Grades 3-6 Sunday School Lesson
Easter Lessons
Fickle or Faithful: Which Will You Be?

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Author’s Notes:  With Easter just a few weeks away, our next few lessons will be looking at some of the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. This week’s lesson will look at how the tide of public opinion turned so quickly from the time of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry to the cries of the crowd to “Crucify Him!” We’ll be reminded that people’s opinions can often be easily swayed. But there is One we can count on who never changes, and that is Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Opening comments/story:

Does anyone know what the word “fickle” means? If a person is fickle, they change their minds easily about other people.  Have you ever had someone say they’re your friend, but the next minute they say they don’t like you anymore?  That is a fickle person.  James 1:8 describes that person as “double-minded,” and goes on to say that person is unstable – they are not loyal, and can’t be trusted. 

In our lesson today, we’re going to find many people who were very fickle when it came to their opinions of Jesus.  One day they were having a parade for Him.  And only a week later, they were hanging Him on a cross.  Of course, that was all part of God’s plan, so Jesus could pay the penalty for our sins.  But it still doesn’t feel very good to have people say they love you one minute, then turn their backs on you the next.

If you’ve ever had that happen to you, you know it hurts!  But did you know there’s Someone you can count on to never be fickle?  Someone who will never change His mind about how He feels about you?  Who do you think that might be?  Yes, it’s Jesus!  Jesus loves us no matter what we might do.  He is a loyal friend, and will never turn His back on those who have given their lives to Him. 

How can we be sure this is true?  Let me ask you this:  what did you do to make Jesus love you?  It’s a trick question, because Jesus loved us before we were even born.  He loved us all the way back when He decided to die on the cross for our sins. 

Did we deserve that love, or do anything to earn it?  No!  The Bible clearly tells us that we were still sinners when Jesus made that decision to die for us.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  The word “commendeth,” here, means demonstrates.  So this verse means that God demonstrated His great love for us by sending Jesus to die for us.  When?  “While we were yet sinners.” 

Since we didn’t do anything in the first place to earn or deserve Jesus’ love, we know that’s not what He bases His love on.  Jesus loves us just because He has chosen to.   So we don’t have to worry that something we do will change that.

And we also don’t have to worry that Jesus will ever just change His mind on His own, and decide He’s not going to love us anymore.  We know that because of we learn in today’s memory verse.  It says that Jesus is always the same: yesterday, today, and forever!  What a great promise that is!  No matter what else might happen in our lives, no matter how many other friends may come and go, we can know that we have one Friend who will always love us.  He proved it by dying on the cross for our sins. And His name is Jesus.

Let’s learn this great verse together, so we never forget that Jesus will always be our friend.

Memory verse:  (Have the children repeat this verse with you several times, until they are able to say it themselves.  And encourage them to repeat it to others several times during the week, so that it’ll have a place in their hearts.)

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8

Opening prayer:  Lord, thank You for each student who’s here, today.   And thank You for Your Word, The Bible, where we can learn new truths about You, and the great promises You’ve given us.  Help each one of us here, today, to be attentive to what You would have us learn.  Give us open ears and hearts, ready to listen to Your words.  Amen.

This Week’s LessonFickle or Faithful: Which Will You Be?

In just a few weeks, many of us will be celebrating Easter.  It’s the time of year when we remember the events that led up to Jesus’ death on the cross, and His miraculous resurrection from the grave!  So we’re going to spend the next few weeks looking at some of the events, in Jesus’ life, leading up to that time.

Today, we’re going to start with a grand celebration in the city of Jerusalem.  Jesus had been performing miracles in and around Jerusalem for about three years.  And many of the Jews had either seen His miracles, themselves, or had heard about them from others.  Some began to wonder whether He might be the Messiah that was promised to them by the Old Testament prophets. They had been waiting for their Messiah for many years.  And were expecting Him to come and deliver them from outside oppression.  When Jesus arrived on the scene, the Jews were being ruled by the Romans.  And the Jews would have liked nothing more than for their Messiah to come and rid them of Roman rule.

So when they saw this scene unfolding, it must have been something like this…

(Luke 19)

29 And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,

30 Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither.

