What does Palm Sunday represent and why do we celebrate it?
Blind men see. Bread and fish multiplied. The dead rise to life. In the first century of Judea, thousands witnessed the miraculous works of “God in the flesh” through Jesus. Prophecy fulfilled right before their eyes. They knew…
Jesus is the Messiah – the Promised Deliverer!
In their hearts, the people determined He would make all things right again. The grip of Roman control on their sacred nation would be loosed and their kingdom restored.
They tried to force Him to be King in times past, but He escaped their expectations. Not looking to build His platform, He was on earth to fulfill His mission.
But, here He comes riding on a donkey, with his disciples walking alongside, into the great city of Jerusalem to celebrate the annual Passover holiday.
They see Jesus coming closer and word spreads fast.
Palm branches are cut.
Blankets and garments are spread along His path.
All four gospels make certain to record this moment – what we call Palm Sunday.*
He came riding on a donkey in His mother’s womb to begin His earthly mission. But now He comes riding on a donkey to finish it.
As they patriotically wave palm branches, like during the other holiday feasts, they shout “Hosanna” meaning “Save, we pray” or “Save now!”**
And, that is what He would do. He would…
The moment had come. He would restore the Kingdom.
Not a political one, His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36).
Jesus came to be King of their hearts and lives, not King of their land.
And, He would give His life for theirs. He would take on their sins and die in their place – even though He knew their motives were all wrong.
While the palm-wavers shouted, Jesus mourned by what his prophetic eye foresaw. The same voices singing “Hosanna” would shout days later, “Crucify Him.”
Yet, He endured their praise and allowed the parade.
Why and what does Palm Sunday represent?
As the drama unfolds, we begin to see the meaning of it all.
This was no ordinary day, but it was the day the lamb was selected for the Passover sacrifice. Jesus knew he was riding his way toward the cross to offer Himself as the perfect Passover Lamb of God.
Yes, Jesus would soon be sacrificed for the sins of the world. His death would bring us life.
At one point, the religious leaders stop looking for lambs. Distracted by the parade and full of indignation, they demand Jesus silence the people. He responds:
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out”.
Yes, Jesus is worthy. He is worthy of our praise.
Many times, and in many ways, He told them He was the Promised One. This final acclamation before His crucifixion proclaimed it in public. No more wondering if He was the one. No more questioning His authority. He was and is King. He is worthy of praise. Hosanna! Hallelujah!
His disciples would later understand, Jesus was fulfilling prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). Receiving a royal reception while riding on a lowly donkey was forecast in the only Book written by God. The only Book which predicts the future with 100% accuracy.
Yes, Palm Sunday represents praise. Jesus, the Lamb of God, is worthy.
Yes, Palm Sunday fulfills scripture. The Bible is true.
But, in the end, Palm Sunday demands a response.
Will you join the crowds that temporarily and emptily praise Him hoping for earthly pleasures and comfort?
Will you reject Jesus as God’s son, like the religious leaders who placed their faith in legalism over His sacrificial and selfless love?
Or, will you stand alongside Jesus, like a few of his disciples, past the fanfare, to the cross?
“(Jesus) died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
2 Corinthians 5:15
You have a choice on Palm Sunday.
We invite you to no longer live for yourself, but to put your faith and trust in the perfect Lamb of God and His finished work on the cross, so your sins are forgiven.
Lose your life to the King of kings…and this way you will find it (Mark 8:35).
P.S. Resurrection is only days away.
If you’ve never turned from your way of life towards God, we invite you to do that now. You can read how to know Jesus here. That is called repentance. The Bible says that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord (the Leader of your life) and believe in your heart (complete reliance and full surrender) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
You can genuinely pray to Jesus, “Hosanna” (“Save now”) and He will.
*Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.
** Hosanna is the Greek form of a Hebrew term used in both a cry for help and a cry of thanksgiving (Psalm 118:25-26). History records that palm branches were waved during the Feast of the Tabernacles and Feast of Dedication.