Easter is the most important holiday of the Christian calendar. It is our celebration of Christ’s victory over death, hell and the grave. It is our assurance of pardon and the reason we can talk directly to God. Before Easter, we celebrate Palm Sunday. This is the beginning of events during Jesus’ ministry that lead up to Easter. However, sometimes the importance of this day is sometimes lost. Palm Sunday is important.
The Triumphal Entry: Zachariah gave a prophecy about this event. In the ninth chapter and the ninth verse, the prophet mentions the King, the Messiah riding into Jerusalem with two donkeys, riding one of them.
As He entered the city, people laid down their outer garments and cut palm branches to cover the road before Him. As He came into the city, they shouted, “Hosanna, glory to God in the Highest! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” They called Him the Son of David, and shouted for Him to save them.
What does Hosanna mean? The dictionary meaning of hosanna is an expression of joy, praise and adoration. At the time, however, it meant “save us.” As Christians, we shout it for joy, and are glad of the salvation already granted.
What did the palm leaves and clothing represent? There is another incident in the Bible where people laid down their outer clothing and palm branches before a king. After Jehu was anointed, the people did the same thing, shouting, “Jehu is king!” This is what they were proclaiming when He came into Jerusalem.
How did the Pharisees react? They did not like it at all. They told Jesus to make His disciples stop, and He replied that, “If the people were to stop, the very rocks would cry out.” As they were surrounded by the people they couldn’t touch Him, but this incident set what they considered the seal on Jesus’ fate. They planned to kill Him.
Why did the people shout “crucify Him” a week later? The short answer is they didn’t. Those who were with Him for His triumphal entry were either His supporters or the poor and downtrodden. The folks that wanted Him dead were those who had money and power. If Jesus were to have an earthly reign, they would lose power. Of course they shouted, “Crucify Him.” They had too much to lose.
When we as Christians look at Palm Sunday, it’s wise to actually take a look at it separately and not just wave the branches. It is significant to our salvation, a critical part of Holy Week.
We should also examine our faith. Which group are we in? Will we welcome the second coming? Will our beliefs allow us to welcome Christ back? Or, on the other hand, have we wrapped ourselves in church dogma to the point that He would have to be seen by a committee before we could accept that it’s really Him? I know what I believe…come, Lord Jesus, Amen.