Before the Session
Facilitator: In advance of the session
- Review today’s scripture text and the session activities to help better facilitate the discussion.
- Have the Bible Background Video ready to view.
- Encourage your group to listen to the Faithelement podcast ahead of the next session (Share the link via email or social media).
Begin by asking:
- Let’s imagine we were going to organize a “Peace Parade” in our community. Our goal would be to promote peaceful, loving and thoughtful actions toward one another in our community, in our state, nation and world. In broad strokes, now might such a parade look?
- Even if we didn’t make this event specifically about any current event, people would probably assume we were protesting something. In light of current events in the world, what might local political leaders think and why?
- In what ways might local religious leaders; civic groups; military leaders and families; or other groups respond?
Read Matthew 21:1-11, then watch the Bible Background Video.
Then ask questions like these:
- Seen in light of typical political and military processions, what is Jesus saying by coming into Jerusalem in this kind of “parade?”
- Read aloud Zechariah 9:9-10. What in this prophecy speaks of Jesus?
- Seen in light of Jewish prophecy and their desire for the return of God’s king, what might Jesus be saying about his role among the Jews?
- Even without studying the significance of the palm branches and cloaks, what can we see from the people’s response to Jesus’ coming?
- What do they say about Jesus and how do they feel about him?
- We have the benefit of hindsight, but the people that day had no idea what would occur that week. In what ways might they have misunderstood Jesus’ actions?
- How might that misunderstanding have led to the tragic events later in the week?
- How might Jesus’ actions have been viewed by the Roman authorities; the Jewish city leaders; or the common people?
- Given the number of potential reasons for Jesus’ actions in this passage, what do you think Jesus was doing?
Continue by asking:
- If Jesus were to come into our community today, how do you think he would come?
- How do you think he would be received and why?
- Who might not be so excited to see Jesus coming in our times and why?
- As those who have chosen to follow Jesus, what does this passage teach us?
- What if any, statement does this story from Jesus’ life convey to people who might not know what the fuss is about?
- What kinds of things might we do to enable “outsiders” to understand why Jesus’ arrival is so important?
Close with prayer.
Writer: Jon Parks