Palm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, one week before His resurrection (Matthew 21:1–11). It is also, often referred to as "Passion Sunday," marking the beginning of Holy Week, which concludes on Resurrection Sunday. Palm Sunday marks the start of what is often called “Passion Week,” the final seven days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus had come to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and now the time was upon him—this was the place—to secure that salvation. Palm Sunday was like “commencement” celebration.
It begins with Jesus and the twelves disciples traveling over the Mount of Olives. As they approach Bethphage and Bethany at the hill, Jesus sends two of his disciples to secure an animal. The two disciples were given specific instructions on what type of animal to look for (Luke 19:29–30). As the two disciples untied the colt, the owners began to question them. The disciples responded with the answer Jesus had provided: “The Lord needs it” The owners being satisfied with the response from the disciples let them and the colt go without reservation. (Luke 19:31–34). And so, “They brought [the donkey] to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it” (Luke 19:35).
Jesus sitting on the young donkey slowly makes his humble entrance into Jerusalem. This is not His first time coming to Jerusalem for Passover. It is customary for Jews to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover. However, this entrance was different. He is coming closer to the culmination of a long journey toward Golgotha. He travels to Jerusalem while knowing that this journey would not be like other journeys—this journey would not be a journey where he declares peace and the storms and winds cease—this journey would not be a journey where he places spittle on a man’s eyes and he begins to see—this journey would not be a journey where he stands on top of a mountain and preaches while people sit and listen--- this journey was different… This journey would end in his own death on a cross.
His choice to ride in on a donkey, fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 (KJV). “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
It was common for kings and notable people of importance to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace. Individuals who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions.
Jesus and the disciples near their approach toward Jerusalem and a large multitude gathered around Him. This crowd was different than other crowds. This crowd was not gathering to receive a miracle. This crowd understood that Jesus was the Messiah. They greeted Jesus with enthusiasm, waving palm branches and covering His path with palm branches. The palm branch represented goodness and victory.
The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest " Matthew 21:9 (KJV). The shouts of "Hosanna" meant "save now”.
The crowd’s actions along the road gives rise to the name “Palm Sunday”. Some 450 to 500 years prior to Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah had prophesied the event we now call Palm Sunday. The prophecy was fulfilled in every particular way. It was a time of rejoicing, as Jerusalem welcomed their King. On Palm Sunday, we here at LIFE Church commemorate this special Sunday, as we begin what is known as Holy Week.
Elder Kevin Moore, LIFE Church Ministerial Team