Palm Sunday Greetings,
​”Look! Look! It’s a donkey! Daddy, why is there a donkey in the church? Is he going to be baptized today?” “No. Not today, Abby. He is part of the Pastor’s sermon on how Jesus arrived in Jerusalem at the beginning of Holy Week.” “Did Jesus ride on him?” “Well, not this donkey. But another one.” “Did Peter ride on a donkey, too?” “No. Peter walked with the other disciples.”
​”Why did Jesus want to ride a donkey into Jerusalem?” “Well dear, it started hundreds of years before Jesus was born. God told a man named Zechariah to encourage His people because they were sad.” “Why were they sad, Daddy?” “They had moved back to their city, Jerusalem, after living seventy years in another country. When they moved back to Jerusalem, they found the city and their temple in ruins.” “Like when the tornado ruined the house we used to live in?” “Yes, something like that.” “So how did Zechariah encourage the people?”
“God told Zechariah to tell the people that God loved them and He was going to send a wonderful King who would take care of them in a very special way.”
“Is Jesus the King that God was talking about, Daddy?” “Yes, He is.” “I thought so, because the Bible says Jesus is the ‘King of kings’. Daddy, what did Zechariah say that caused the Pastor to bring a donkey to church today?”
​”Zechariah told the people, ‘Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.”‘ Zechariah 9:9
“Oh, so when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the donkey, everyone was rejoicing because Jesus their King had arrived?” “Many people were rejoicing, Abby. They shouted Psalms like: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!’ Mark 11:10 But there were other people who did not think Jesus was the King. They thought their king would arrive on a mighty horse and proclaim how great he was and would set them free from the Romans who ruled over them. But God had told them that their King would be humble and riding on a donkey. Zachariah 9:9
​As Christians, we acknowledge that Jesus is our King who arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey as God promised. So we are beginning Holy Week with a reminder of God’s faithfulness to keep His word.”
​”Okay, Daddy. So we celebrate Holy Week starting with Jesus arriving in Jerusalem on a donkey because God promised He would.” “That’s right, Abby.” “Well, that explains why the donkey is in church today. I do not think I will ever forget it, Daddy. What else did Jesus do during Holy Week?”
“The day after Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, He went to the temple. But instead of finding the temple a place to pray, he found people who were cheating other people when they sold things to them. So Jesus made them leave. Then on the next day, Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives, where He taught them many truths about events to come, including His crucifixion. On Thursday, Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples and told them that one of them would betray Him. Then He instituted the Lord’s Supper, communion, that would help us remember why He died for us. The religious authorities did not like Jesus. So later that night, they sent soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane and arrested Jesus. They had their own court system, so they held court that night to try Jesus and found Him guilty on false charges. They said Jesus should be killed, but only the Romans could put people to death. By 9 a.m. the next morning, Jesus had been in front of two government leaders who said Jesus was innocent. But one of them was afraid he would lose his job if the religious leaders started a riot. So he told the soldiers to crucify Jesus. Jesus was beaten, whipped severely, and as He was weak and bleeding, they nailed Him to a cross. After Jesus died, He was taken down from the cross and placed in a tomb. The tomb had a stone rolled in front of it and that was the end of Jesus. At least they thought so. On the 3rd day, Jesus rose again as He said He would do. Mark 10:34 Because He kept His promise, anyone who is truly sorry for all the bad things they have done and said, can pray: ‘Jesus, I know You died for all of my sins and rose again. Forgive me, and help me every day to live for You. Amen’ ”