Palm Sunday, the annual celebration before Easter Sunday commemorates the triumphant entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The event happened on the first day of the Passion Week. The name "Palm Sunday" comes from John 12:13, "They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna?'" (NIV). The celebration started around 3rd-4th century AD. However, does the event have any significance for us today? Can we learn any lesson from it?
This event demonstrates humility and peace by Jesus (verse 30). Jesus opted to enter Jerusalem on a donkey (see Matthew 21:2), not a horse. Donkey and colt symbolize humility and peace while horse is usually associated with power and war. The outcomes of His option were honor and glorification (verses 37, 38; John 12:19). The Christian message is not of force or domineering, but a message of peace (see Ephesians 6:15), because "...everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:14 NIV).
The event amplifies total surrender (verse 35). The owners surrendered the colt to the strangers that came to untie it. Likewise, the colt allowed itself to be used by Jesus to ride on it. We should also be ready to surrender our possessions and even ourselves totally for the Master's use.
The aftermath of the submission is another significance - unmerited honor (verses 35, 36). It is unusual to saddle a donkey or a colt, but because of the submission of the colt, it was saddled and it became an instrument for Jesus Christ. The colt received part of the honor done to Jesus by people. Anyone that surrenders his/her life to Jesus will also experience the grace - the unmerited favor - granted by God (see Ephesians 1:3-4; 2:4-8).
Furthermore, the unreliability and inconsistency of man were demonstrated in this event (verses 37-38). Less than a week after the event, the same Jerusalem crowd that was shouting "Hosanna!" to Jesus was also shouting, "Crucify Him!" (23:18-23). Jesus was not surprised. He had earlier declared about them: "You bunch of hypocrites! Isaiah the prophet described you very well when he said, 'These people speak very prettily about the Lord but they have no love for him at all. Their worship is a farce?'" (Mark 7:6 TLB). Are you such a person?
Lastly, we see the need to be praising God always in this event (verses 38-40). Some of the Pharisees wanted Jesus to stop the people that were praising Him, but He told them a fundamental truth: "If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out" (Luke 19:40 NIV). This means that if we also refuse to praise God, He will raise other people, even stones to praise Him! May God not replace me with stones in His vineyard.
As we celebrate this year Palm Sunday, think of it: Do you know its significances? Do they have any impact in your life?
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
This message was first sent out on April 4, 2004.
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