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Sunday, April 13, 2014

What's the Deal With Palm Sunday?

Jesus’ ministry has brought him to Jerusalem to reveal himself as The Messiah. The nation of Israel had been waiting for their savior to arrive and deliver them.

Zechariah 9:9 foretold, “...your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a
donkey.”

People came out from Jerusalem and laid palm fronds and tree branches and cloaks out on the road for Jesus, mounted on a donkey to ride across as he entered. Thus, Palm Sunday and the fulfillment of the prophecy.

The Jews of Jesus’ time expected a military leader who would end Roman rule and restore them to power. But the Pharisees and the Sadducees were blind to the very scripture they were supposed to be expert in. Jesus had been born in a manger. He rode into his city on a donkey. He was there to bring salvation by triumphing over sin, not by wielding a sword and conquering men.

Palm Sunday represents Jesus’ revelation as our savior by being the Lamb of God, not the sword of God. Later in Holy Week he would tell of his Second Coming, which will be the opposite. In Matthew 24:30, we read, “T 

That’s from the Olivet Discourse, which Jesus gave to his disciples on Thursday of Holy Week. It’s one of my favorite passages in the Bible and I’ll be posting a missive on it on…you guessed it, Thursday.

Jesus entered the world as a lamb: A sacrificial lamb, to be more precise. Though man and Satan thought that they triumphed over Jesus by crucifying him, Jesus showed them it was God’s victory by rising from the dead three days later. As Paul tells us in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus has come as a lamb. Next time, he will come as a lion. Palm Sunday represents Jesus revealing himself as the Messiah of scripture, not human perception. While that is a glorious thing, it is also bittersweet, as the Jews’ failure to recognize their savior dooms them. As Jesus says in Luke 19:41-44:

41As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

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