This post is part of a 6-part series leading up to Easter service on April 16th. Click the inline Easter banner below for more details.
Part 2 can be found here -> Are You Holy Enough for Communion?
The Valley Church will celebrating Palm Sunday this Sunday as we prepare our church for Easter. But what exactly is Palm Sunday? One week before the resurrection of Jesus we find our Savior entering into the city of Jerusalem. The sight was one to behold as a great multitude of people welcomed the King in a way that was fitting for royalty.
The narrative of the Triumphal Entry is one of only a few stories we find recorded in all 4 gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). This places great emphasis on this occasion. But why is it so significant? Well, for starters, it fulfills prophesy.
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah tells us in chapter 9 and verse 9 that the coming King of Israel would one day come:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey (ESV)
Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, and John 12 all record the events as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. In fact, Matthew’s gospel even quotes Zechariah’s prophesy in verse 5.
As Jesus enters into Jerusalem on the back of a borrowed donkey a few things transpire. First, the crowd cries out “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.” The worship of Jesus was on display and, unlike times before, Jesus allowed the worship to happen. Previously Jesus would stop the worship seemingly to allow His ministry to carry on without much flack from the rulers. This time He allowed it to continue. Jesus knew His time was at hand so why not let the people worship?
The streets of Jerusalem were open to Jesus. The people laid palm branches and cloaks on the streets as Jesus rode down them. They laying down of cloaks was a way to pay homage to royalty (See 2nd Kings 9:13). The people openly declared that He was their King! Unfortunately, a majority of the people worshipped Jesus because they thought He would bring destruction against Rome and deliver the Jewish people. These same voices that sang “HOSANNA” on Sunday were yelling “Crucify Him” just a few days later. Often, that’s our relationship with Jesus too, isn’t it? We find it easy to honor Him and worship Him during the seasons of happiness and fruitfulness and easy to deny Him when it seems as if His plan is contrary to our own.
John MacArthur records in his book “One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of our Lord”:
The story of the triumphal entry is one of contrasts, and those contrasts contain applications to believers. It is the story of the King who came as a lowly servant on a donkey, not a prancing steed, not in royal robes, but on the clothes of the poor and humble. Jesus Christ comes not to conquer by force as earthly kings but by love, grace, mercy, and His own sacrifice for His people. His is not a kingdom of armies and splendor but of lowliness and servanthood. He conquers not nations but hearts and minds. His message is one of peace with God, not of temporal peace. If Jesus has made a triumphal entry into our hearts, He reigns there in peace and love. As His followers, we exhibit those same qualities, and the world sees the true King living and reigning in triumph in us.