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What Palm Sunday Teaches US

Palm Sunday
Cross made out of palm fronds.

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the Sunday before Easter and marks the beginning of the Holy Week. It is a day set aside, to commemorate Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem as Saviour and King. The Gospels tell us that people spread their cloaks on a donkey as Jesus rode on it, while many spread their cloaks on the roads, and others palm branches, giving Him a royal treatment. (See Matthew 21:1-11).

The hundreds of people shouted in unison, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” This was hinged on the hope that He would liberate them from their oppressors. For them, salvation from the brutal Romans had finally arrived.

Simultaneously, the Gospel writers remind us that Jesus was fulfilling yet another prophesy.

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king come to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, a foal of a donkey!”

As He rode into Jerusalem, we are reminded of three truths. First, the donkey stands as a symbol of Jesus coming with peaceful intentions, as the Prince of Peace. He stands as a gateway of peace with our fellow men, with ourselves and ultimately with God.  Paul sums it up, “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Secondly, the chant of Hosanna (which means “save now”), represents His offer of true salvation to all who trust in Him. As John puts it, “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.” (1 John 3: 8).  He offers freedom from our greatest enemy (a greater enemy than the Romans).

Finally, as palm branches are widely recognized as symbols of victory and peace, we are reminded of the ultimate victory He would purchase few days later.

Today, many fold the palm leaves to make crosses and post them over doorways to celebrate the day.

Five days later, the same crowd would chant, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”. That was His road to victory!