest need to be forgiven for our sins. Close in prayer.
Review Questions: 

1. What did Jesus send 2 disciples to get for him? (a donkey and her colt)
2. What were the disciples to say if anyone questioned them for taking the donkey? (The Lord needs them)
3. Which prophet wrote about a king riding a donkey? (Zechariah)
4. Who was the king that Zechariah wrote about? (Jesus)
5. What does it mean if a king rides a donkey? (They are coming to make peace)
6. What does it mean if a king rides a white horse? (They are coming to make war)
7. What did the people think their greatest need was? (To be rescued from the Roman government)
8. What is the most important need all people have? (To be forgiven of their sins)

Image courtesy of Sweet Publishing and Distant Shores Media

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