Hello and welcome to Sunday School on the 21st February, this week is the first Sunday of Lent. I hope everyone is happy and well today! For the next part of this term we are going to be looking at the events that lead us up to Easter. This is called Holy week.
Today we are going to look at the story of Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy week. You will find the story for you to read below along with two links to YouTube Palm Sunday stories (the Lego one is lots of fun for younger children!). The story is about Jesus’s last trip to Jerusalem where people laid out green palms from the trees in front of Jesus.
There are some fun and easy Palm Sunday makings and songs for you to try at home. I hope you have fun and enjoy learning all about Palm Sunday.
The story of Palm Sunday is told in the Gospel of Matthew, book 21, chapters 1-17 (Matthew 21:1-17).
1) The gospel tells the story of Jesus’ triumphant ride into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey.
2) Jesus understood that, following God’s plan, this was to be his last trip into Jerusalem
3) People laid down palms in front of him as a sign of honour.
4) Jesus’ actions including sending disciples ahead for a donkey and his response to the priests was to point out that what was happening was part of God’s promise.
The Palm Sunday Story
Rebekah and Simon were helping their mother unpack the special food that she’d bought at the market for their Passover meal later in the week. The fruit and nuts smelt delicious, and the children could hardly wait for Thursday night to come.
Suddenly their dad stood up and hurried to the window. ‘What are those men doing with our donkey?’ he said. Flinging open the door, he yelled out to the people outside, ‘Who said you could untie that animal? Bring it back right now!’
Rebekah could just hear their reply: ‘It’s all right. The Lord needs it. You’ll have your donkey back by the end of the day.’
‘The Lord? You mean Jesus of Nazareth? Is he in town again?’
‘Yes, he’ll be in Jerusalem for Passover. He’s going up there now, just to have a look around.’
‘Well, OK, take the donkey, of course. But tell Jesus to be gentle with her. She’s never been ridden before.’
‘Can you imagine Jesus doing her any harm?’ laughed the man. ‘See you later.’
Simon and Rebekah looked at each other. They’d heard amazing stories about Jesus of Nazareth, but they’d never seen him for real. ‘Can we go?’ Simon asked, breathlessly.
‘What, with the donkey?’ said their mother. ‘Yes, I suppose so. If we trust Jesus with her, I guess we can trust him with you. Hurry up, then. They’ll be gone!’
The children skipped out of the house and ran to catch up with the two men. It was a bit of a walk up the hill to where Jesus himself was waiting, on the Mount of Olives. Simon and Rebekah hung back when they saw him, feeling shy, but Jesus said, ‘You’ve brought some friends, then, Philip?’ and held out his hands to them.
Before long, the children felt as if they’d known him for ever. They watched as Jesus stroked their donkey’s head and sat carefully on her back. Then the whole party—Jesus on the donkey, his twelve disciples, Simon and Rebekah—set off down the other side of the hill, towards Jerusalem.
As they walked down the stony road, more children caught sight of the little procession and ran to join it. A few grown-ups came over to see what the children were doing, and when they saw Jesus, they tagged on to the group as well. By the time they reached the valley and started climbing yet another hill, crowds of people were starting to gather by the side of the road.
Suddenly, Simon heard someone call out, ‘The prophecy! Remember the prophecy! Our king is coming to us, riding on a donkey! He’s the king, the Son of David!’ At once, a great shout went up: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna to the King of kings!’
People reached up to the tall palm trees round about and ripped off whole branches, waving them in the air as they sang praises to God. Others threw their coats on the ground to make a soft carpet for the little donkey to walk on, and everyone was dancing and cheering.
Rebekah loved parties, and she didn’t want this one ever to end. But then she looked up and gasped as she caught a first sight of the great city of Jerusalem, its whitewashed buildings shining in the sunlight. ‘Wow! I never realised how beautiful it is,’ she whispered.
At last they were at the gate to the city. Jesus climbed down from the donkey and handed her back to Simon. ‘Thank your parents for lending her to me,’ he said. Rebekah pulled on his sleeve. ‘Are you really going to be our king?’ she asked.
Jesus put his hand on her head and smiled. ‘One day very soon,’ he said, and walked through the gate into the jostling crowd.
Palm Sunday You Tube Videos
For older children
Lego Palm Sunday story for younger children
Palm Sunday Prayer
Dear Jesus, we thank you! You did not enter your holy city Jerusalem on the back of a war horse, but humbly and on a donkey. You knew that you were surrounded by enemies, yet you came in peace.
We pray today that your kingdom may truly come so that your people can live in peace. Watch over us this Holy week and draw us nearer to yourself in faith, hope and love. Amen.
Here are some Palm Sunday Activities for you to download:
Here are some songs to sing with children to celebrate Palm Sunday:
- The Concordia Publishing House offers an array of free Palm Sunday song downloads for kids including ‘Celebrate Jesus! At Easter’.
- YouTube offers a karaoke style ‘Hosanna‘ song complete with music and lyrics.
- Worship Workshop offers ‘Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelu, Hallelujah‘ for download to play for kids on Palm Sunday.
- On Vimeo, you can watch and sing along with the song ‘From Us.‘