Summary: Palm Sunday often gets overlooked under the shadow of Resurrection Sunday. But it is very significant for four important reasons. Also - how do you act when Jesus approaches your life?
In many places, including Romans 3, for instance, it becomes clear that the system of the Law cannot save anyone – but only points to one who can save, Jesus Christ. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple confirms that. In fact, Old Testament sacrifices did not really cleanse someone from sin – OT saints were sort of saved “on credit” in that the sacrificial system looked forward and pictured the only real sacrifice – Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9).
Luke 19:40 tells us that the leaders told Jesus to quiet the crowds – they knew what it meant for them to cry “Hosanna.” (a reference to Habakkuk 2:11). Habakkuk said the stones of Jerusalem would cry in judgment over the city’s sins just prior to its overthrow by Babylon. Here the stones of the city wall would bear witness to the rejection of Jesus by the Jews
It doesn’t mean that God is done with Israel. In Revelation 7 we see God move again mightily through a born-again Israel. Zechariah 12:10 says that the Jews will look on the Messiah “whom they have pierced” and will mourn.
I believe that when two things happen: the coming of a replacement Christ making a 7 year peace treaty with Israel, and the snatching away of the church – God will start the clock going again – like a hold in the countdown of a rocket – we are waiting to resume Daniels 70 weeks for Israel.
The crowd recognized the importance of the event, but not it’s purpose
The crowd came because Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but it was not to them He came.
They cried out a Messianic Psalm – 118.
“Hosanna” comes from Psalm 118:25. Notice a few important things from that Psalm if they had but paid attention:
:08 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man (yet in man they would trust)
:14 The LORD is my strength and my song, He has become my salvation (Jesus would become our salvation)
:19 Open to me the gates of righteousness ... this is the gate of the Lord (Jesus entered through the Eastern Gate. This gate would be shut by the Turks years later trying to stop Jesus from coming back)
:22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone (Jesus would be rejected by the Jews but became the cornerstone of all salvation)
:25 Save us we pray O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success! (They wanted military and social and economic success – Jesus provides success in life by saving us)
They thought He was coming as a king to free them from Rome, instead of a Savior to free them from sin. The same people who welcomed Him on Palm Sunday rejected Him just days later at the insistence of the Scribes and Pharisees.
God came in peace
In the past, meeting God meant death. But the fact that He came on a donkey meant He was coming to make peace with us, not war. All throughout the Old Testament, we find instances of fear when people realized they had come into God’s presence – fear for their life. We see it in Exodus, in the story of Gideon, of Samson’s parents and others. But this time, God comes in peace, to save life, not to take it. How? By riding in on a donkey.