Jesus rides into the city in the style of a king.
Palm Sunday celebrates Jesus and his disciples arriving in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover after a long journey. Jesus’ arrival in the city is often referred to as the “triumphal entry.” And it was — the crowds cried out, “Praise the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” And they sang “Hosanna!” while throwing palm branches and coats on his path.
Why was Jesus given this royal treatment?
Israel’s prophets spoke about a king who would come to the holy city and bring justice and peace to Israel (Zech. 9:9). When the crowds see Jesus on the donkey, they seem to think that Jesus is God’s promised King, the long-awaited Messiah sent to rescue Israel and establish God’s Kingdom on Earth.
But Jesus wasn’t the king they were expecting. Many thought this king would honor the temple and its powerful leaders, but Jesus powerfully criticizes the temple system and predicts its collapse. Others hoped Jesus would lead a military revolt as previous “messiahs” had done, but Jesus rides in without armies or weapons or warhorses. He comes on a donkey filled with patient, peaceful, self-giving love. He shocks people further when he says that the Kingdom of God belongs not to the elite and powerful but to the poor and the outsider. God’s Kingdom is one where love reigns — love of God and others, including our enemies.
In today’s video, learn more about this upside-down Kingdom Jesus came to establish. And discover why Jesus was not what the people were expecting and why the religious leaders of Jesus’ day saw him and his Kingdom as a threat to their power.
Prayer for Palm Sunday
Almighty and everlasting God, in your tender love for us you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon himself our nature and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and come to share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.