Palm Sunday – A different kind of king.

Luke 19: 28-40  Luke 23:1-49

Palm Sunday
Today is a day of two halves, we find Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey with people waving palms and shouting hosanna – these words soon changed to crucify him.

Some expected Jesus to come and fight – to be a proper king, and claim back the country they lived in. But Jesus had come for a very different reason, not to fight but to bring peace. Yes, Jesus was a king, but a very different kind of king.

When we think of being a king, what comes to mind?


A crown, a castle, a lot of servants perhaps?

Jesus had neither a crown or a castle in fact quite the opposite, he lived a very nomadic life moving from one place to another. Teaching as he moved from place to place.

As for having servants again quite the opposite – Jesus wasn’t interested in other people serving him but in how he could serve others.

If we were to have a royal visit in our own town – we would decorate the place to welcome the royalty, we would line the streets and wave flags.

Our expectation is that they will arrive as all royals do in a big black car, with flags on the front to show who they are, followed by security cars to keep them safe.. So, it would be something  quite different.

In the time of Jesus perhaps they thought he would arrive on a white stallion, holding a sword. But Jesus arrived on a lowly donkey. That signalled peace not war.

Jesus was called a king. But he wasn’t the kind of king they expected. He had no country to reign over. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, the people shouted ‘blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.’

The people thought Jesus had come to be king and reign over Jerusalem, to throw out the cruel Romans. To use God’s power to fight them.

The people were very excited they thought the time had finally come. They lined the streets, and threw their cloaks onto the road along with palm branches cut from the trees.

The people thought Jesus was going to set them all free.

That’s even what the Roman authorities thought, and they felt threatened by Jesus. Even Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews.’

But Jesus didn’t give the reply they were expecting.

‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ Pilate stated ‘You are a king then’ Jesus answered ‘You are right in saying I am a king.’

The kingdom Jesus was talking about couldn’t be found on a map, it wasn’t a country. It was the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom of love, joy and peace. His country wasn’t a place but our hearts.

Kings of this world last only as long as they live, but Jesus would be a king that would reign for eternity and not just in one country but all over the world.

Jesus wasn’t going to declare war on the Romans. But Jesus did want to set people free, it’s the kind of freedom that he still wants for us today.

Jesus wants to set us free to be the people that God created us to be.

Jesus knows that it’s easy to have faith when things are going well, but when clouds begin to gather and life becomes more difficult you begin to doubt and it’s hard to believe that things will ever get better again.

Jesus hadn’t lived up to their expectations.. and soon voices of excitement turned to voices of condemnation. Shouts of Hosanna to shouts of Crucify Him. His disciples turned to standing with him to running away. Even though his own disciple/friend betrayed him for money. Even though the people betrayed him.

Jesus asked God to forgive them.

Today we celebrate Jesus riding into Jerusalem with palm crosses, a reminder that Jesus died so that he could live forever as the best king of all, the king of our hearts.


Song: (tune to what shall we do with the drunken sailor)


We have a king who rides a donkey,

We have a king who rides a donkey,

We have a king who rides a donkey,

And his name is Jesus… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWyDz6G6AyQ

Activity:


Today’s activity has to be one of two sides.

Ribbons are a good to wave.

Green for Hosanna.

Red for Crucify him.

You will need:

  •  a length of florists red and green ribbon for each child, 
  • 2 bamboo canes.

Allow the children to write on the Green ribbon hosanna and crucify on the red on.

Read the story and get the children to wave the ribbons at the appropriate time.

Or

You could hide countries and the king or queen that reigns them including Jesus with his country our heart around the room. The children have to find a country and then find it’s king or queen.

For example –

  • Britain: Queen Elizabeth
  • Swaziland: King Mswati III
  • Morocco: King Mohammed VI
  • The Vatican: The Pope 
  • Monaco: Prince Albert II
  • Tonga: King George Tupou V
  • Norway: Norway’s King Harald V
  • The Netherlands: King Willem-Alexander 
  • Spain: King Juan Carlos I
  • Belgium: King Philippe
  • Heart: Jesus
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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