“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!” Matthew 21:7-9 NIV
Palm Sunday was yesterday. It is the beginning of what we call Holy Week. It is the week from Palm Sunday, when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time, to Easter Sunday, also known as Resurrection Sunday.
Holy Week goes from celebration and excitement to sorrow and sadness with the death of Jesus. But I want you to know that all of this was God’s plan from the beginning, from the first sin of Adam and Eve. God knew we all needed forgiveness and mercy and so He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our sacrifice once and for all. Jesus loves us so much that He willingly accepted the cross and our sins on Himself. He accepted this death so that we could live.
We begin our story on Palm Sunday. People from all over Israel are coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Jesus, His disciples and many of His followers are also coming for the celebrations. The disciples borrow a donkey and lay their cloaks on its back. Jesus rides through the city streets. The people lay down their cloaks and palm branches in the road ahead of Him. The people are joyful and shout praises. Hosanna means Savior. They welcome Jesus with a parade! A celebration!
During this week, Jesus spends time in the temple. He chases the money changers and sellers out of the temple. Jesus also teaches the people. He tells parables, stories, to help explain the kingdom of God or teach a lesson. He also heals the many who come to Him.
But the religious leaders at the temple, the Pharisees, even though they have seen the miracles and heard the wisdom of His words, they have hardened their hearts and won’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. And they begin to talk about how to get rid of Him.
The leaders try to find false witnesses against Jesus. They finally find one of Jesus’ own disciples who agrees to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Judas waits for his opportunity to lead them to Jesus. Jesus and His disciples celebrate the Passover meal together. Jesus tells them about His coming death and the new covenant that is for all who believe in Him and His Father God who sent Him.
Jesus goes to pray to His Father God in the garden. Judas enters with a crowd armed with swords and clubs. Judas identifies Jesus with a kiss and Jesus is arrested. The other disciples flee. Jesus is found worthy of death and sent to die on the cross. Sadness and sorrow.
This week talk to your parents about Palm Sunday and Holy Week. Draw a picture of the joy of Palm Sunday or of Jesus in the temple. Ask your parents to read you one of Jesus’ parables (He told lots!). Share the sorrow of Jesus’ death on the cross.
But wait…next week is Easter Sunday and the wonder and promise of the resurrection of Jesus! He is alive!
Blessings and a wonderful Holy Week!