Tomorrow is Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion, the full name, one of Christianity’s holiest days, and marks the beginning of Holy Week by commemorating the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
All four gospels record the arrival of Jesus riding into the city on a donkey, while the crowd spread their cloaks and palm branches on the street and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” to honor Him as their long-awaited Messiah and King.
In biblical times, the regional custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey, or domesticated ass, was a symbol of peace, and those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.
Zechariah had prophesied more than 500 years earlier that a king would show up, bringing salvation with him, and that prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey.
“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)
The events of the next week would change the world — forever. Jesus entered Jerusalem and the crowd welcomed him as a king, but by the end of the week, they demanded his death. Even His followers abandoned Him in fear. No one, not even His closest followers, really understood the events of Palm Sunday and Holy Week until after Jesus returned. He came to offer not only Himself — but also the gift of salvation.
In the simplest of terms, Palm Sunday is an occasion to reflect on the final week of Jesus’ life. It is a time for Christians to prepare their hearts for the agony of His Passion and the joy of His Resurrection.
One of the many songs sung through the years during Palm Sunday services is "Les Rameaux, The Palms," written by Jean-Baptiste Faure, a celebrated French operatic baritone and art collector of great significance.
“O’er all the way, green palms and blossoms gay
Are strewn this day in festal preparation;
Where Jesus comes to wipe our tears away,
E’en now the throng to welcome Him, prepare;
Join all and sing, his name declare
Let ev’ry voice resound in acclamation.
Hosanna! Praise ye the Lord!
Bless Him who cometh to bring us salvation!
Sing and rejoice, O blest Jerusalem,
Of all thy sons sing the emancipation.
Through boundless love the Christ of Bethlehem
Brings faith and hope to Thee forevermore.
Pam Griffin is editorial assistant at The Destin Log. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.