Crossroads: Palm Sunday

Mark 1:1-11

My Story

I love celebrations. In particular, I love birthdays. I love finding the perfect present and celebrating who that person is. I love my birthday as well, but it’s always a little odd to me. I look forward to it, and yet I always feel slightly let down on my birthday. It’s not because people forget my birthday—the people who are close to me remember. And it’s not that I don’t have fun—I do. But I always expect to feel different on my birthday, to feel older or maybe wiser. And yet when the sun sets and the day is done, I feel the same. I love the anticipation of celebrating, but I also know what comes after my birthday: real life. And that real life is not always easy.

Your Story

Do you like celebrations? Tell a story about one of your favorite memories of a celebration. How did you feel in the midst of that celebration? Were you able to forget about your worries and your fears? Or were they still present but you chose to set them aside for a while?

The Bible Story

Read Mark 11:1-11. From the NIV: As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

I wonder if Jesus felt that odd mixture of anticipation and disappointment when he entered Jerusalem. He enters Jerusalem triumphantly, riding on a donkey, with people spreading out their cloaks on the road and others waving branches in the air, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The people, and the disciples themselves, were celebrating. They thought this was the best thing that could have happened. And yet, Jesus knows what is coming after the celebration: real life and death. He knew that those same people who were shouting “Hosanna!” would soon be shouting “Crucify him!” But he entered Jerusalem anyway. He knew what was waiting for him and still he went. I hope that this time of celebration gave him a reprieve from the heavy burden of knowing that death was coming. That’s what celebrations sometimes are for us: a reprieve from our heavy burdens. They are moments in time when we come together and celebrate, either someone or something, and put aside our burdens, our pain and our worry, if only for a moment. As we begin Holy Week, may you take time to put aside your worries and your burdens and remember the hope that Jesus brings.

Discussion

• What are some things, large or small, that you and your family can celebrate this week?
• Talk about how you think the disciples felt to hear the crowd shouting “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Prayer

Thank God for celebrations, when we can put everything aside to remember someone close to us. Ask God for help in celebrating God’s love and grace even when things are difficult.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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