Summary: As Jesus came closer... He began to weep, “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.”
The Events of Palm Sunday, are recorded in all four of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Huge crowds had journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Passover is a spring festival which commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven or eight days.
Passover or Pesach in Hebrew was and still is an important Jewish holiday.
It’s when the Jewish people celebrate God delivering them from slavery in Egypt.
Passover commemorates the Exodus that took place around 1300 BC, or about 3,317 years ago.
God helped the Children of Israel escape from their slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians before the Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of the Egyptian first-born.
The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a slaughtered spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord knew to pass over the first-born in these homes, hence the English name of the holiday.
Historically, together with Shavuot (“Pentecost”) and Sukkot (“Tabernacles”), Pesach, “Passover” is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire population of the kingdom of Judah made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.
Can you imagine the huge crowds that had already arrived for the celebration of the Passover? It would have been an amazing site.
So many people gathering in one place to celebrate, to remember what God had done for them.
So many sights and sounds and probably smells too!
I think it would have been exciting to be part of that crowd of pilgrims, young and old, rich and poor, all walking together to celebrate.
Jews travelling from all over the known world and joining together to follow the route from the Mount of Olives, past the Garden of Gethsemane,
across the Kidron Valley,
then up to the Eastern gate of the city of Jerusalem.
Passover was a special time, but there was something even more special about this specific Sunday.
This was the day that would come to be known as Palm Sunday.
There was a whisper in the crowds that day, a whisper that became a shout, He is on His way! He is coming! “JESUS IS COMING”.
Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and He was riding on a donkey’s colt in fulfillment of the words of the prophet Zechariah from Zechariah 9:9,
“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.”
In the East, kings rode horses during times of war, and donkeys during times of peace.
The donkey was considered to be a very noble animal. Kings, princes, & judges rode upon donkeys.
Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah He was righteous, victorious and humble and also riding on a donkey.
Jesus was coming, the King was coming and a crowd of people ran to greet His arrival shouting “Hosanna”
“Hosanna” it’s the Hebrew word for “Save now!”
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna to the son of David!”
Luke 19:36-38 describes it in this way.
36 As Jesus rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of Him.
37 When Jesus reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.
38 “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!
Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!”
Can you imagine the scene?
This was an important moment, a significant moment,
riding towards the city on a donkey,
a symbol of kingship,
the crowds gathered all around Jesus,
shouting, singing, praising, worshiping,
and almost like today when we roll out a red carpet for someone important to walk on,
the people were throwing their coats on the ground before Him.
Maybe in the crowd there were some of the people Jesus had healed.
Maybe in the crowd were some of the thousands He had fed with just 5 loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
Maybe in the crowd were some who had seen some of the many other miracles Jesus had performed.
Perhaps many in the crowd that day would have heard Jesus preach and teach before.
Perhaps they had listened to Jesus and their lives had been changed.
But, some people were not feeling the same way, some it seems, thought that the crowds were taking it a little too far, listen to Luke 19:39-40,
39 But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!”