Jesus’ Triumphal Entry – Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19

Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem reminds us that Jesus isn’t who people expect Him to be. The people expected that He was on His way to becoming a conquering king. Most kings ride on war horses, but Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt. The people expected that Jesus would save them from their enemies - the Romans. They even welcomed him with cries of “Hosanna!” which means “Save now!” But Jesus came to save them from even more terrible enemies – sin, death, and Satan. The people expected that Jesus was on the cusp of a great display of power, which would overthrow the Romans, but Jesus was preparing to be crucified, which led to the most powerful display of power ever when three days later, He was raised from the dead.

The triumphal entry also reminds us that when we see Jesus as He is, we can’t help but praise Him. Jesus said that day that if His disciples hadn’t praised Him, then the rocks would have cried out! Let’s encourage our kids to see Jesus as He is and to praise Him with abandon! We were made to worship our God!

Activity – Not What You Expect – Tell kids some jokes, explaining that what makes them funny is that the punch line contains something you don’t expect.

  • What did the big flower say to the little flower? Hi, bud!
  • Why did the little boy throw the clock out the window? He wanted to see time fly.
  • Why are fish so smart? Because they live in schools.
  • Why did the pony get sent to his room? Because he wouldn’t quit horsing around.
  • Where does the polar bear keep his money? In a snow bank.
  • What do you call a bear with no ears? A B.
  • What do you call cheese that’s not yours? Nacho cheese.
  • Why is Cinderella bad at soccer? Because she’s always running away from the ball.

Discuss - (kids can color as you talk):

The answers to some of these jokes weren’t what you were expecting, and that’s what makes them funny. Jesus was often not what people expected. Think of some specific details of Jesus’ life and ministry that weren’t what people expected.

  • o As a baby, he was placed in a manger because there was no room for Him.
  • o He hung out with sinners.
  • o His disciples weren’t specially trained in Bible; they were just ordinary men.
  • o Jesus taught that the first will be last.
  • o He rode into town, not on a war horse, but on the colt of a donkey.
  • o His main enemy wasn’t the Romans; it was sin, death, and Satan.
  • o His greatest triumph came when He died on the cross and paid for our sins.
  • o His greatest power was demonstrated when He rose from the dead.

Are there any ways Jesus still surprises us today and does what we don’t expect?

  • o Sometimes He answers our prayers for healing by taking people home to heaven.
  • o Sometimes He allows troubles into our lives and works even bad things for good.
  • o He answers the prayers of children, not just adults. 

Jesus delights to hear our praises. The people long ago used whatever was on hand to praise – their coats, palm branches, their voices. How do you worship God?

  • o Hear children’s responses, and share some of your own thoughts.
  • o Have kids participate in popcorn alphabet praise. You say a letter; then, kids shout out something that starts with that letter to praise God for: God is -

A – awesome

B- beautiful

C – compassionate and so on

Additional questions:

What did you like about this story? What didn’t you like?

What did you learn about God/Jesus?

  • God’s plans don’t often match our expectations.
  • God’s plans are always good.
  • God always keeps His promises. (Every prophecy about Christ was fulfilled).

What did you learn about people?

  • People are often confused about what God is doing.
  • People can praise God.
  • People can worship God using whatever they have at hand (coats, branches, voices).

What did you learn about yourself?

  • I want to praise God with all my being.
  • I want to know what God has prophesied.
  • I want to accept God’s plans joyfully.