We broke the rules this year. But hey, why work at an independent church if don’t switch things up? I know some will see this as a significant eye-roller but celebrating Palm Sunday a week early is living on the wild side for me.
Having arrested your attention, let’s talk about Palm Sunday.
In short, on Palm Sunday, we celebrate Jesus parading into Jerusalem on a donkey. One week later He dies on the cross. All four Gospel accounts have the story, so obviously it has great importance. (Not all 4 Gospels record all events of Jesus’ life.) We also call this “The Triumphal Entry.”
Why does Palm Sunday Matter?
In each of the accounts, Jesus parades into Jerusalem with the support of thousands. One week later, the same people cry for his execution. “Triumphal” certainly seems like a short-lived adverb in the story.
When Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, he fulfilled a prophecy.
“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.”
Zechariah 9:9 ESV
This makes one of over 400 prophecies Jesus fulfilled in His life. Jesus’ didn’t need popularity to finish His mission. He just needed to keep walking out God’s plan.
The Triumphal Entry (Palm Sunday) matters because it marked Jesus’ loudest declaration of His role. Jesus spent His ministry telling people to not rally the troops around Him. He didn’t want to get swept into the role of a political messiah.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus stops quieting the title and loudly puts on the name tag “Messiah.”
After riding into the city, the wellspring of popularity quiets into a packed week of teaching. Instead of sweeping Jesus into power, the crowds settled in to listen. Jesus taught to show the change He brought changed hearts, not kingdoms (not yet.).
Palm Sunday marks both the fulfillment of prophecy and the declaration of Jesus’ role as Messiah. Jesus presents Himself unavoidably for history to chose. I hope I live like believe the predictions about “messiah” found complete fulfillment in Jesus.