“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!”” John 12:12-13 NKJV
The huge crowds in Jerusalem for the Passover observance had heard of the miracles of Jesus, including the raising of Lazarus from the dead. As Jesus rode into town on a lowly donkey colt (fulfilling the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9) the people threw down their clothes and palm branches on the road, a welcome for a king. They were shouting praise to God and welcoming the “King of Israel” who, they believed, would save them from Roman rule.
But God’s plan was different. He was fulfilling His own plan to save all people!
I have to confess that this was a difficult post to write. I wanted to do something for Palm Sunday but it is such a familiar story to most of us. There really wasn’t a different perspective that I thought I could add. So I thought about our family trip to Israel in 2010. It was a spectacular trip for all of us! Our guide was a Messianic Jew who had emigrated from the US to Israel when her children were young. At each place we went we were asked to take out our Bibles and read aloud scriptures that pertained to that location. What happened there, who had been there and what significance it had? I believe it brought all of us (even two teenagers!) closer to God and strengthened our faith.
To walk the Jerusalem streets that Jesus had walked was a unique and awe inspiring trek. To visit the churches built on what are thought to be the actual places Jesus performed miracles or gave a sermon was wonderful. We were able to walk the Palm Sunday path that Jesus and His disciples may have taken into Jerusalem, it was humbling and exhilarating! The history of Israel is vast and for Christians, truly amazing!
So as I struggled with this blog, I imagined the “parade” for Jesus as He rode humbly into Jerusalem for Passover with His disciples. He was God and He was man. He had an unbelievable task ahead of Him. Did He have to hold His human emotions in check? Did He praise God with the people and the disciples or did he quietly contemplate the love He had for everyone and His part in saving them? We don’t and can’t know, but we can appreciate the humanity of Jesus and what He did for all of us.
So this week as we get begin to celebrate one of our greatest Christian holidays, Easter, let us be thankful for God’s saving plan for all humankind and for Jesus’ sacrifice that made it possible.
I thank God for each of you! And I thank you for joining me today to explore Palm Sunday.