Today is Palm Sunday on which Christians around the world celebrate Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem just a few days before he was crucified. Here are a few quick facts that may provide a fresh look at this inaugural scene in the Passion Week.
Better yet, click HERE for a brief podcast exploring the significance of the Triumphal Entry as you prepare your heart for Easter.
- We celebrate Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, one week before Easter morning.
- This dramatic entry into the city where Jesus would die a few days later displays quite a shift in his M.O. Up to this point, he’d been much more secretive with the masses about his identity.
- Most of the action—the laying down of cloaks, waving of palm branches, and shouts of Hosanna—take place as Jesus and the crowd approached Jerusalem, before he entered the city gate. (See Matthew 21:10 – entering the city comes at the very end of this story.)
- Jesus doesn’t request a donkey for his grand entrance because he was tired of walking. (He’d been walking for miles and miles and only road the donkey for a short stint.) The donkey is full of prophetic significance. Zechariah 9:9 prophesied that Israel’s king would come to them on a donkey. This certainly emphasizes the kind of king he will be. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
- The crowd traveling with him – who had likely recently been awed by his raising of Lazarus from the dead – paves the road with their cloaks and palm branches.
- The lying down of cloaks is a sign of submission (2 Kings 9:13).
- The palm branches are a symbol that the victorious God had come to dwell with his people.
- There are two distinct “crowds” in this story.
- The crowd traveling with Jesus who shouts Hosanna and lays down their cloaks and waves palm branches are Galilean disciples of Jesus. Their acclimations herald Jesus as the Messiah.
- The skeptics inside of Jerusalem who demand his crucifixion a few days later are Jews native to the city.
- The bottom line – Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is an unmistakable announcement about his identity as King of Israel. He wasn’t the king that adoring Galilean crowd expected, however. He’d set his face to Jerusalem to willingly suffer and die.