Teaching an Easter story is incredibly difficult.
Well, when you teach Sunday School kids about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem it can feel like explaining Christmas to a bunch of kids.
They already know what’s coming!! Heck – they could probably finish the story for you.
So let me give you 3 specific ideas for making the story of Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem more interesting for the Sunday School regulars who’ve heard it many times before.
1. Don’t start with the donkey
My instinct when I started to prepare to teach this lesson was to begin by talking about the disciples going to get the donkeys Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on.
The problem is that’s not all that interesting for kids to listen to. And I always want to start my lesson with something that will grab their attention.
So, back up a few verses and in John 12 you’ll find that Jesus had dinner at Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ house a few short months after Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. And we learn from passage that the crowds headed to Passover were following Jesus because they had heard about Lazarus coming back to life!
So one of the primary reasons the crowds follow Jesus into Jerusalem is because they’ve either heard or seen him raise Lazarus from the dead!
What I did, was have all the kids stand and walk with me to a different part of the room where I quickly had us pretend that we were Jesus at Lazarus’ tomb. Then together, we all shouted “Lazarus, come forth!”
This event was one of the reasons for the energy of the crowd that followed Jesus into Jerusalem. So why not start your Palm Sunday lesson with it!?
2. It wasn’t really a ‘triumphal’ entry.
We call Jesus entry, ‘triumphal’, and rightly so because He is our King.
But to the people of that day Jesus entrance looked pretty sad, actually.
In Jerusalem many would have seen a Roman Triumph. This was an elaborate celebration of a war hero returning from his victory.
And this celebration was amazing. Beautiful horses, golden chariots, people dancing and singing, and people shouting “man of triumph!” as the hero rode through the streets.
A triumphal entry, to the people of this day, wasn’t a Bible story. It was a political and military celebration.
Contrast this idea with a bunch of poor people waving tree branches at a man on a donkey and the event takes on a little different look.
Jesus is indeed coming into Jerusalem as a king, but he’s not coming in to conquer the city. He’s coming as a humble king, prepared to give his life as a ransom for many. Jesus rides a donkey (a symbol of peace) into the city not to threaten the Romans with His power, but to fulfill Old Testament prophecy and be the King that saves the lives of people like you and me.
And that is a nice lead in to my final idea…
3. This isn’t about Jesus being a King
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem isn’t a story of Jesus being the King. If you take a minute and just stop to think about the point above, Jesus isn’t even presenting himself as royalty He looks rather peasant-ish.
The story of Jesus’ triumphal entry is about Jesus being a different kind of king. Jesus wasn’t interested in taking over Jerusalem or Rome, like the crowds wanted him to. That’s too small for Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t even interested in showing his power at this moment. After all, he could have called down 1,000’s of angels in the blink of an eye to take care of his enemies. But he didn’t.
The story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem teaches us that the King of Glory humbled himself and became a servant King so that we might live with Him forever.
Jesus wasn’t interested in taking over Jerusalem, Jesus was focused on taking over your heart.
And the cost of doing that was what we learn about on Easter.
The story of Jesus riding into Jerusalem doesn’t have to be the ‘same old story’. In fact, the next time you tell it, I hope the kids are on the edge of their seats!Share this post: