Yesterday was Palm Sunday, and it was different. Perhaps years later we will talk about it, beginning our dialog with “Remember the year we couldn’t attend church on Palm Sunday? Remember that virus that kept us sheltered inside, distanced from everyone?”
The story is familiar to me, having heard it since I was a tot in Sunday school. The flannel graph figure of Jesus sitting on a donkey moves through the streets of Jerusalem while people wave palm branches and lay down their outer clothes. They shout “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” He accepts their praise, even welcomes it and says the rocks will cry out if the people are silenced.
It is His day.
In their final chapters, all four Gospel writers narrow their lenses on the last days of Jesus’ earthly life. The week is full of activity. Each writer has his own slant, his own perspective. The details and consistency shout for us to sit up and pay attention.
But why is the Sunday of palm waving important, other than that it fulfills one more prophecy about Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah?. Zechariah said the king would come riding on a donkey. He would be righteous, victorious and humble. Jesus was all of that.
There is something else.
Hundreds of years before, Moses instructed the people to take a lamb in preparation for their Passover celebration. On the tenth day of the first month of a new year. Set it apart. Examine it for imperfections. Keep it until the fourteenth day. Then kill it. It is the Passover lamb.
Jesus made His grand entrance into Jerusalem on the tenth day of the month. He was chosen for this. He was about to set the people free and make all things new for those who believed. And so on Palm Sunday, He was proclaimed, examined for imperfections, presented to the people on the tenth day as the sacrificial Lamb. And on the fourteenth day of the month, just days later, He was killed.
God’s Passover Lamb. The promise to Abraham fulfilled. “God will provide for Himself a lamb.” — Genesis 22:8
Jesus. He is the One we waited for. Give Him praise. Shout Hosanna.
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!