Looking for a way to make a difference in the lives of children this spring? Consider using CTA’s six-part magnet activity, Journey to the Cross. While you’re at it, check out all our new children’s items! This devotion is adapted from the first of six that come FREE with the item. You can send them home with parents or use them as children’s sermons throughout your church’s time of Easter preparation.
Familiarize yourself with today’s devotion. Bookmark Matthew 21:6-10 in your Bible so you can find it easily at the appropriate time.
Attach today’s magnetic puzzle pieces (palm branches and the “Praise” piece) to a metal cookie sheet or pizza pan. Put a fully assembled Journey to the Cross magnet puzzle on the other side of the pan. See CTA’s Journey to the Cross Activity Magnet.
Plan a way to hold the pan so everyone can easily see the puzzle pieces. If you have a large group, plan to walk around the worship area so each child has the opportunity to examine the puzzle up close.
Think about how to distribute today’s magnet pieces. If your group is large, ask a volunteer or two for help.
Place everything for today’s devotion inside a suitcase. If the magnet is not available, put a palm branch (or a paper version of one) inside the suitcase.
Warmly welcome the children. Ask volunteers to tell about a trip or journey they’ve taken. Where did you go? What did you do? Did you take pictures or buy souvenirs to help you remember what you did on your journey?
In my suitcase, I have placed some items that help me remember the most important trip anyone ever took. It’s the journey Jesus took—the journey to Easter. Let’s look inside!
Getting to the Heart
Open the suitcase and show the children the palm branch puzzle piece (or the palm branch you have made/found). Palm trees grew where Jesus lived. Very large palm branches provided some shade in that hot land. The palm branches remind us of Jesus’ journey to Easter. Here’s why.
On the first Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem. When the people heard that Jesus was coming, they got so excited! Jesus had helped so many people. He had made sick people well and sad people happy. Everyone wanted to see Jesus and welcome him to their city. Listen to what the Bible says about that. (Read Matthew 21:8-9 from a child-friendly version of the Bible.)
The people honored Jesus like a king. They waved palm branches like we today might wave colorful flags. The people also covered the dusty road with coats and palm branches. That way, the little donkey’s feet didn’t touch the ground. In these ways, they honored Jesus, the Savior. Jesus was coming to save the people from their sins. Jesus came to save us from our sins, too!
God put all of our sins on Jesus. Do you know what sin is? It’s the mean words we say to our friends; the times we disobey our parents or teachers; the ways we hurt our sisters and brothers. Jesus, our Savior King, took all of our sins to his cross. Jesus died for us and came alive again. Now, we are forgiven. Our sins are washed away.
Jesus did all this for us, and we can ask him to help us with all our other troubles, too. Jesus will help us when we are sick or hurt or afraid. Jesus is so kind and good! He will do what is best for us all the time. He is our friend and Savior.
Move the magnetic word “Praise” next to the palm branch magnet. People long ago praised Jesus with palm branches. We can praise Jesus, too! We can sing praises. We can praise our Savior with our words as we tell him how good he is, and as we speak kindly to others. We can also praise Jesus in the kind and loving things we do—helping our friends, obeying our parents, and showing kindness to everyone.
Pray, having the children repeat each phrase after you:
Dear Jesus, /We are so glad/ you took our sins away forever./ Help us praise you/ today and always./ Amen.
Taking It Home
Before you dismiss the children, give everyone the “Praise” and “Palm branch” magnetic puzzle pieces. As you do so, remind each child that Jesus loves them very much and forgives all their sins, too!
When they return next time, they will receive two more puzzle pieces. Each time you are together, they will receive two new magnetic puzzle pieces. When they have collected all 12 pieces, they will be able to put the pieces together to complete the magnet puzzle.