Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week’s Bible story comes from Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; and Luke 19:45-48.

In preparation for the Passover feast, Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke also describe Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. Herod the Great completely rebuilt the temple in 20–18 B.C. as part of his architectural projects. Herod’s temple was surrounded by walls and gates, with specific places for Gentiles, women, and men to worship God and offer sacrifices.

When Jesus entered the Court of the Gentiles, He was furious to see people buying and selling in the temple. Animal sacrifices were required for participation in the temple, since God declared that all Jewish men must appear three times before the Lord each year, and they must not appear empty-handed. (See Deut. 16:16.) For many worshipers traveling from all over the Roman Empire to take part in Passover, it was easier to purchase unblemished animals for sacrificing in the Court of the Gentiles. There, they also exchanged foreign currency for the temple taxes and offerings. So why was Jesus angry at the people?

The merchants buying and selling in the temple were treating the temple as a market or bazaar, not like the house of prayer for all nations that God had intended for it to be. (See Isa. 56:7.) The moneychangers’ prices were so exorbitant, they were practically robbing the people. (Mark 11:17) On top of that, people were using the temple courts as a shortcut to get to their businesses. The Gentiles who wished to worship God in peace were surrounded by greed and extortion.

After Jesus threw out the merchants and moneychangers, the chief priests and the scribes wanted to destroy Him. (Luke 19:47) Jesus was angry that people were misusing the temple, the place people could go to meet with God.

Today, Christians do not go to a temple to meet with God or to offer sacrifices for sin. Jesus died on the cross as the final payment for sin, and God’s Spirit lives in us!

Guide your family to discuss times when they were angry for the wrong reasons. Ask them how they could have responded differently. Read Matthew 21:12-17 together. Jesus was angry for the right reasons. People were sinning by misusing the temple, which was the place people could go to meet with God. Today, we don’t have to go to a temple to meet with God because God’s Spirit lives in all who trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Dear Parents,

This week in The Gospel Project® for Kids, our journey takes us to Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; and John 12:1-8. Each of these accounts notes Jesus’ anointing six days before Passover. Jesus was in Bethany, eating supper at Simon the leper’s house. Since lepers were social outcasts, Simon may have been healed from his leprosy by Jesus. Jesus and His disciples attended the supper, as did Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.

While Jesus was reclining at the table, Mary broke open an expensive alabaster jar of pure nard, a fragrance imported from India. Alabaster was an expensive form of marble. Alabaster jars were intricately crafted and sealed so that to open the jar, the owner would have to break it, and the perfumes or oils within the jar would be used immediately. Mary could not pour out a little bit of the nard and keep the rest for herself. Out of sincere and total devotion, Mary poured all of the nard onto Jesus.

In stark contrast to Mary’s display of love, Judas Iscariot reacted with indignation. In Matthew’s account, the other disciples also wondered why Mary had not sold the nard—worth about a worker’s yearly wage—and given it to the poor. John states that Judas was not altruistic; Judas was in fact pilfering money from Jesus’ ministry. (See John 12:6.)

“Leave her alone,” Jesus said. “She has kept it for the day of My burial” (John 12:7). The disciples would have plenty of time to minister to the poor, but Jesus would die in less than a week. Mary probably had no way of knowing what her offering of love and devotion would have signified, but Jesus said that from that moment on, people would remember what she had done for Him.

Unlike the rich young ruler who thought the cost of following Christ was too high (Mark 10:22), Mary believed that Jesus holds more value than costly perfume. Mary’s actions were not wasteful but worshipful. By allowing Mary to anoint Him, Jesus showed that He is more valuable than anything. Jesus knew He would soon die for sinners, be buried, and rise from the dead on the third day. Those who trust in His death and resurrection will receive eternal life.

Guide your family to stand in a circle and close their lips. Taking turns, each person should turn to the person on her left and say, “(Name), if you love me, would you please smile?” If a person smiles, he must sit down. The last person standing wins! Discuss ways that we show our love for others. Read Mark 14:3-9 together. Remind kids that Mary worshiped Jesus with the perfume because she loved Him and knew He was more valuable than anything she had. Discuss ways that we can worship Jesus.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Today’s Bible story focuses on The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-17; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19). The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday—the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as the King of kings the week before Passover. Many of God’s people traveled to Jerusalem for Passover. Jesus and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem as well. Near Bethphage (BETH fayj) and Bethany near the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples ahead into a village. Jesus told them, “You will find a young donkey tied there. No one has ever sat on it. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” Jesus was going to fulfill a prophecy by the prophet Zechariah that said, “Look, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9)

Jesus made a spectacular entrance into the city. He rode a donkey, and people laid branches and their robes on the ground in front of Him. The people welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem believed He was the promised Messiah, but they expected Him to overthrow Roman oppression and set up an earthly throne. Jesus sent a different message.

Jesus entered the temple and turned over the tables of the moneychangers and those selling doves. Read Isaiah 56:6-7. Jesus referred to Isaiah, declaring that His kingship would not just be over the Jews but over all people. While Jesus was in the temple, He healed the blind and the lame. Check out the words of Isaiah 35:4-6. Jesus’ actions declared, “I am not just your King; I am also your God.”

Finally, the priests and the scribes heard the children worshiping Jesus as their King. “Do You hear what these children are saying?” they asked. Jesus replied, quoting Psalm 8:2: “Have you never read: You have prepared praise from the mouths of children and nursing infants?” Jesus gladly received their praise because He was worthy of their praise.

As we prepare for and celebrate Easter, help kids connect the dots between God’s promises of a Messiah and Jesus’ coming. Help them understand why Jesus came: to save the world from sin!
Conduct a parade through your home. Allow one child to march around while other family members wave their arms and show excitement as he marches by. Read Luke 19:28-44 and remind kids that people welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem as King! Talk about ways that others can see that Jesus is King in your life.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, we focused on the rich young ruler. Jesus had set out on a journey with His disciples; they were likely heading to Jerusalem. (See Mark 10:32.) Suddenly, a man ran up to meet Jesus. The man knelt before Jesus and asked Him a question: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus reminded the rich young ruler of the commandments, but by asking him to give up his wealth, Jesus revealed the man’s failure to keep the first commandment—“Do not have other gods besides Me.” The man went away sad because his wealth was his god.

Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were surprised. Wasn’t wealth a sign of God’s favor? Wealthy people could freely give in the synagogue and make sacrifices. If a rich person could not enter God’s kingdom, who could?

Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” What was Jesus saying? Pushing a piece of thread through the eye of a needle is hard enough, but a several hundred-pound mammal? Impossible!

Being wealthy is certainly not a sin in itself; God often chooses to bless people with wealth. But as the rich young ruler shows, wealth can be a great hindrance when a person loves his wealth more than he loves the One who gave it to him. But Jesus pointed out that all things are possible with God. God has the power to change people’s hearts. Salvation comes by His grace, which enables sinners to repent and follow Jesus.

Then Peter said, “We have left everything and followed You.” The disciples sacrificed a lot to follow Jesus, but Jesus assured them that anything they left behind would pale in comparison to the fellowship of believers and the treasures that awaited them in heaven. Jesus is better than anything He asks us to give up to follow Him. Not only does He offer us Himself, He offers eternal life.

Hide a surprise for your children somewhere in your home. Give kids instructions to find the treasure. After kids have found the hidden item, read Matthew 19:16-30 together. Ask kids to tell you what the ruler treasured. Discuss some of the items your family treasures and remind kids that a relationship with Jesus and His gift of salvation are the greatest treasures we could ever have.