Palm Sunday

The Sunday before Good Friday and Easter is Palm Sunday. It’s a day in which the church reflects on the moment when Jesus enters Jerusalem, riding a donkey. During the celebration people are waving with Palm branches. What was actually happening here? What made the people respond that way to Jesus entering the Holy City?

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21: 6-9)

Jesus did everything differently than the people expected. Because he preformed great miracles he seemed like the God-ordained deliverer (their ‘Messiah’). And yet so often he did not act how they expected this deliverer to act. This however, was one exception. When Jesus enters the capital just before Israel’s most sacred celebration, he does so in the exact way a conquering king would have! The Jews knew the scriptures of the old prophet who said that God’s king, when He was to come to Jerusalem, will be “humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9: 9).

Watch what happened on Palm Sunday as written in the Gospel of John: 

Crowned as king.

Jesus demonstrated that He is the Son of David, the king sent by God the people of Israel had been waiting for for so long. He was king and would sit on the throne. He would be crowned in his own capital. The people understood this and were incredibly happy. To properly imagine the atmosphere think of a great military victory, where the oppressed countries are finally freed. You might have seen scenes like this in movies about the First or Second World War. People were delirious with joy, waving flags and to be happy alive and free. This is what Jesus entry on that Sunday would have looked like. Jesus is the God-ordained king on his way to the throne, bringing liberation to a long captive nation. The people along the road were making banners of palm branches and lay it on the ground like a beautiful carpet, together with their coats. This was a worthy entry for the new king.

A deeper plan

But it turned out much differently than the people expected. This Jesus was on his way to his throne and crown. But for now his throne was a cursed cross, and his crown was woven with branches full of thorns. Where were all the crowds now? Where the delirious joy?

You need to understand Jesus not only became king of the Jews, but the King of all existence! Jesus didn’t come to save Israel from the oppressive Roman rulers, but rather to save all people from the oppressive power of sin. The plan was so much bigger and deeper than the people could ever have imagined.

No mistake!

What happened on Palm Sunday was no mistake. Only the prequel to Palm Sunday, with Good Friday and Easter, what happened next was a big surprise for everyone, and again they misunderstood.

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