The Praise Parade
The entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
Kazoos, drums, triangles, tambourines, various musical instruments, flags, pom-poms, anything which would bring excitement to a parade.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Luke 19:37-38 (NIV)
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Do you know what we are going to do this morning? We are going to have a parade. (Start passing out music instruments as you continue.) That's right — a parade! I have brought a lot of musical instruments, noise makers, and flags — enough for everyone. Let's see, what shall we call our parade? I know, we will call it the Praise Parade. We are going to have a Praise Parade for Jesus! If you have a kazoo, you can play "Jesus Loves the Little Children." Oh, it is going to be a great parade. (When you have finished passing out all of the instruments, lead the children in a parade around the room.) Here we go, follow me.
Wow! That was exciting, wasn't it? There is hardly anything that is more fun and exciting than a parade. Have you ever been to a parade? Sure you have. Perhaps it was a circus parade, or a Christmas parade, but I am sure you have all been to a parade. Sometimes a parade is part of a really big celebration. Our parade today reminds me of something that took place in the city of Jerusalem about 2000 years ago.
Jesus and his followers were traveling to the city of Jerusalem. The city was going to have a big celebration called Passover that would last for a whole week. Have you ever been to a party that lasted a whole week? Well, as they were traveling, they came to a place called the Mount of Olives. They stopped there and Jesus gave his disciples some special instructions. "Go into that village over there," he told them. "As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, 'Why are you untying that donkey?' just say, 'The Lord needs it.'"
So the disciples went and found the young donkey, just as Jesus had told them they would. And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owner asked them, "Why are you untying that donkey?" Hmm...now what was it they were supposed to say? Right! They simply answered, "The Lord needs it."
The disciples took the young donkey to Jesus and they put coats on its back so that Jesus would have a nice, soft seat as he rode it into town. Word spread quickly through the town that Jesus was coming. He had become quite famous because people had heard about his healing the sick and even raising the dead. As Jesus entered the town, a large crowd had gathered. People began to throw their coats on the road in front of Jesus. They cut branches from the palm trees and waved them and they began to shout, "Hosanna! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord."
It must have looked like a parade as Jesus went through the streets of Jerusalem with everyone waving and cheering. But as exciting as all this was, the people really did not know who Jesus was. They thought he was going to set up an earthly kingdom and that he would do great things for them here on earth. They did not understand that his kingdom was in heaven. In just a few days, these same people who were shouting, "Hosanna!" would be shouting, "Crucify him!" because he wasn't the kind of king they wanted.
The Good News today is that Jesus is King. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Today we are here to praise him and we shout, "Hosanna!" Do you know what that word means? It means "Save now!" That is why we shout hosanna, because Jesus saves — Jesus alone.
Dear Father, our voices join with the voices of the people in Jerusalem some two thousand years ago. Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. He is our hope and our salvation. In his name we pray. Amen.