Palm Sunday, AD33: 5 days until the crucifixion

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Jesus rode into Jerusalem and those watching this happen would behold their king. They laid on the ground palm branches and their robes, making a kind of pathway of acknowledgement. They believed He rode in on a donkey to the place where He would set up His earthly throne and rule as the long-expected Messiah would. With Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the foal of a donkey He is the fulfilment of Zechariah’s prophecy, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”(Zech 9:9). Israel’s enemies would be addressed and Israel would receive the salvation promised, God would ensure that His people receive His blessings.

Jesus is King, we have no king but Caesar

The triumphal entry is marked by humility but also with authority. Jesus is the Messiah, the king has come “And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt 21:9). As the crowd sings they acknowledge Jesus as the Davidic Messiah, the Son of David as seen in 2 Samuel 7. At this point, we pay particular attention to the crowds calling Jesus King, because, we know within a week they will turn and say at the trial of Jesus they have no king but Caesar.

Stating His purpose, predicting His death

When Jesus explains the purpose for which He came, He does with a prediction concerning His death. This does not sit well with the Jewish people who have understood the Messiah as one who would come and reign forever, He will but not in the way they have assumed. At the end of the day, Jesus visits the Temple. He will return the following day and while Jesus keeps breaking Jewish assumptions, healing and welcoming children. Those who are realising that Jesus will not do what they expect, is highlighted for us by Jesus riding into Jerusalem and instead of turning left and entering the Roman Garrison, He turns right and enters the temple. The nation of Israel, like they were when the prophet Amos addressed them, were all appreciating the message when it was about the judgement that was to come upon everyone else, until Amos turned his attention to them and how God would address their sin. Like Nathan’s approach when speaking to David. David was fine when what he was heard was a story about an unidentified man, but the moment Nathan said ‘you’re the man’ the reality of his sin becomes apparent.

The first day of the week

Expectations are high, assumptions are fixed and Jesus has come to serve God by perfectly obeying His will. This is day one of the most important week in history.

 

Sunday’s Readings:

Entering Jerusalem: Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19

Predicting His death: John 12:20-36

Temple visit: Matt 21:14-17; Mark 11:11

 

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By Daniel Ralph

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