Palm Sunday: A walk through Holy Week

Palm Sunday — Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem ushers in Holy Week.

It fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies:

Rejoice, O people of Zion!
    Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
    He is righteous and victorious,
yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—
    riding on a donkey’s colt.

Zechariah 9:9

Please, Lord, please save us.
    Please, Lord, please give us success.
Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
    We bless you from the house of the Lord.

Psalm 118:25-26

You have taught children and infants
    to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
    and all who oppose you.

Psalm 8:2

The scene is relayed in all four Gospels

Here is Mark’s version:

As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”

The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it.

Many in the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others spread leafy branches they had cut in the fields. Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting,

“Praise God! (“Hosanna” in Greek)
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Blessings on the coming Kingdom of our ancestor David!
Praise God in highest heaven!”

So Jesus came to Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon. Then he returned to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

Mark 11:1-11

The crowd shouted “Hosanna!” which in Hebrew means “Saved” and “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” – a phrase from Psalm 118:26 – again fulfilling a prophecy from the Old Testament.

Matthew witnessed this:

He entered the city of Jerusalem in triumph in fulfillment of the Holy Scriptures that the Jews knew by heart. The crowd proclaimed Him the Savior, the Messiah – the Anointed One.

The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as he entered. “Who is this?” they asked.

And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:8-12

Everything seemed great. The public’s laying their coats on the road before him is an act to honor royalty. Prior to this, Jesus wouldn’t allow the people to acknowledge Him as their King.

In Roman times, a conquering king would ride into the city on a war horse or chariot, not a donkey. He chose a donkey to fulfill the Scriptures mentioned above.

The people were convinced that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. What happened in four days to warrant Jesus’ arrest and execution?

Luke adds this to the story:

Palm Sunday

But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”

He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

Luke 19:39-40

Here’s John’s contribution:

His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.

Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”

John 12: 16-19

It’s kind of ironic that the Pharisees, the Jewish leaders and “teachers of the law” — the people who should have accepted Jesus as the Jewish Messiah — were the ones who didn’t.

Let’s walk with Jesus through Holy Week to the Resurrection and beyond!

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Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone be the Glory!