Easter Explained: An 8-Day Guide to Celebrating Holy Week
DAY 1 OF 8
For the last 1,600 years, Christians around the world remember the last days of Jesus' life during Holy Week. Today is Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday remembers the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey like a rival king to challenge Caesar and his Roman empire.
Like every other empire, Rome controlled its people with the threat of death. But Jesus came to disarm all kings of their favorite weapon by dying'and then rising from his grave. Jesus has just performed his seventh and final miracle in John's Gospel. He raised his friend Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43-44). It's final proof that Jesus' Kingship will disarm death and grant life. All of Jesus' miracles hint toward this in some way. Turning water into wine, healing a sick boy, raising a paralytic from his bed, and feeding over 5,000 people with a boy's lunch are all small-scale resurrections. And the people of Israel had an inkling of what all this meant. To them, Jesus was their long-awaited Messiah, the promised King of Israel who would come to heal their bodies, feed their bellies, and take down Rome's deadly rule. And in a very important sense, they were right (John 6:15).
When Jesus saddles a donkey (the traditional beast of kings) and rides into Jerusalem, the people understand it as the coronation ceremony of their death-defeating Messiah. Waving palm branches, a crowd gathers around Jesus and sings from Psalm 118: 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'
John tells us this is all done to fulfill a prophecy given by Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9-10). Jesus intentionally rides in on a donkey to inflame their hopes that he is the King they have been waiting for. He is the King that can defeat death. He will be victorious over all rival claims to his throne and he will save his people (John 12:15-16). That's what 'hosanna' means''save us.' It's the cry of those who long for the King prophesied by Zechariah.
But unlike other kings, Jesus hasn't come to kill, but to die. Like a seed must be buried before it can become a tree, Jesus must be buried before his Kingdom comes. He must master death by first dying. Anyone who wants to join his Kingdom must be willing to accept his death (John 12:24-26). The whole reason Jesus came to earth wasn't to conquer empires by killing them, but to die under their influence (John 12:27). Jesus rides into Jerusalem like a King, but like a King who knows the only way to defeat death is to die.
That's why these events and teachings don't please everyone, especially the Jewish religious establishment. Many within this religious elite did not believe that Israel's true King could suffer and die. In their minds, a Messiah should fight and win. They can't imagine a king that doesn't wield death. And they don't understand that their greatest threat isn't Rome, but death itself. Unwilling to accept a King who embraces death and suffering, they're forced to oppose and reject him.
Palm Sunday is good news because Jesus announces that he has come to dethrone and disarm the empires of this world through his death. We can either embrace the rival Kingship of Jesus or we can align ourselves with the powers that be. We can accept Jesus' coming death as the way to new life or fight to keep our lives as we know them. We can either pledge allegiance to Jesus' Kingdom or join the religious establishment and reject him.
So I pray that on this Palm Sunday you will accept Jesus as the King who died and was raised to show that death and the empires that wield it are defeated.
About this Plan
For the last 1,600 years, Christians around the world remember the last days of Jesus' life during Holy Week. This eight-day reading plan will explain what happened on each of Jesus' final days and why those events, whil...
We would like to thank Spoken Gospel for providing this plan. For more information, please visit: https://www.spokengospel.com/
It Will Be for Something
Step by Step: Walk With Jesus on Holy Week
The Work Beneath Your Work
The Courage of Rahab
My Source & Resource
7 Days to Dethrone Social Media in Your Children’s Lives
Elevate: Raising the Bar for Conversations About Media Literacy
Jesus in All of Psalms: Book 2 - a Video Devotional
Our Eternal God