Sunday, April 9, 2017

The color for Palm Sunday

I love it when I get to teach in Children's Church and I get one of those "I get it" moments. I'm not talking about the KIDS getting it - I'm talking about myself! 

The last time this happened, I was teaching around Christmas and it hit me why Jesus was born in a stable...that's where all sacrifices were born. (Mind blown!) Well, today was another one of those "mind blown" days.

We use a curriculum in Kids' Church, but I often find a little something extra to add. Today's lesson featured the color red as a part of the lesson. Of course, the major point is that it stood for the blood of Jesus, but since it was Palm Sunday, I was having a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around it. After all, shouldn't the color for the day be green? Palms....Green....makes sense, right?

Today's passage came from Luke 23 and focused on the two thieves on the crosses beside Jesus, but I couldn't get my mind off the fact that it's Palm Sunday! So, I decided to go back and look at the part where Jesus entered Jerusalem, Luke 22. That's when the lesson took a turn.

Earlier this week, one of my students asked why Easter is in March some years and in April on others. I mentioned that it had to do with Passover and discovered that many of my students had no idea what I meant. 

Just a quick refresher for anyone that has gotten a bit rusty on their Old Testament Bible accounts - Passover has to do with the account in Exodus when Moses went to Pharoah and told him that God said to let His people go. Pharoah, of course, was more than a bit stubborn and it took 7 plagues before he relented and released the Israelites to go into the Promised Land. The last plague was the worst - the first born in every household died, except for those who had followed God's directive to sacrifice a lamb and paint the blood of the sacrifice over the doors. The Israelites slept that final night as captives undisturbed. The angel of death "passed over" their dwellings. 

Exodus 12:12-14
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance. "
So Easter is based on Passover. Why? Well, when Jesus entered into Jerusalem on what we now refer to as "Palm Sunday" it was because He was there to celebrate Passover.
According to a message by John Piper, "Our English word "hosanna" comes from a Greek word "hosanna" which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.
And that Hebrew phrase is found one solitary place in the whole Old Testament, Psalm 118:25, where it means, "Save, please!" It is a cry to God for help." 
Let that sink in for a moment. Passover...which commemorated when God had heard the cries of His people and saved them with the blood of a lamb painted over the openings of their home so that the angel of death would pass over. Once again the people cried out to God for help...and Jesus came.
Palm Sunday - when the Passover "lamb" came into the city to be sacrificed so that all who believed in the power of the blood of that sacrifice would be saved. 
Just like that Sunday when I realized that Jesus was born where sacrifices were born, today I realized anew that when He rode into Jerusalem, He came as a sacrifice. 
So maybe the color for Palm Sunday is red after all. (Mind blown!)
Tomorrow I'll try to write about that thief and the rest of today's Kids' Church lesson.

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