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March 30, 2014
“The Entrance of the King”
Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:1-11
(Click here for PDF: The Entrance of the King Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
It wasn’t that long ago when many of had the privilege of witnessing the spectacular event of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. Oh, what a beautiful display of majesty as the people and their Queen came together at the hour of celebration. All the pageantry carried out was something few get to witness in their lifetime were it not events such as these. Royalty paraded. People cheered. Adoration was shown and honor was paid in commemoration to her for her years of service.
Our lesson today focuses on another royal; a King. This King comes from a long line of Kings (see “Son of David” and “An Everlasting King” lessons on http://www.WORDFORLIFESAYS.com). His reign was prophesied to never end. More than an earthly king, He was and is our eternal priest/king (see Psalm 110:1-4). Despite His sovereignty, accolades and lineage, His coming in; His entrance is far different from the pageantry we see with most royals (not taking anything away from them). He came as it was told He would for hundreds of years: “lowly.”
This is where our lesson this week picks up at. The King is coming!
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
“Rejoice . . . Shout!” These words are synonymous with times of jubilation, much as was seen during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This is a time of celebration that was being prophesied hundreds of years before the actual event took place. A time when God’s people would ring out their worship of their one true King. At His coming joy will go before Him for His proposed reign. People will raise their voices with heartfelt praise and adoration of Him who has come to save them.
Unfortunately, when He came, most were not looking for a Savior from sin, rather one who would free them of the national tyranny of their Roman oppressors. The people at that time were more focus on their present circumstances over their eternal destinies.
It was prophesied that this King would be “just.” His rule would be governed by truth. It’s how He lived and how He died; according to God’s truth. He declared in Matthew 5:18 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” He pressed on to fulfill truth so that His reign would be marked and identified as being “just.” He would do all that is right according to God’s holy Word.
This King would also be known as “having salvation.” He would bear within Himself the means to save mankind from the ravages of sin and disparity brought on by their fleshly stance in this world. The Bible declares, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23). Therefore, all of mankind needed and still needs a Savior; one who can bring them out of the depths of his/her evil state. Acts 4:12 lets us know, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” This King comes with our “salvation.”
At His entrance, He comes in a state opposite of most royalty, as stated in our introduction. This King comes “lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” A humble creature of burden becomes transportation of Him who would bear all of humanities burdens and sins. Here, we see the picture of a donkey that has never been used or ridden. It amazes me what our Christ can do with the unused; what He can do with the unskilled and rough around the edges. This donkey is not known by name to us but we know him as part of the Messiah’s royal parade forever in history.
I think it important to reiterate here that our King was “lowly.” We sing songs praising, “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus: No, not one! No, not one!” (Hymnal.net); but do we really understand how much He humbled Himself to come and do what He did for us? Do we understand that He could have arrived with all the pomp and circumstance of heaven, but He arrived in an animal’s dwelling, with no proper place to lay His head? Do we understand how many times He could have shut the mouth of those who rose against Him and accused Him, but He took it all on Himself as part of His mission; His ministry to save mankind? Do we really understand how much He took off to put on the dregs of humanity? Do we understand? He was “lowly.”
Matthew 21:1-3 “And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.”
In the chapter before this, Jesus once again tried to prepare His disciples for the reality of what was soon to take place:
“Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them,
“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death,
And deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again,” (Matthew 20:17-19).
Here, in the above verses, with what I believe was still clueless disciples, Jesus is drawing “nigh to Jerusalem.” The King is about to make His entrance but before doing so He gives His disciples very explicit details to follow to make sure when He comes in there is no mistake to the reign He claims.
He tells them, “Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.” It is supposed by many Bible students that Jesus had a prearranged agreement with the owners of the animals that He sent them for. With that supposition, He knew (which He could have known because of His Sovereignty if He wanted to) exactly where to send them and how to instruct them on searching out what He already planned. When they arrived and found the ones He said His command was “loose them, and bring them unto me.” The reason is stated for us and the owners is in the next verse.
