In many churches on Palms Sunday, little children walk in waving palm branches either real or made of paper. It makes for an adorable moment especially for the parents and grandparents. The reality behind the first Palms Sunday was quite different.
The background of the first Palms Sunday was the religious leaders looking to arrest Jesus and kill him and Jesus knew it.
They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him.
Not only did they have murderous intentions for Jesus, they had them for Lazarus because of the miracle of Jesus bring Lazarus back from the dead that we explored in Jesus Shows He Has Power Over Death
Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him..
Jesus knew what he was riding into that first Palms Sunday but he went into Jerusalem anyway because of his love for us.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.”
John is the one of the four gospels that records Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead and the excitement that built up in many of the people, so the reaction of the crowds is something one would expect.
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
When Jesus rode in, he fulfilled a centuries old prophecy in Zechariah 9:9
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”
Jesus rode in to a crowd expecting him to become the Messiah, but they did not understand he had to be the suffering servant first. Jesus rode into Jerusalem knowing it was time for him to suffer and die for us, so we can be forgiven and have relationship with God. Jesus knew what awaited him and he went in anyway because of his love for us.
Jesus knew why he was riding into Jerusalem but no one else did. The disciples did not understand it at the time.
At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him.
The crowd that saw him bring Lazarus back from the dead were excited but did not understand it all.
Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him.
And the Pharisees? the religious leaders who viewed Jesus as a threat? The first Palms Sunday was like adding gas to a fire. It only inflamed their anger, jealousy, and murderous intent.
So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”
Even in our day and age, there are religious leaders in some countries that would seek to harm or kill those who follow Jesus just as the Pharisees wanted to do to Jesus and Lazarus.
Do we want to follow a harsh religion or have a relationship with Jesus?
What does it mean to you that Jesus knew all that was going to happen to him and rode into Jerusalem anway?
Thank you for reading. God Bless.