Palm Sunday Bible Study for Kids from John 12:12-19

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This Sunday School lesson about Palm Sunday was designed for parents to use with their children at home on the week of April 5, 2020. Everything is included in the PDF download below (teaching notes, coloring pages, craft directions, game ideas, and worksheets). Use what is most helpful for your kids and ignore the rest. Families can also watch our children’s message, suggested music, and craft demonstration in the video playlist below.

Virtual Sunday School Lesson for Palm Sunday

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Jesus on Palm Sunday

“In Home” Sunday School Study from John 12:12-19

It’s that time…almost Easter! The final countdown…Holy Week is (or at least, should be) a joyous and also a contemplative time in our church year. In fact, Easter should really be the key holiday, as the Resurrection is so pivotal and essential to our faith. Unfortunately, modern commercial hype sometimes breezes by Easter with a few marshmallow bunnies and a nod at some colorful eggs. This year, get ready for the Paschal celebration by thinking about the week leading up to it. This lesson kicks off Holy Week with a look at Palm Sunday. 

Lesson focus: Jesus came to save people who were needy and hurting. There were many people who recognized that He was special, and wanted Him to save them. Others did not understand who Jesus was, and wanted to hurt Him. The way that Christ lived and died did not meet anyone’s expectations; but He did the will of God.

Bible Passage: John 12:12-19

Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade (or whoever you might have at home!)

Materials Needed: Green construction paper, scissors, paper towel tubes or popsicle sticks, glue or tape, noisemakers, coats, branches.

Game and Lesson Introduction

Lesson Opening: Palm Sunday is a great time to have fun with some creative and energetic activities! Many options are possible, especially in the comfort of your own home. Select from one of the following openers, or make up one of your own! 

After a couple of fun activities, find out what kids already know or remember about the week before Easter. What is coming up? What are we excited about on Palm Sunday? What does it all mean? Explain that today we’ll find out what was going on with Jesus and the donkey parade…

Ask: What do people do to honor celebrities today? Who do you think is important or worthy of a parade?  

Palm Sunday Bible Study for Kids from John

How you choose to experience the story will vary according to the ages and abilities of your children (and how many are participating). For younger children, you may wish to use a children’s or storybook version of the Bible, and explain details as you go.

Older kids can take turns helping to read the story. You can also make this interactive, and encourage everyone to get in on the action. You might find a short video version to reinforce it. Or even have students draw as you go…it’s all up to the kids and their learning styles.

*Note: the story of the Palm Sunday processional appears in all four of the Gospels. This one is from John, but feel free to explore the other versions, as well.

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”  -John 12:12-13

Talk about what is happening here. Right before this, Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead. He brought a dead guy back to life, so it certainly makes sense that people would crowd around to see what He might do next!

They wanted to make Jesus a king, to have Him save them from political oppression. They waved palm branches to welcome Him into town and celebrate Him. It was sort of like waving pom-poms at a game or rally. The word “Hosanna” means “Save us.” The people wanted Jesus to save them and be their king. Well, He already was their king, but not exactly in the ways they expected…

*Ask: Can you think of some ways that Jesus did not always do what was expected of Him?

Continue with the method in which Jesus came:

And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
    sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him.  -John 12:14-16

Okay, so what’s the big deal with riding a baby donkey? Well, a couple of significant things were taking place here. For one thing, riding a donkey was an indication of peace. Jesus was not storming in on a grand war-horse, ready to swoop in and raise riots. He was coming gently, indicating that His kingdom was one of peace.
He was also fulfilling a prophecy. Do you know what a prophecy is or what it means? People long before Jesus lived spoke things about what was going to happen. One of those prophets had spoken about this:

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. -Zechariah 9:9

The disciples didn’t quite put the pieces together at the time, but later they realized that Jesus was exactly carrying out the words of that prophet.

*Ask: has there ever been a time when you didn’t understand something right away, and realized later how significant it was?

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18 The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19 So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” -John 12:17-19

So why was the crowd so excited about Jesus? As we read here, they were impressed by His miracles, and had seen Him raise Lazarus. They wanted to celebrate Him. This is a joyous and festive occasion, and the people almost realized how important Jesus was…but not quite. They didn’t quite comprehend the kind of King that Jesus was. Not a king who would conquer enemies with swords and rule over others. He was a leader who came to serve, and who lived to die. The enemies He came to conquer were not flesh and blood, but sin, death, and the devil.
Of course, the Pharisees were not too pleased to see Jesus so praised and lifted up.

All along, they had wanted to find a way to get rid of Him. They watch from the sidelines, disgusted at the celebration. And within a few days of this happy welcome parade, they would have Jesus arrested, beaten, and killed. The Messiah had the power to stop them. He could have wiped them out with a glance, or changed what they were doing. He could have escaped. But that would not have fulfilled His mission.

That’s not the kind of king He came to be. So as we celebrate Palm Sunday and get ready for Holy Week, we rejoice in who Christ was, and who He IS in our lives today. Hosanna! 

Children’s Message on the Holy Week of Jesus

This children’s sermon message is included in the combined lesson download above.

Palm Sunday Craft Ideas

These crafts for Palm Sunday are included in the combined lesson plan above.

Palm Sunday Coloring Pages

These coloring pages on Palm Sunday and Messiah coloring pages are included in the combined lesson plan above.

Palm Sunday Bible Story for Kids

More Teaching Activities fro Palm Sunday

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