31 And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him.

32 And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them.

33 And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt?

34 And they said, The Lord hath need of him.

35 And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon.

36 And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.

37 And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen;

There He was! the man who had fed more than five thousand people with only two fish and five loaves of bread; who had given sight to the blind, raised lame people right up to their feet.  And some had even seen him bring dead people back to life!  Surely there was something special about this man.  Could it be, they must have wondered?  Could this Jesus be the Messiah the prophets had told them would come?

And look, He’s riding on a donkey!  Wasn’t there a prophecy that the Messiah King would come, riding on a donkey?  Yes!  The prophet Zechariah had said, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.”  (Zechariah 9:9)

This must surely be the Messiah, coming just as the prophet said!  How could the crowd not cry out…

38 Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

And some of the crowd  “Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (John 12:13)

What a glorious day!  The Messiah was riding into Jerusalem to deliver His people, the Jews…  But what would the Roman rulers and soldiers think of all this?  The Pharisees, who were the Jewish religious leaders, were concerned about this.

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples.

But Jesus knew something the Pharisees didn’t…

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Jesus didn’t stop the Jews celebrating because they were right… He was the Messiah who had been promised.  He was more than happy to receive their praise and worship.

But there was something else Jesus also knew.  Remember that word “fickle” we talked about earlier?  Jesus knew this crowd was fickle.  He knew, already, that the Messiah they were looking for was not the Messiah He had come to be.  They wanted someone to save them from the Romans. But Jesus had come to save them from themselves…from their own sin.  And that was NOT what they wanted. 

Jesus already knew they would feel that way.  So even as the cheers began to fade behind Him, this was His reaction:

41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,

42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.

Jesus was not able to enjoy the celebration for long, because He knew what lay ahead for Him. In a very short time, the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders would turn this same crowd from their cheers of “Hosanna!” to cries of “crucify Him!”

This is the account of what happened only about a week later, as Jesus stood before the Roman ruler, Pilate:

(Matthew 20)

20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.

21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.

22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.

23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

Yes, this fickle crowd had gone from wanting to place a crown of gold upon Jesus head, to laughing at His crown of thorns, and calling out to Pilate for His execution.  All they needed was a little stirring up by the Jewish leaders who wanted to be rid of Jesus.  But even in the midst of such persecution, Jesus Christ still remained the same humble, loving and forgiving Messiah that had healed their diseases and come to save them from their sins.  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever!” 

Closing Comments:
Have you invited this forever Friend to be part of your life?  Have you trusted that what Jesus did in dying on the cross and rising again from the dead was exactly what you needed to pay the debt for your sin?  If not, you can do that today.  And this same Jesus, who never changes, will come into your heart and life.  And He’ll always be there for you, no matter what!
If you have already invited Jesus into your heart, why not take some time today to thank Him for what He did for you on the cross; and for being the same loving, gracious God, to you, that He’s always been.
And then, as you go through this week, think about what kind of friend, and follower of Christ you are.  Are you fickle in your faith or your friendship?  Only following and obeying God when it’s easy?  Or do you try to be faithful to God, and to your friends just as Jesus was?
Closing Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank You for loving us, even before we came to know You.  And for the promise that You are always the same loving, merciful God that You’ve always been.  Help us this week to be faithful followers of You, and faithful friends to those around us.  For we pray in Jesus’ name, amen.
Activity:  (Review Questions)
Fill in the Blanks

  1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
  2. The crowd referred to Jesus as their King, coming in the name of the Lord.
  3. The Pharisees tried to get Jesus to hush the crowd.
  4. Jesus knew the crowd would soon turn against Him.
  5. The Jewish crowd told Pilate to crucify Jesus.

  True or False
1.  The prophet Zechariah prophesied that Israel’s King would ride a white horse.  (false – a donkey)
2.  Jesus told the crowd to be quiet.  (false – Jesus said if they were quiet, the rocks would cry out)
3.  Jesus wept as He came close to Jerusalem.  (true)
4.  Jewish leaders stirred up the people, to get them cry out against Jesus’ release.  (true)
5.  Jesus cursed all those who turned against Him.  (false – He still loved and forgave them)

 

Lisa DeVinney