Palm Sunday of Holy Week
This is Holy Week, the week immediately preceding Easter or Resurrection Sunday. It is observed in many churches as a time to remember the suffering and death of Jesus through various traditions and worship services.
We are often so focused on the joyful celebrations of Palm Sunday and Easter that we miss the suffering, humiliation and death that are all part of Holy Week. It is important that we place the hope of the Resurrection and the promise of newness of life, against the background of death. As you walk through the shadows and darkness of Holy Week and Good Friday, only then do you really grasp the horror and magnitude of sin and its consequences. Only then can you fully understand the light and hope of Sunday morning!
This week we’ll take a look at the events which led up to the death of Jesus.
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week and Jesus’ final agonizing journey to the cross. It is an interesting day, the day of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, as prophesied by Zechariah in chapter 9, verse 9. Entering in this way emphasized the humility that was to characterize the Kingdom He proclaimed. It was a festive time with a parade route strewn with palm branches and the crowds, who were in Jerusalem for Passover, waving palm branches and proclaiming Jesus to be Messiah.
The irony in all of this was that the very crowds that proclaimed Him king during the parade were mocking Him five days later. They had heard His sermons, been fed with loaves and fishes, were healed of their diseases and delivered of their demons. But as the week went on and things began to change, so did they. Their cries of “Hosanna” turned to shouts of a very different kind: “Crucify Him!”
1 When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples,
2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.
3 “If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY, EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.’ ”
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them,
7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.
8 Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.
9 The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David; BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Hosanna in the highest!”
10 When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?”
11 And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Readings for the day:
• Matthew 21:1-11
• Zechariah 9:9
• Luke 19:29-40
• Mark 11:1-10Holy Week