Worshippers all over the world will celebrate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem this week on Palm Sunday, March 20. Remembering the events that transpired in Jerusalem during what we now know as Passion Week, Christians will wave palm branches, as they hail Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.
On the Sunday before our Lord was crucified on a cross, He purposefully rode into the Holy City, knowing His time had come to be offered as the sacrificial Passover Lamb.
A multitude of people thronged the streets of Jerusalem, because it was Passover Week. Every year thousands upon thousands of Jews would crowd into this city during this annual feast, to commemorate their exodus from Egypt, with the slaying of a Passover lamb. But all of those lambs down through the centuries had only been substitutes for the Real Sacrificial Lamb, even now among them.
Slowly, courageously, but triumphantly, Jesus rode on a donkey, exactly as Zechariah had prophecied in 525BC: “Rejoice greatly, o daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you. He is just and having salvation, lonely and riding on a donkey.” (Zech. 9:9) Shouts of acclamation rang out as people tried to get close enough to see Him and even touch Him! Jubilation overtook them as they anticipated deliverance from Roman oppression!!! The crowd cut olive branches and pine branches and myrtle branches and palm branches and began to march and sing psalms and celebrate. This was the customary way that the Israelites celebrated deliverance.
John 12:13 says about the crowds: “They took palm branches and went forth to meet him and cried, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord.’ ” “The King is coming! The King is coming!” Surely this “conquering King” had come to finally set the captive free.
But in a few short days, the cries of acclamation changed to roars of mockery and hate-filled speech. Now instead of hailing Jesus as King of Kings, the crowd was screaming, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” And that is exactly what they did. Jesus was arrested, falsely tried, beaten unmercifully, and crucified on a cruel Roman cross.
But the crowds were right about one thing. This King had come to set the captives free. As the Mighty Deliverer, Jesus had come to loose mankind from the grip of satanic bondage that had held them captive since the Garden of Eden! Man’s sin would be imputed to Jesus, the very Lamb of God, and this King would die a sinner’s death, making it possible for every man, woman, boy and girl to be cleansed of all sin and to be declared righteous before a holy God. (2 Cor. 5:21)
When Christians wave palm branches on Palm Sunday and hail Jesus as King of all kings, this prophetic action will be the acknowledgement that Jesus Christ is our conquering King, who has “delivered us from the power (and penalty) of sin.” (Rom 6:14).
Jim and Judy Vaught are ministers at Calvary Assembly of God in Mount Airy.