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01 — Palm Sunday

artwork created by Zoe Palmateer

01 — Palm Sunday

Day of the Week: Sunday
Location: Mount of Olives, Jerusalem, Bethany

Read: Mathew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19

Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Holy Week leading to Easter Sunday. It commemorates Jesus' triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, when people laid down palms and branches in front of him as a sign of honor. In modern times, churches hold Palm Sunday services in which worshippers are given a palm branch or cross made from palm leaves.

Palm Sunday is the day we remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem, a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment. The hundreds of people shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!" But while this is a triumphal entry, it is Jesus’ first step toward His death.

This event fulfilled Old Testament prophecy regarding the Messiah, Matthew 21:4 tells us: 'This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, 'Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.' (The prophecy is cited from Zechariah 9:9 and Isaiah 62:11.)

Palm Sunday also reminds us that Jesus is King. Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, “ Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace. When the people shouted "Hosanna!", they were hailing Christ as King. That word actually means "save now," and though in their own minds, they waited for an earthly king, God had a different way of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him. There is also symbolism in the palm branches that the people waved and laid before Jesus. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death.

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