If anyone dared to question what the disciples were doing and what was their intents and purposes on loosing the animals, Jesus gave them a simple reply to relay: “The Lord hath need of them.” These were set aside for the Master’s use. They were needed by Jesus. How privileged was this little guy that would carry the “Lord;” the Savior of the world, on his back. Awesome!
Matthew 21:4-5 “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.”
“All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet.” This is a simple explanation for us who may be confused by Jesus’ insistence on arriving in Jerusalem in such a humble way. God’s prophets are/were His spokesmen. They have been used down through Israel’s history to pass onto the people the word of God. To warn, exhort and exalt them to draw closer to Him through their prophecies. When God used a prophet as His mouthpiece, the words that come from them are as valid as if they heard it from His own being, thundering upon the mountains. Since what they spoke was on His behalf, He had to make sure everything: past, present and future would be “fulfilled” as it was told to the people down through the years.
They were told exactly how their King would arrive and Jesus was careful to make sure there would be no mistaking who He claimed to be when He arrived in Jerusalem in such a fashion. His arrival mounted on that beast would offer them visual evidence. Any Jew would have known that when they see Him on a “colt the foal of an ass,” He was claiming His Kingship; He was claiming His Lordship; He was claiming His Messiah ship.
Matthew 21:6-7 “And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.”
“And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them.” They may have not understood everything right away, nor did they fully grasp that Jesus was fully preparing Himself to die that He might reign (though He often tried to get that point across to them), but they didn’t question Him. They didn’t try to dissuade Him from His task; rather they obeyed what “Jesus commanded them.”
Their obedience is a key component. They knew the authorities of the day were plotting against Him to seek to take His life. The Triumphal Entry of Jesus is also found in the Book of John chapter 12. In chapter 11 of that same book, before this moment in time, when Jesus was determined to go to Bethany (about 1½ miles outside of Jerusalem) to raise Lazarus from the dead, seeing that He couldn’t be dissuaded, Thomas, one of the disciples, said, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” So, when He instructed them in the matter of the “colt” they are noted as doing what Jesus told them to do despite any fears on misgivings they may have felt at that moment.
“And put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.” I don’t know about you but I have ridden a horse bareback before. The experience was not pleasant to say the least. Here, the disciples provide comfort for the Lord as He mounts the beast set aside for His use. In lieu of a saddle, they pad the back of the beast with “their clothes.” We often hear people use expressions of love and service to another by saying things like, “I will give them the clothes off my back.” Jesus’ disciples didn’t talk about it, they did it. They literally gave Him the “clothes” off their backs to comfort the ride of the King. How much this must have meant to the Lord who would soon come before angry faces and hearts filled with hatred, to at this moment feel support from those closest to Him at that time.
Matthew 21:8-9 “And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
Can we picture this scene real quick? As Jesus was entering in Jerusalem on that colt, word had to have rapidly spread for not just the disciples were celebrating the King, “multitudes” joined in. Did they recognize the symbolism? Did they associate His entrance as the long awaited promised One; of He that was prophesied of? We are working under the assumption that those questions can be answered with an unqualified, “Yes!”
Again, His reign to free men from sin instead of Roman tyranny may not be what they had imagined at the time, but they understood who He claimed to be by how He rode into Jerusalem, fulfilling prophecy. Therefore, they willingly and with great rejoicing (as was also prophesied) wanted to be a part of the celebration. The King was coming and they “spread their garments in the way” and “cut down branches from trees” to cover the path He would travel. What a small service for such a great King!
They honored Him with their “Hosanna” shout. They rallied and proclaimed the praises of Him who would save them, for that’s the meaning behind the word “Hosanna;” to “save now.” “Hosanna” was the shout of triumph. In Him they saw a victorious King. In Him they had an expectancy of deliverance. In Him they rejoiced, proclaiming that He is “The son of David” (see “The Son of David” lesson for significance of this title);He is the one that “cometh in the name of the Lord!” They were getting their praise on as we say it today! The King has arrived! The King has come! “Blessed is he!”
