Palm Sunday marks the start of Holy Week in the Christian Calendar and marks the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds of people cheered and waved palm branches. Almost 600 years had passed since a king in the line of David sat on a Jewish throne in Jerusalem and many were eager for the promised Messiah, or Anointed One, to lead an overthrow of the oppressive Roman occupation. Many also were hoping for an overthrow of the equally oppressive religious leaders who imposed a strict regimen of impossible-to-adhere-to rules and regulations.
That’s why, when Jesus approached the City of David riding on a donkey it seemed to be the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy:
“Say to Daughter Zion,Zechariah 9:9
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
As the crowd spread garments before the man they thought would be their physical deliverer, they also waved palm branches and shouted,
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”“Hosanna to the Son of David!”Matthew 21:10
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The word Hosanna means save. What the crowd was saying was “save us from the physical and spiritual oppression that controls our lives. Lead us in a rebellion that will set us free.” The people did not understand that the kind of rebellion that Jesus would lead was not going to be a physical one that would provide temporary freedom, but a much more significant spiritual rebellion that would provide eternal freedom for all mankind.
Christians today celebrate Palm Sunday to remind us of King Jesus who, within a week, would turn the world upside down by allowing himself to be killed for the sins of everyone, and to rise from the dead to provide assurance of eternal life to those who accept the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.
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