Holy Week. Day 1. Palm Sunday.
In case you didn’t know, today began what is known as Holy Week. Yep, the week before Easter. And it starts officially today. Palm Sunday.
I am amazed, saddened really, that a lot of churches this morning went through the entire day without even mentioning the significance of this day and the events leading up to Christ’s death.
If you attend a church or have been in a Palm Sunday service when they wave palm branches perhaps you were not fully aware of the significance of this tradition or where the symbolism actually came from. I shall explain.
First of all, when Jesus rode the donkey on a way paved with palm branches it was in actuality a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (see Zechariah 9:9).
In biblical times, (especially in this era of Roman rule) the custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; and riding it was a symbolic gesture that proclaimed peaceful intentions. When a king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph, people would lay palm branches in his path to signify the victory of the king.
Here is out it played out for Jesus:
¶ On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written,
“FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.”
With these folks living in a period where there legally was no king but Caesar, you gotta know, this didn’t go over very well. Stay tuned.
verses for today:
Matt. 21: 1-17
John 12:12, 13