Summary: The Triumphal Entry by Jesus on Palm Sunday will remain in history as one of the best organized confrontation to the powers that be. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem proved He was the real leader and not Rome nor the High Priest. For this, He had to die.
PUBLIC PARADE PROVOKES PUNISHMENT
The Triumphal Entry was the final death knell for our Lord. Jesus had been in the Jerusalem area ever since He raised Lazarus from the grave and He had been the center of everyone’s talk and wonderment. Staying outside of the Holy City, He waited for the right time to make His entry.
Within the City, people were congregating from all over Israel for the Passover which they would be celebrating that week. While the many flowed into the City, the word was asked by everyone, “Will He be coming to the Passover?” The people knew that Jesus had now gained the attention of the religious hierarchy and the Roman Government and the question burned with excitement over His plans and the exact nature of His next move.
According to John 12:12, people heard rumors that indeed He was coming and soon He appeared walking towards the gates of the City. Without any prompting from the disciples, the Bible says that the multitude began to line the streets, taking off their outer garments and laying them on the cobblestone road while displaying palm branches, proclaiming Him as their King. Following the spontaneous actions of the people, He mounted a donkey and rode into the city as a conquering Hero.
Suddenly the Roman government officials along with the religious leaders of that day, were thrown into a complete quandary as to what to do with this “Prophet” who was accepting the reverence from the Jewish people in the most holiest week of the Jewish calendar-Passover.
The tension mounted to the boiling point as the possibility of something happening which could spiral out of control very quickly. News spread across the entire City that Jesus had entered, riding a donkey, accepting the platitudes of the people, while ignoring Rome and the Jewish religious leaders. Outside on the streets, the crowd grew and grew. Amidst the approbation of the common people there swelled a giant chorus of praise and worship. On the inside of the Antonia Fortress where Pilate was residing, he watched with nervous tension. Herod, was close by in his humongous palace and was hushed as he saw a potential threat to Rome and to himself unfolding before his very eyes. Inside the Temple, the High Priest anxiously waited to see what this “rabbi” would be doing next.
The parade ended at the Temple and Jesus dismounted the donkey, walked inside the Temple, looked around and left-broken hearted. The crowd dispersed, the tensions abated across the city, but this event would not go unchallenged by Rome or the Jewish leaders. This was too close for comfort and both Rome and the High Priest decided that some type of action had to take place and very quickly lest He bring all the might of Rome and the weighty religious legal system crashing down on their heads. Within the week of this glorious outpouring of acceptance by the common people, Jesus would die. This Public Parade Provoked Punishment for Jesus.
As I study the events of Palm Sunday from the Bible, I see three areas of importance. The first one being the POTENTATES who were gathered together in Jerusalem during this Passover Week. Next, I notice the PROCESSION of this parade. Then, I study the POSSIBILITIES of what could have happened and what actually happened during Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.
I. POTENTATES: Rarely were there three very important leaders in Jerusalem at one time. But on this special week there were three very important leaders of men who came together at one spot on this Earth and these three forever changed history.
The first ruler I mention is Herod, the Powerful one. He was made King of Palestine by the Romans and he made sure that he was going to stay king for as long as he lived. Herod had built for himself and his family a palatial palace in old Jerusalem but preferred not to stay there too often. He also built the Second Temple for the Jewish nation-not that he was religious-but to placate the Jews.
His preferred place to live was not in Jerusalem but on top of what later came to be called, Massada. This place was located near the Salt Sea or what is now the Dead Sea, south of Jerusalem, and it is a barren and windswept land. It is located about a two hour drive from Jerusalem and it is extremely isolated. The hill was nothing until Herod defied all engineers and builders of his time and had a palace erected on the slope of this huge mountain which is 400 meters above sea level. There was where he stayed most of the time lest there be a revolt in Israel and he had to flee for his life. He could live on top of this impregnable mountain for years and never have to be taken by force. Yet for Passover Week, Herod arrived in the Holy City and stayed at his palace so he could take charge of any unrest which might develop during this week of great importance to the Jews.