Palm Branches and Parades
For us, it’s often called Palm Sunday, but for the people of Jerusalem, it was just another Sunday. They didn’t know that over 2000 years later, we’d be talking about their day—that significant moment in history where they welcomed the Messiah in glorious fashion. Maybe it wasn’t a ticker-tape parade by today’s standards, but its significance is eternal!
As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, crowds of people spread their cloaks on the road while others used branches they had cut in the fields. Those in front of Him and those who followed Him shouted “Hosanna.” They hailed and praised Him as King!
Why a donkey? Today’s marketing experts would tell Jesus to ride into town on a big white horse. Zechariah 9:9 gives us the answer, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Fulfilling the prophecy written hundreds of years before, Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a conquering King, in the manner of the day.
Why did the people spread their cloaks? It was an act of homage for royalty. Second Kings 9:13 describes a similar event with King Jehu, “They quickly took their cloaks and spread them under him on the bare steps. Then they blew the trumpet and shouted, ‘Jehu is king!’” Jesus was openly declaring that He was King and their Messiah.
The people wanted Jesus to deliver them in a revolt against Rome, but when Jesus didn’t live up to their expectations, the mood of the crowds quickly turned. Those who were shouting “Hosanna” would soon be yelling “crucify Him.”
Want to teach your kids about Palm Sunday? Click here for a devotion and activities.