Sunday, March 25, 2018

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

"It is fitting that during the week from Palm Sunday to Easter morning we turn our thoughts to Jesus Christ, the source of light, life, and love. The multitudes in Jerusalem may have seen Him as a great king who would give them freedom from political oppression. But in reality He gave much more than that. He gave us His gospel, a pearl beyond price, the grand key of knowledge that, once understood and applied, unlocks a life of happiness, peace, and fulfillment."
~Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Photo found here

Event: Jesus's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
Prophecy: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (Zechariah 9:9)
Summary: Jesus Christ rides into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey, and is greeted by multitudes of people shouting Hosanna, waving palms, and laying down clothing and branches for Christ to walk on. They recognize Him as their King. “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9)
Scripture Reading:
Triumphal Entry: Matthew 21:1-11Mark 11:1-11Luke 19:28-44John 12:12-36
Prophecy of Triumphal Entry: Zechariah 9:9

When I was in Jerusalem in November 2015, I walked the half-mile route down from the Mount of Olives on the way to the Old City of Jerusalem. Not only did it provide a stunning view of the city, but I was reminded of the significance of this place in biblical history.

From the Mount of Olives, you can see a green area, which is the Valley of Kidron—the site where King David first established Jerusalem. Most cities in Israel were founded around springs of water rather than defensible positions. King David established his city above the Gihon Spring in the Kidron Valley. This was also an area that didn't belong to any one of the 12 tribes of Israel, so it was a neutral place to locate the capital city of united Israel.

Olive Trees in Jerusalem. Photo by me.

In reading the four gospels in the New Testament, we know that the Mount of Olives, adjacent to Jerusalem's Old City up on a ridge to the east, played a significant role in his life. It served as a place of refuge for him. On Palm Sunday, fulfilling prophecy, Jesus descended the Mount of Olives on a donkey in a long procession which we have come to know as "the triumphal entry" into Jerusalem.

The road from Bethany to Jerusalem, down the Mount of Olives, is a steep descent and winds its way past a Jewish cemetery. These burial grounds have been used to lay to rest more than 150,000 Jewish faithful including important rabbis from the 15th to 20th centuries. They believed that when the Messiah returned, they would be closest to being resurrected so they could enter Jerusalem in triumph.

But Christ's followers knew of his divinity and believed him to be the Messiah. Palm Sunday commemorates the day of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We call it Palm Sunday because of the palm fronds and leaves that were laid out before him on his path to Jerusalem, a custom symbolizing victory. He was greeted by multitudes of people shouting Hosanna and waving palms. They recognized him as their King. This set in motion the events leading to His Atonement, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.

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