On Palm Sunday, we celebrate the first joy of the season, as we celebrate Our Lord’s triumphant entrance into Jerusalem where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him and laying down palm leaves before him. It also marks the beginning of the Holy Week, with the greatest tragedy and sorrow of the year. Today the gospel reminds us that Christ is King. Let us take a look at the instances that goes on to show Jesus as the King
God’s Word tells us the people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death. The use of a donkey instead of a horse is highly symbolic, it represents the humble arrival of someone in peace, as opposed to arriving on a steed in war. “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zech. 9:9).
Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled Old Testament prophecy of Zech. 9:9. In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace. We see the people of Israel going through oppression at the hands of their rulers and the Roman Empire. The scene was not at all different even at the time of Jesus. The constant prayers of the people where for the intervention of God. They cried for a messiah to save them from the oppression. Jesus wanted to let the world know that he was the messiah he was the king, the son of God come down to save the world and coming on a donkey symbolized this.
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!” Ps. 118:26.
When the people shouted “Hosanna!” they were hailing Christ as King. Hosanna means “save now,” and though in their own minds they waited for an earthly king. People were looking for a messiah – searching for a savior – and they expected Jesus to come into Jerusalem and save the people. They thought they had the answer for their cries in the person of Jesus. Because he had fed the people. He had healed the sick. He had raised the dead. God had a different way in mind of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him. God gave his only son to save us from eternal damnation. Jesus came to dwell in the hearts of men and women – to recreate them in God’s image. Jesus came to change people’s hearts.
The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem. In the midst of the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn’t be long that these same people would turn their backs on Him, betray Him, and crucify Him. His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Savior.”As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it, and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:41-42).
Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any the mind of man could ever conceive or plan. Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world. Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over death. This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free of death.
In this Holy Week, may God direct our thoughts and attention towards what matters most, Jesus Christ our King. Let’s choose to focus on worshipping our Lord, thanking Him for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power of the Resurrection, and the new life found in Him alone.