Sunday, March 24, 2013
HOLY WEEK TIMELINE - Day 1: Palm Sunday's Triumphal Entry
Holy Week - Day 1: Palm Sunday's Triumphal Entry
Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Photo: Getty Images
Beginning with Palm Sunday, we'll walk the steps of Jesus Christ this Holy Week, visiting each of the major events that occurred during our Savior's week of passion.
On the Sunday before his death, Jesus began his trip to Jerusalem, knowing that soon he would lay down his life for the sins of the world. Nearing the village of Bethphage, he sent two of his disciples ahead to look for a donkey with its unbroken colt. Jesus instructed the disciples to untie the animals and bring them to him.
Then Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, fulfilling the ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. The crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
On Palm Sunday, Jesus and his disciples spent the night in Bethany, a town about two miles east of Jerusalem. In all likelihood, Jesus stayed in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that this trip would end in his sacrificial death for the sin of humanity. He sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage, about a mile away from the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He told them to look for a donkey tied by a house, with its unbroken colt next to it. Jesus instructed the disciples to tell the owners of the animal that "The Lord has need of it." (Luke 19:31, ESV)
The men found the donkey, brought it and its colt to Jesus, and placed their cloaks on the colt. Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In his path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air.
Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9, ESV)
By that time the commotion was spreading through the entire city. Many of the Galilean disciples had earlier seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Undoubtedly they were spreading the news of that miracle.
The Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus and afraid of the Romans, said: "'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" (Luke 19:39-40, ESV)
Points of Interest from the Triumphal Entry Story:
• When he told the disciples to get the donkey, Jesus referred to himself as 'The Lord,' a definite proclamation of his divinity.
• By riding into Jerusalem on a the colt of a donkey, Jesus fulfilled an ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: "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) This was the only instance in the Gospels in which Jesus rode an animal.
• Throwing cloaks in the path of someone was an act of homage and submission. The people were recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah.
• The people's cries of 'Hosanna' came from Psalm 118:25-26. Hosanna means "save now." Despite what Jesus had foretold about his mission, the people were looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel's independence.
Question for Reflection About the Palm Sunday Story:
The crowds refused to see Jesus as he truly was, placing their personal desires on him instead. Who is Jesus for you? Is he someone whom you want to satisfy your selfish wants and goals, or is he Lord and Master who gave up his life to save you from your sins?
(Sources: The New Compact Bible Dictionary, edited by T. Alton Bryant; New Bible Commentary, edited by G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France; and the ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles.)