Today is Palm Sunday and the celebration of today is quite significant for the body of Christ. I’ve had a basic understanding of the story surrounding the celebration of Palm Sunday but I wanted to dig a little deeper so I could connect more with the significance. I uncovered a lot during my time with God, but after learning more of the meaning of Palm Sundway, I had to ask myself, what does it look like to walk in a promise such as this?
I started by reading the scriptures of The Triumphal Entry out of John 12:12-16
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:
‘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.”
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.
Palm Sunday signifies the beginning of Holy Week which for Christians is a time of reflection on the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and leading to the culmination of Easter Sunday. But why is it called Palm Sunday and what’s the significance of palm branches, shouting Hosanna and why did Jesus ride in on a donkey? Through a combination of scripture reading and internet searches I learned a lot! For the sake of time I will just touch upon the most important points to me and since it’s called Palm Sunday I thought it would be best to start with the symbolism of palm branches as it relates to the scripture.
A symbol of joy, steadfastness, victory and triumph, that’s what the palm branch represented in biblical times. They were used in festive activities or joyful occasions such as the feasts of the Lord described in Leviticus 23:40 but were also a way of welcoming the procession of kings. It’s even spoken about in the book of Revelations when it says, all nations will stand before the throne and the Lamb, clothes with white robes and having palm branches in their hands – Revelation 7:9. Those are some pretty significant symbols for the branch of a tree! So what about the word Hosanna? How is this word that has been used in Christian songs today as well as Psalms in the bible prove to be important?
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel!”
Hosanna is what the people were shouting as Jesus entered Jerusalem. When doing an internet search you can find a few different meaning, but the most common meaning I found was the meaning Save. Jesus came to do exactly that….save the world. Save mankind from the penalty of sin.
The next part of what the people shouted was:
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel” The disciples recognized that Jesus was the promised King who would be sent by God but more on that in just a bit. First, let’s touch upon the donkey written in John 12:16.
A donkey….why a donkey and not a horse or camel or any other animal that could carry people and their belongings? The significance of the donkey can actually be found all throughout scripture. It’s associated with kings and their arrival in peace, whereas kings on horses signified war. The Old Testament actually has several references to donkeys and how they are sprinkled throughout the books of 1 Samuel and 1 Kings. Once I read some of the scriptures in 1 Samuel and 1 Kings I could actually see the significance of the donkeys used in these books, but I know I have a lot more studying to do to fully understand them all. However for the reference here in John 12, the mention of the donkey shows the symbolic fulfillment of the prophesy in Zechariah 9:9
The Coming King
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
The King would come lowly and riding on a donkey. For me, it’s hard to picture a king entering any place in such a way but this is the exact the way it happened when Jesus entered Jerusalem. Now before I bring this all together, I have to touch upon the last part of John 12:16.
I find it interesting that John 12:16 speaks of the the disciples not understanding what they were witnessing but that later (after the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus), they were able to see that the prophesies in the old testament were fulfilled (again a reference to Zechariah 9:9).
Now to bring this all together!
As Jesus humbly and peacefully entered into Jerusalem (on a donkey) the people welcomed Him with great joy even though they didn’t realize they were also welcoming him with great triumph and victory (palm branches). The people shouted Hosanna, (save us) and Blessed is the name of the person who comes in the name of the Lord. God sent His only begotten son Jesus, who came to save mankind through salvation in Him! The people were to fear not as their King had arrived. The disciples were unaware of the significance of these events they were witnessing which came from the book of Zechariah 9:9. These things were later revealed to the disciples and they realized that the prophesy had been fulfilled.
When I first started writing this post I thought I was taking a break from our series of Walking in His Promises just to speak about Palm Sunday. However my time in scripture on this subject has shown me that Palm Sunday, the start of the Holy Week, led into the Ultimate Promise that we all are able to walk in. The acceptance of Christ as the Messiah, the invitation our hearts extend in accepting Him into our lives, that’s what allows us to walk in His promises. Wow!!! Way to bring things full circle!
As I head into this week coloring eggs with my kiddos and prepping baskets full of sweet treats I’m making it my goal to take time every morning this week to sit and reflect on the final journey Christ had leading up to the resurrection. Honestly it’s a hard journey to reflect on when you understand the impact His actions made on the whole word and particularly in one’s own life, but it’s also my favorite to reflect on because of the significance of the resurrection which has always brought me to tears of unmeasurable gratitude!
Blessing for a wonderful week ahead!