Adult Object Lesson: Palm Sunday

bicycle manJesus Enters Jerusalem Riding A Colt

Matthew 11:1-11

Your object today is a model car or vehicle. Your choice should complement the slant of your message.

Today is Palm Sunday. There will be much talk about Jesus finally getting his due. He will be treated like royalty as he approaches Jerusalem.

Some spectators will sacrifice their garments to mark Jesus way.

Others will cut palm branches and use them to line the official route.

Word that Jesus is coming will precede his arrival. People will have eyes on the horizon. Some will climb towers or trees to get a better view.

Crowds will gather near the gate.

And then someone with a sharp eye and a good position will call out.

“Here he comes.”

The crowd is expecting the miracle worker who just raised Lazarus from death. Few will know him by sight. Most will be looking for some sign to set him apart.

Remember, Jesus looked like everyone else. When He is with the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, it will take the betrayer’s kiss to identify him.

Really, he’s not unlike most rulers. If they didn’t wear crowns or robes, we wouldn’t know them from the peasantry. That’s what crowns and sceptres and all the accoutrements of royalty and power are for! Jesus didn’t need them.

So everyone looks to the horizon to see the powerful man who can cure the blind and bring the dead to life. If no one else has crowned him, they just might. And that’s what the crowd watching from the terraces of the government buildings are worried about.

There is a crowd with Jesus. Which one is the miracle worker?

It must be that man in the center who is riding a colt. Not a majestic steed. Not an armor-clad team towing a chariot. There are no body guards, no legions cutting a way for him through the crowd. Just Jesus on a colt—the only record we have of Jesus using anything but shoe leather express!

This Messiah, this anointed one, this Savior is coming to the city in humility.

Now turn to your object—the toy car or vehicle.

Ask your congregation to change the setting of today’s lesson to modern times. Have them describe what the scene might include today.

They might describe a scene like the Oscars, with red carpet, velvet ropes and security holding back the crowd. They might include the paparazzi, elbowing for the best angles. They might include reporters sticking microphones in Jesus face asking about Lazarus. They might describe the media vans parked near the city gate. They might have security shouting at the crowd on bullhorns. The truly imaginative might have a few helicopters hovering overhead.

Then ask them what kind of vehicle might a modern Jesus use to mark his arrival.

Let yout congregation decide. It might be any kind of vehicle—from a Rolls Royce to a limo to a smart car or beetle—or maybe even a bicycle or skateboard! Ask them what message their choice conveys.

If they think they are being asked to overthink this, point out that God had thought this through long ago.

Palm Sunday didn’t just happen. It was planned. Jesus choices were foreshadowed in the Old Testament. It was just as scripted as the Oscars, but scripted in humility.

Then ask them what the people might have thought when they saw Jesus riding a borrowed colt.

They might not have realized at the time that they had already seen the trailer (but Jesus did?)

Zechariah 9:9
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” So as king, Jesus requisitioned the donkey and its mother to carry him into the city.

Gentle and humble. Nothing to suggest power and might.

A true lesson in leadership!

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