Today Is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. We will be posting more frequently as part of a special series to mark this.
If you are not familiar with the events of Palm Sunday, I would suggest that you have a look at Luke 19: 28-44. Otherwise, here are the key facts:
- Jesus entered into the Jerusalem riding on a donkey from a mountain road, the apostles were with Him.
- As he did this, he was greeted by an extremely large crowd of his followers
- The crowd was extremely happy, waving palm branches and placing them on Jesus’s path (hence it being called Palm Sunday) and shouting praises to Him
For context, I think it it is appropriate to think of a victory parade of a sports team. Or, another example that I think is appropriate to the setting is the scene at the airport in Montreal when Didier Drogba arrived at the end of July 2015, a video of which is below. To be clear, I am NOT implying that an athlete or sports team should be viewed or treated as a god- that is idolatry.
So now that we have context, let us examine deeper issues.
First of all, there is the issue of what the crowds were shouting. While not present in the Luke passage, the other gospels state that one of the things that was shouted was “Hosanna”. Many people understand this to be a shout of praise similar to hallelujah, however I have also seen it being described as plea for salvation, which is something that only a Messiah can grant These shouts of praise and the magnitude of the events clearly demonstrates that Jesus had been acknowledged as the one who would be crowned King.
When Jesus saw the city, he wept openly over it and went on to predict the tumult of the time to come, for He knew what was to come.
It is important to understand that the king that the people thought He was going to be was an earthly one, one who would come in, kick the Romans out of Jerusalem, send the Pharisees out into the wilderness, essentially to be the leader of a an earthly, political and military revolution….which as we know is not at all what happened.
As we know, Jesus was crowned King, except his crown was one of thorns and his throne was a cross….but this will be discussed further in other posts this week. What I want to simply highlight is the highs of Palm Sunday go someway towards understanding the context of the week, and in my opinion also makes it easier to understand the fear of the Twelve when the mobs came….THAT was not what they had in mind when they walked down the hill towards the cheering crowd in Jerusalem.