Lesson: Palm Sunday – Jesus Rides into Jerusalem on a Donkey

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids about both Jesus’ identity and the need to respect the church as a holy place.

Needed: Bibles, construction paper, old clothes, balloons

Worship Activity: Mini Church Service 

To help kids understand that the church is a holy place, take some time to walk through the elements of a church service. Do any or all of the following:

Sing a praise song.

Choose a student to lead a prayer.

Choose a student to tell what a Bible passage or verse means.

Choose one or more students to give a testimony or praise.

Take an offering.

Choose a student to make an announcement.

After each element, ask how that action helps us give respect to God.


Read Matthew 21:1-3.

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’”

How did Jesus know that there would be a donkey in a certain spot for Him to ride on? (God knows everything and God told Jesus about where the donkey would be.)

(Read Matthew 21:4-11.)

“This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to Daughter Zion, “See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”’

“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted,

“’Hosanna to the Son of David!

“’Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’

“‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’

“The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’

Why were all the people waving palm branches for Jesus and putting their clothes on the road for His donkey to walk on?

They had seen and heard about all the miracles He had been doing. They believed that Jesus was a great prophet from God and were waving the branches to welcome Him into Jerusalem. They believed that Jesus should be their new king. It’s like they were having a parade for Him.

(Read Matthew 21:12-13.)

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ He said to them, ‘”My house will be called a house of prayer,” but you are making it “a den of robbers.”’

Why did Jesus wreck the stuff of the people selling things in the Temple?

The Temple was the church for the people back then. The church is supposed to be a special place where people can come and pray and worship God. It isn’t supposed to be used for a store or for a place where people try to make money.

(Read Matthew 21:14-15.)

“The blind and the lame came to Him at the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things He did and the children shouting in the temple courts, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant.”

What were the children saying about Jesus? (Hosanna to the Son of David!)

It means, “Praise to the Son of David.” They were saying it to Jesus because they knew Jesus was a descendant of King David. The children knew who Jesus was, and Jesus loves it when children praise Him!

Game: Palm Tree Parade Relay 

Cut out palm leaves from construction paper and gather clothes into two piles. Divide kids into two teams. Place the piles of clothes at the end of the room.

Teams must relay to lay out the clothes from their team‘s starting line to the clothes pile, so the first student from each teams runs down to the clothes pile, then brings something back to lay right in front of their team’s line. The second student runs down and lays a second piece of clothing in front of the first until the teams have a line of clothes stretching from the team’s line to the original pile of clothes.

Each student then must take turns getting a balloon down and back by waving their palm leaves to push it along their clothes path.

Remind students about how the people waved palm branches and laid their clothes on the road when Jesus came into Jerusalem.

Closing Prayer

Jesus, You are the King. Help us to worship You like You deserve and respect Your church as a holy place. Amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, He Came, He Saw, He Conquered.

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