Crossroads: Parades

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Mark 11:1-11

My Story

Parades can be fun. As I child, I remember watching parades on television. There was always a great sense of anticipation: “What will be the next float? Who will be on it? Will it be bigger or brighter or better than the last float?” I also remember going to parades in my younger years. It was great fun to look for people I knew who might be on one of the floats or to see if I could spot someone marching in the band. And always, I couldn’t wait to see those guys in the strange-looking hats driving the go-carts in figure 8 patterns the entire length of the parade. Yes, parades can be fun.

But parades can also be very tiring. Have you ever marched in a parade? When I was in band in high school, we participated in a parade that was several miles long and included numerous hills. Though playing in the band was fun, I remember that as I marched in that particular parade, I began to wonder if it would ever end. Also, it was very cold that day, so that parade was not as much fun as I thought it would be.

How about you—do you like parades?

Your Story

Tell a story about a time in your life when you went to a parade or were in a parade.
• What is your best memory about being in a parade or watching a parade? What is your least favorite memory about parades?
• Has your family ever been to a parade together? What do you remember about being together at the parade?
• What is the purpose of a parade? Why do we have parades?

The Bible Story

In our text for today, Jesus was involved in a parade of sorts. According to the Gospel of Mark, this parade took place 2,000 years ago because Jesus was coming to town. The crowd in this passage celebrated Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. They were excited and exuberant because Jesus—the Messiah—was now here. So the people celebrated at this parade. They yelled, “Hallelujah! Praise be to God! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” This parade celebrated the coming of the Messiah.

But did they really understand who Jesus was? Were they celebrating for the right reason? The crowd thought Jesus was the Messiah, and he was. But Jesus was not the kind of Messiah the people thought he would be. The people celebrated because they thought Jesus was an earthly king who would fight Rome and set Israel free. But Jesus was a spiritual king. He was more concerned about their spiritual lives than their political freedom. I wonder if they would have celebrated in the parade that day if they understood Jesus would soon die on the cross instead of free them from Rome.

Discussion Questions

• How do you think Jesus felt as he watched the crowd celebrating him? Was he happy and pleased with the response of the people, or was he sad?
• What were the disciples doing during this parade? What would it have been like to be one of Jesus’ disciples that day?
• What do you think you would have done or said if you had been in the crowd that day as Jesus made his way to Jerusalem? How would you have felt?
• Is Palm Sunday and Holy Week a time to rejoice and celebrate or to be sad about all that Jesus had to endure for us?

Prayer and Action

This week—Holy Week—is the most significant week of the year for Christians.
• What can you do to make this week different from every other week of the year?
• Thank God for Jesus being willing to give his life for us.
• Ask God to help you make this week special and meaningful.
• Talk as a family about what each of you can do, and possibly what you can do together as a family, to make this Holy Week different. What can you do this week to show your love for Jesus?

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.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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