The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,
15 “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
16 At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.
As I was thinking about what topic to go to next I realized that we are getting close to Easter Sunday! The most important event that happened in history. What better topic is there for us to focus on then Jesus heading to Jerusalem to face his death. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is the day that Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. When he is heading into the city the crowd is waving palm branches before him. In the history of Israel palm branches were a sign of national hope. These people saw Jesus Christ as their Messiah and they had hope! They were shouting “Hosanna” which means give salvation now. Then the next phrase, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” is a fancy way of saying “Messiah”! They see this as God’s anointed one. They saw their savior coming which gave them hope. What a time to be a Jew!
Peter then throws in a reference from Zechariah which prophecies that the messiah will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. Which Jesus is doing. When a leader rides into a city on a donkey it means he is coming in peace. If he were to come in on a horse it means he is coming in preparing for war. The Jews were hoping that Jesus was going to come as a warrior so the fact he was on a donkey may have been a little confusing to them. We see that even Jesus’ disciples they were did not fully understand the significance of what they were seeing. John in his gospel points out that it wasn’t until after Jesus’ death and resurrection that everything clicked into place in their minds. If you were to read through the gospel of John, you will see the disciples confused by what Jesus was teaching. He kept promising them that it will make sense in the future.
Palm Sunday is a joyous time for followers of Christ. He came willingly to Jerusalem knowing what was going to happen to him. He is a loving God who loves his people even when they do not understand his purpose or ways. God was in control and knew what was going to happen. His purpose and vision were clear when he went into Jerusalem. Then at the right time God opened the eyes of the people to what just happened. We praise God this weekend because he was obedient to God the Father’s will. What a savior we serve. He came to bring us salvation and even though he knew he was going to experience great suffering he knew that God the Father was going to be with him.
Do we recognize the attitude and obedience Jesus Christ displayed on Palm Sunday? The people around him were celebrating his arrival but he knew his death on the cross was near. If we look at Luke 19:41 it says, “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it.” As Jesus was going into the city he wept for it because he knew that some in the city were going to reject him. This was an emotional time for Jesus, but he was obedient. It is an example we all need to live by and strive for.