Sundays | 9am & 10:30am | The Woodlands, TX

Palm Sunday 2023: John 12:12-15

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.”—John 12:12–15 (NASB95)

The purpose of today’s lesson is twofold: our goals are to help people understand the fulfillment of Passover in Easter and encourage them to consider their lives and how they might have grown cold and bitter toward God in their struggles. In your gatherings this week, please pray that God will move significantly in the lives of the people who attend our services on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, culminating in Good Friday and Easter Sunday – the most important time in the church’s life. It was also the fulfillment of Passover.

Icebreaker – Did one of your heroes ever let you down? Tell the group about it. If the group needs prompting, ask them about famous sports figures or movie stars they might have held in high esteem only to later learn of some personal failing.

Read Exodus 12:1-13

1. How did the celebration get the name “Passover?”

From Exodus 12:13

2. What was so special about the lamb?

Two things. First, its purity and innocence represented a necessary sacrifice under the weight of sin, and second, it foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus, the actual sacrifice for our sins.

Read John 1:29

3. What did John the Baptist mean when he said Jesus was the Lamb of God?

The death of Jesus coved the sins of the world. The Bible says Jesus entered the city on a donkey’s colt.

Read Zechariah 9:9

4. Why did Jesus ride on this animal instead of a war horse?

The reference to a donkey is meant to evoke the image of an ideal king who rules justly and accepts his rule with humility, not pomp and arrogance. Jesus’ rule is based on the gift of God’s grace.

Read Psalm 118:25-26

In today’s lesson, we learned that the word “Hosanna” is the first phrase of Psalm 118:25 and means “Save, we pray.” It is both praise and prayer.

5. What did the people what to be saved from? How were they disappointed?

The people thought Jesus would lead them to revolt against the Romans who held them captive. His capture and arrest embittered them.

6. Are you ever disappointed in Jesus? Is there any enemy of oppression in your life that seems unbeatable?

Please place the focus of the group discussion on this point. The lessons cited enemies of physical illness, unemployment, addiction, and loneliness. Ask if those things seem “too strong for Jesus to beat.” Ask about other struggles that might also cause someone to feel defeated.

Read Matthew 14:22-33

Peter began to sink when he focused on the storm and then cried out, “Lord save me!” – the same plea as Hosanna.

7. How are praise and prayer essential to taking our desperate needs to Jesus?

Note how Jesus immediately saved Peter and gently corrected him for his lack of faith. Guide the group to discuss how we must wholly depend on God’s love, mercy, and goodness. Point out that even this storm was under the command of Jesus – but according to His timing.
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