Hosanna! Hosanna!’ The crowds shouted and sang as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Now who’d get excited about a man riding on a donkey? People who had read the Old Testament, that’s who. Some laid their cloaks down in the road, and some cut branches from the nearby trees to mark the way, as they would do for a king.
A king? A king on a donkey? What made them think of that? Well, the Old Testament prophet, Zechariah. Years before, he’d said: ‘Shout for joy, Jerusalem! Your king comes to you, riding humbly on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’ Jesus knew the Old Testament very well, of course. That’s why he’d sent his disciples ahead of him to get the donkey in the first place. ‘Go into Bethphage,’ he’d said. ‘You’ll find a donkey and her foal tied up there. Bring them to me.’ Just as his followers were about to go, he’d said, ‘If anyone tries to stop you, just say, “The Lord needs them,” and they’ll let you go.’
So the disciples had gone and got the donkey, a humble animal, just as Zechariah had described it, and thrown cloaks on its back for Jesus to sit on. And that’s what he was riding into the city.
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ cried the crowds, both behind and ahead of Jesus. ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest people asked. And the singing crowds replied, ‘This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.’
What was the most surprising part of the story and why?
Have you ever been part of a big crowd watching an event?
If you saw Jesus on the street, what word might you shout and why?
How might the bystanders have felt when they watched what was happening?
What might you have thought if you were one of Jesus’ disciples?
What may the crowds have anticipated happening straight after this incident?
Make a praise banner
Decorate palm leaf shapes and join them all together on a large sheet of paper to make a praise banner.
You could move around the space and use this banner as you sing or listen to Lord I lift your name on high,
Thank you for sending your Son and paving the way for our lives to be set free through Jesus' death on the cross. Thank you for what this day stands for - the beginning of Holy Week, the start of the journey towards the power of the cross, the victory of the Resurrection, and the rich truth that Jesus truly is our King of Kings.