Palm Sunday Celebration

Children's Message | by Terry Taylor

Terry writes, "I like to emphasize the celebratory atmosphere regarding Jesus riding into Jerusalem, and then on Good Friday remind the children of how the people had all been excited about Jesus just a few days before and now they wanted to crucify him. Some of the things I mention are particular to Scotland, but I'm sure there will be cultural equivalents elsewhere." 

Editor's note: This message is used in conjunction with Terry's food craft, Candy Palm Tree. I think everyone will enjoy the taste of Scotland that she brings to her message! 

Props – Balloons, streamers, flag, Candy Palm Tree, the palm branches can be taken off and used as bookmarks, a children’s Bible.

Introduce the holiday/celebration theme. We look forward to certain things happening during holidays and special times. 
Christmas– receiving gifts
Easter– finding eggs
Birthday– having parties and opening presents
Weddings– party and gifts

Does anyone know what’s special about today? It’s Palm Sunday, when we remember Jesus going up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. Passover is a special time for the Jewish people; it is a day when they remember and celebrate the time when God saved them from being slaves in Egypt.

Some of you have probably heard the story of Moses leading the people across the Red Sea. Well, at that time God saved the people from the Egyptians and gave them their own land to live in. He also promised them that one day he would send someone very special, to be their King. This person would be the Messiah, the one who would rule over the people, caring for them like a shepherd cares for his sheep. So for hundreds and hundreds of years the Jewish people celebrated and looked forward to the promise of the Messiah when they celebrated the Feast of the Passover. They believed that God would one day send them a very special king to be their ruler, a king who would never be cruel or bad to his people. The Jews liked going to Jerusalem, their capital city, to celebrate the Passover. 

This is what happened one year when Jesus was going up to Jerusalem for the Passover: 

The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." John 12:12-15 (You may want to read this from a children's Bible.)

The palm branches were used to show Jesus that the people were pleased to see him, in fact they probably thought that he was the King they were expecting, because of all the wonderful things He had been doing. Can you tell me some of the miracles Jesus did? That’s why they were all very excited about him.

Does anyone know why July 1st 1999 was a special day? (Opening of the Scottish parliament.) People were excited and lots of people turned up to be in Edinburgh on such an important day in Scotland’s history. Were any of you there? 

Have you ever seen people waving flags? A bit like this one. Well just a bit, this is a home made one, one I made earlier. Can you think of anytime that we would wave flags? (Someone important coming, to a town or city.) I remember a few years ago, when Queen Elizabeth visited Cumbernauld. I was living there at the time and lots of people went to the town center to see her. Many people even had wee plastic flags to wave. When else might we see people waving flags? (Maybe when a football/rugby team won a match?) 

At other times we wave banners, or balloons and streamers in celebration. Confetti, we use that at weddings, and that’s about promises too, two people promising to love each other for the rest of their lives.

The palm branches were used like we use these things today, they were a symbol of triumph and victory and were used in times of great rejoicing. And the people were rejoicing, because they were shouting to Jesus, "Hosanna, blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord." They also placed palm branches on the ground before him. They were using them to celebrate the coming of the King that God had promised them hundreds of years before. 

Now you may take these wee palm trees into Sunday school, you may each take a palm branch to use as a bookmark, and there’s also a surprise in the tree trunk. I’ll give you a wee hint, we’ve been talking about Celebrating!

Copyright 2000 Terry Taylor - All Rights Reserved

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