PALM SUNDAY - RECOGNIZING AND FOLLOWING CHRIST
Article by: District Elder A. Latorcai
“Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.” – John 12: 12-16
In the teaching of Christianity, Palm Sunday represents the revelation of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. His triumphal entry into Jerusalem at the Passover celebration was ushered in with shouts of “Hosanna!”, meaning “Save now”. This began Jesus’ journey to the cross where ironically the original shouts of celebration ended up as the tragic calls of, “Crucify Him!”
Let’s look at the event of Palm Sunday:
- The palm branches which welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem represented goodness and victory. The people’s earthly hopes were disappointed as they were expecting salvation from their earthly oppressors. They didn’t recognize Him as their eternal King who offered their soul’s salvation and victory over eternal death.
- The donkey which Jesus rode into Jerusalem was prophesied already in the Old Testament (Zechariah 9: 9). It was common for kings and important people to ride a donkey as a sign of their peaceful intentions. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace.
- Jesus wept – Jesus cried as He entered Jerusalem as He knew that these people who cheered for Him would soon deny Him. His heart broke for His people because He came to gather them and they did not recognize their need for the Saviour.
It is estimated that one million people came into Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday to celebrate the Passover. Jesus came as a humble King, Priest, Prophet, and a suffering Servant. He came to bring a willing sacrifice to save humankind from their sin. The people were disappointed because their hopes and expectations of the Saviour were built on a faulty foundation which collapsed quickly. The purpose and true value of Christ’s coming was not recognized even by those closest to Christ until after His death, resurrection, and ascension to the Father.
Today, it is important for us to recognize that Jesus has come to offer us salvation which leads to eternal life. His word, the forgiveness of our sins, and the sacraments are gifts which He extends us. Through His grace and victory over evil, He strengthens us so that we will remain faithful to Him in all circumstances of life. We see Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer who leads us into eternal fellowship with Him.