Today we begin our Easter stories. Today’s story can be found in Matthew 21.
Jesus was coming to Jerusalem for Passover (the biggest holiday of the year where the Israelites remembered how God led them out of Egypt away from the bad Pharaoh.)
Jesus sent two of His disciples into the city to find a donkey for Him to ride into town. Jesus had told the people He would be their king, so the Israelites expected Jesus to come on a big horse with a crown. They thought He would get rid of the rulers in Israel and He would be their king. But Jesus came to be King of our HEARTS. He came to serve us and to love us, so instead of coming on a big fancy horse, He rode into town on a little donkey.
Lots of people came to see Jesus! They put their coats on the ground so Jesus and His donkey wouldn’t get all dirty and dusty. They waved branches from the palm trees and shouted “Hosanna!” Which is a way to praise God. “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Many people were very excited to see Jesus, but the leaders were not. They thought Jesus was coming to take their place. “WE are supposed to be the most important people around here!” they whined. “We MUST get rid of Him!” And so they started to make a plan to kill Jesus.
That was exactly what God was planning. God knew Jesus had to die in order to take our sins (bad choices against God) away from us. The people didn’t know that yet, but Jesus knew. He was coming to Jerusalem to save ALL our hearts.
For our craft today we made palm branches. We cut out palm branch shapes from green construction paper and then practiced fringing with scissors. Then we wrote the word “Hosanna” (the kids spelled it how they wanted).
In my first Easter post, we discussed the real meaning of Easter and WHY Easter is important.This time around, we’ll be focusing on the story from Palm Sunday-Easter Sunday.
Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 12
Jesus was coming to Jerusalem celebrate the Passover (a traditional meal, holiday, and time when God’s people remember how He saved Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt). When Jesus got there, He rode into town on a donkey.
Now, most people thought Jesus was going to rise up as a wonderful, majestic King. We know Jesus is the King because He is God’s son…but the people in Jerusalem thought He was going to be an earthly king who would be in charge of everybody and make all the rules. They were excited…and also surprised that He came on a donkey…dressed in regular clothes. (Later in the week, when they realized He would NOT be their earthly king, they got mad and made some bad choices.)
Most of the people gathered together and shouted and laughed and some even spread palm tree branches on the ground as a covering from the dust and dirt. That’s why it’s called Palm Sunday. They shouted “Hosanna” which means “save us!”
The leaders (the chief priests and teachers) did NOT like the people calling Jesus “King” and asking Him to save them. They did not believe He could be God’s son. They were jealous and angry and starting making plans to get rid of Jesus.
How is Jesus like a king?
How was Jesus NOT like a king?
What did the people do when Jesus came to town?
How did the leaders feel about Jesus?
Trace your child’s hand on green construction paper and glue or tape that to a pipe cleaner, popsicle stick or outside stick to make a palm branch.
Washing the Disciples’ Feet
Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover and had spent some time teaching and talking with the people—telling them how God wanted them to live and preparing them for what was about to happen.
In those days, people wore sandals and walked around in the dirt…so their feet were always yucky. It was usually the servant’s job to wash someone’s feet, but Jesus got down and He washed His disciples’ feet. (The disciples were Jesus’ main followers and helpers). They were all very surprised and said “No Jesus! We should wash YOUR feet!” But Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you will not belong to me.” Jesus wasn’t just washing the dirt off their feet, He was talking about washing the dirty sin from their lives. He said we have to let Him wash away all our bad choices—without Jesus, we cannot be truly clean in God’s eyes.
Then Jesus told His disciples “Now that I have washed your feet, make sure you also wash each others’ feet.” Jesus was saying that if you want to really follow God, you have to be a servant and help other people, like Jesus did.
Everyone expected Jesus to come as a high and important king…and instead…He just helped people. There was no job too dirty for Jesus. He would do ANYHTING God asked Him to do.
What did Jesus do for the disciples?
What did Jesus SAY to the disciples?
What does this story say WE should do if we love God? (If your child is old enough, you can make a list of ways to serve others)
Wash the feet of the people in your family—talk about having clean feet, and clean hearts.
Paint the bottom of your child’s feet and make prints on a paper. Write John 13:8 on the picture to help you remember how much we need Jesus.
The Last Supper
Matthew 26; Mark 14
When it was time to eat, Jesus sat down with his 12 disciples (His followers and helpers). One of the disciples, Judas had made a bad choice and had decided to betray Jesus and to give Jesus to the teachers and leaders who didn’t like Him. Jesus knew this was part of God’s plan.
Jesus knew this would be the last time He would eat with His friends—He took some bread and broke into pieces and gave some to everyone and told them “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then He took some wine and everyone drank some wine, then Jesus said, “This is my blood that will be poured out for you…for the forgiveness of your sins.” The disciples didn’t know what Jesus meant. He was telling them that His body would be broken and the leaders would hurt Him and make Him bleed. But Jesus knew that had to happen so that God would forgive everyone for their bad choices (sins). He told His disciples that any time they met together to eat the bread and drink wine, that they should remember His words and that He came to save our hearts.
Sometimes at our churches now, we celebrate what is called “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper” or “Lord’s Table”. That is when everyone in the church who loves Gods eats bread and drinks wine (or juice) and remembers that Jesus loves us and died for us.
What did Jesus say about the bread?
What did He say about the wine?
What do you think happens to Jesus next?
Activities: Have communion in your family-discuss the different parts and thank God for sending Jesus to die for us.
Stay tuned for part 2: Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.