Happy Palm Sunday and God bless you all! Today is the day we celebrate, honor, and worship Jesus for triumphantly entering Jerusalem to fulfill His mission to save the world! This is the day we remember the introduction to the last week of Jesus’ life leading up to His death and resurrection. Jesus also predicted His death on this day and there was even a miraculous event that occurred to confirm it to the crowd who was welcoming Him with palm branches. What a glorious day it would have been to witness our Lord, Savior, and King riding into His rightful Kingdom in fulfillment of prophecy!
Before I talk about the triumphal entry, it will help to explain the excitement that was surrounding Jesus in the days leading up to His arrival. Just a few days before Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He had performed a great miracle when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Many people put their faith in Jesus after that and many were seeking after Him. It was that miracle that also made the Pharisees plot to kill Jesus because so many people were believing in Him.
“When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.
“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.”
The miracle with Lazarus sparked a revival and people were coming to faith rapidly! That is why the crowds were so excited about Jesus and ran out to welcome Him as He entered Jerusalem. The night before His arrival in Jerusalem, Jesus traveled to Bethany and enjoyed a special dinner held in His honor with His friends Lazarus, Martha, and Mary (sisters of Lazarus), and His disciples. Mary also anointed Jesus in preparation for His coming burial. A crowd of people found out Jesus was there and came to see Him and Lazarus. Everyone was excited to see the man who had been dead and the One who raised him to life!
“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
“Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.”
So many people were coming to faith in Jesus that the rulers even wanted to kill Lazarus who had just been raised from the dead! Just like today, there are those who hate Jesus and they hate those of us who testify about Him too. The stage was set for Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross for our sins and nothing was going to stop God’s plan for the salvation of mankind.
The very next day, Jesus entered into Jerusalem honored and welcomed as the rightful King of Israel! The crowd went out to meet Him with great joy and they gave Him the glory He deserves! The people in the crowd had either seen the miracle with Lazarus with their own eyes or heard about it, and they put their faith in Jesus and gave Him praise as He entered Jerusalem in righteous victory!
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name
of the Lord!”
Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
The Scripture referencing the king seated on a donkey’s colt comes from the prophecy in Zechariah, some 500 years before Jesus was born.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The word “Hosanna” comes from Hebrew roots and understanding the true meaning of the word helps us understand what the people were really saying to Jesus and how powerful it truly was.
“Hosanna is often thought of as a declaration of praise, similar to hallelujah, but it is actually a plea for salvation. The Hebrew root words are found in Psalm 118:25, which says, “Save us, we pray, O LORD!” (ESV). The Hebrew words yasha (“deliver, save”) and anna (“beg, beseech”) combine to form the word that, in English, is “hosanna.” Literally, hosanna means “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!”
When the people were shouting “Hosanna” (Yasha anna) to Jesus, they were literally crying out to Him for salvation and deliverance, and that is exactly what He had come to do! Jesus is our Savior and Deliverer and He is the only One who can save and deliver us!
The crowd grew because they continued to spread the word about Jesus and what He had done with Lazarus.
“Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had given this miraculous sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
There were many people gathered around Him as He entered Jerusalem and they heard him predict His death. They were also blessed to hear Jesus pray, followed immediately by God’s audible voice answering Him from Heaven! What a glorious day that was!
“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.”
Can you imagine the excitement of the crowd! They had just seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead and then God answers Him directly from Heaven as He prays! Praise God!
Palm Sunday is a celebration of that glorious day when Jesus rode humbly into Jerusalem on a donkey in order to defeat satan, sin, and death in great power and glory! He knew what was coming and what He would suffer and He entered the city anyway, willingly laying down His life for us all!
“Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
Let Jesus rescue you from the darkness of this world! That is what Palm Sunday is all about! Jesus came to save your soul and set you free!
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Grace and peace to you all!