The origins of Palm Sunday

A Sunday before Easter Christians celebrate the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem, that is also called Palm Sunday. In this article I want to present the origins of this holy feast and its meaning for every Christian.

Palm Sunday is a day when we celebrate an event from Jesus’ life

This event is related in all those four Gospels (Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–10, Luke 19:29–48 and John 12:12–19). The Gospel of Luke describes this event more detailed and here is the whole passage:

When He approached Bethphage and Bethany, near the mount that is called Olivet, He sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village ahead of you; there, as you enter, you will find a colt tied on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” So those who were sent went away and found it just as He had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” They said, “The Lord has need of it.” They brought it to Jesus, and they threw their coats on the colt and put Jesus on it. As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: “BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:29–38)(NASB)

Palm Sunday is a day when we celebrate the King of Kings

A common reader doesn’t perceive as something strange the entry of the Lord Jesus on a colt in Jerusalem, but this event was prophesied before and people knew that the King of Israel, Messiah or the Savior was going to come in that way in Jerusalem. When they saw Jesus entering on a colt in Jerusalem, all people understood that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy told by the prophet Zechariah, when he said:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)(NASB)

Those who love God praised Jesus the King on Palm Sunday

The disciples threw their coats on the colt. The evangelist Matthew says: “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road.” (Matthew 21:8)(NASB). The evangelist John says that: “On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”” (John 12:12–13)(NASB). People worshipped God when they spread their coats and branches on the road. That’s why, nowadays Christians use to bring branches at church on Palm Sunday. Some come with their hearts full of gratitude to worship the King of Honor and to thank Him for the salvation they have received, but others do this only as a custom, and they don’t understand the sense of this feast, because they haven’t received the true salvation.

Those who considered themselves righteous were angry with Palm Sunday

When the evangelist Luke describes the entry of Jesus in Jerusalem, he says that when they heard how the disciples and the crowd praised the Savior: “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples” But Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!”. Pharisees were people who were right in their own eyes, a kind of their own religion, taking some principles from the Old Testament and in that way they thought they would inherit the Kingdom of Heavens. The Scripture says they disregarded the righteousness given by God through the Lord Jesus and they set up their own righteousness. No one can save himself, but there are many people today that don’t accept the salvation given by Jesus and even if they call themselves Christians, they live their own religion and diregard the Word of God.

Some remained indifferent towards the salvation brought by the Lord Jesus, even on Palm Sunday

Here is what the evangelist Luke relates:

When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. (Luke 19:41–44)(NASB)

While the Son of God, the King of Kings, entered their city, some were concerned about their daily problems. They didn’t care about the salvation of their own souls, they didn’t pay any attention to this. They didn’t recognize the time when they were visited by God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why, great sorrows were coming upon them and they didn’t even know about them. The history says that all these words were fulfilled in only 40 years after the Savior had told them. Did you recognize the day of your visitation?

Let us worship the Savior with clean hearts and full of gratitude when we are going to celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus in Jerusalem, and in all days of our lives.

Translated by Felicia Djugostran