Matthew 21:10-11 “And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”
“All the city was moved.” Often when Jesus performed miracles crowds would gather around Him to witness the power of God at work through Him. They would be amazed and in awe over what was being done right before their eyes. Here, there is no miracle performed; rather prophecy, long awaited prophecy being fulfilled. Emotions were running high and people gathered and were excited to see it coming to pass right before their eyes; right in their time of living. When was the last time you were so stirred up about Jesus? “The Entrance of the King” is a reason to be shaken with excitement.
“Who is this?” was the question of the day. During the time of His entry, Jerusalem was in their annual Passover celebration. This is one of the reasons such a great multitude gathered on that day. This is also why some didn’t know who Jesus was. Not everybody was from that immediate region.
Passover was one of those times of the year that was required for all to appear “before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses . . .,” (Deut. 16:16). It was a special feast day to commemorate God previously delivering them from Egyptian bondage. With the swelling crowds gathered in the city on that day, not everyone was familiar or heard stories of Jesus and the miracles He had done. So, they questioned, “Who is this?”
The answer that came was simply, “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.” They recognized His great teaching. They loved the miracles He performed. And, they even celebrated with Him in the streets of Jerusalem at the symbolism He carried out by arriving on the back of a colt. Yet, they did not recognize Him beyond that of being a “prophet.” They didn’t see Him as the Son of God He truly was. This was a disappointing end to such a climatic celebration. They lauded Him as King, as the one who saves, but they didn’t see Him as their Savior.
The King is coming! How will we receive Him?
Below you will find activities that will support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: The Entrance of the King Draw the Scene
Below you will find more Resources/Links/Activities to support this lesson. Many of these activities are for Palm Sunday. Though it is not Palm Sunday the content in our lesson is usually taught during that time and is easily applied here as well. Enjoy!
“Palm Sunday” (Here you will find several activities but the one I really like is called “To The Cross.” It’s a game for students to play that is easy to do and easy to set up. Just revise the questions some to fit or our lesson. Enjoy!)
“Palm Sunday Crafts” (Here you will find a plethora of activities for your students to enjoy. Everything from coloring pages to donkey paper bag puppets and everything in between.)
“Palm Sunday Craft for Kids” (If you are the adventurous type and want something a little different and don’t mind paint, this one is for you. Using paint they can make their own palm branches with their hands and a donkey’s head with a foot (yes, a donkey’s head) to turn out an inspirational message for this lesson. Enjoy!)
“Fan Palm Craft” (Here is a very simple idea for students to put together their own palms. There are even printables. Yes! Just add a craft stick. Enjoy!)
“Palm Sunday Crafts” (Here you will find . . . PRINTABLES! Yes, it makes putting a lesson together that much easier. Also there are cute coloring sheets to choose from to support this lesson and it’s FREE! Enjoy!)
“Paper Bag Donkey Craft” (This one is totally different then the one noted above but oh so cute and easy. Enjoy!)
“Milk Jug Stick Donkey” (WOW! This is a very creative way to use milk jugs to go along with this week’s lesson. Remember those old stick horses we used to play with as kids? They’re back in donkey form and your students can make it themselves. Click to find out how and scroll down to Milk Jug Stick Donkey. Enjoy!)
“A Rock Concert Kid’s Pages/Coloring/Group Activities” (The “group activities” ideas are awesome to implement with this lesson. It has everything from Donkey Relay and Palm Branch Marching to Bible Hopscotch, and more. Check it out. Enjoy!)
“Hosanna Streamer” (Another great activity to go with this week’s lesson. It’s printable, different and easy. Great for teacher and students alike. Enjoy!)
“Jesus Needs a Donkey Coloring Sheet” (This coloring sheet is for older students. Enjoy!)
“Easter Crafts and Coloring Pages” (This has so many ideas to choose from. Easy crafts like Hosanna Crowns (scroll to it) can be found here. Enjoy!)
“Look Who’s Coming/The Easter Path” (I like the ideas on this site. I believe these activities will really bring your students into a personal and deeper knowledge of this week’s lesson. Enjoy!)