YOSA?? What is that? I will tell you later… but first!!!
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Today, Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter. This religious holiday commemorates the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifixion. The people cried out, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna meaning: “save I pray thee; keep; preserve” (whenever a person would come to a king for help with his needs, he would use the word Hosanna….. so here the people are acknowledging Him as king and deliverer. The one that is able to help them with their needs)
It was a common custom in many lands in the ancient Middle East to cover, in some way, the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor with branches and leaves.
All of the Gospels report that people gave Jesus this honor. In Mark, Matthew, and Luke they are reported as laying their garments and cut branches on the street. John is the only Gospel to specifically mention palm branches. The palm branch was a symbol of success and victory. (Revelation 7:9 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and PALMS in their hands;”). Because of this, the detail of the palm branches and the scene of the crowd greeting Jesus as he entered Jerusalem by waving palm branches, and carpeting his path with them, has given the day its name. Palm Sunday. But who was this King? How can we verify His purpose for entering Jerusalem at this time? Was it to heal and deliver? Hhhmmm!!
Let’s go back to the known beginning of this “King”. Let’s take a look at the angels’ joy at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Luke 2:13-14 says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,(not singing), Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
This scripture is very familiar to most of us, yet there is a lot of misunderstanding about what it’s saying. Some translations say they were proclaiming “good will among men” or “peace to men of good will.” Basically, this passage has been interpreted that Jesus was bringing peace on earth among people. WRONG! Looking at the world today, that cannot be right. There is no peace (no conflict, no unrest) in the world, the nations, the cities, the towns, the neighborhoods, or sometimes even our own families. That’s not why these angels were praising God. If that interpretation were true, then Jesus’ own words in Matthew 10:34-36 would contradict this. He said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Jesus Himself said He was not sent to bring peace on the earth among people. The peace that the angels were praising God for (Luke 2:13-14) was peace BETWEEN God and man. They were announcing the end of God’s war on sin. Peace now reigns between God and man.
Prior to Jesus’ coming, God’s wrath was against man for his sins. But yet it wasn’t total wrath. Even in the Old Testament, we see God’s mercy and grace towards us. Yet the Old Testament Law was a ministry of wrath (Rom. 4:15; 2 Cor. 3:7, and 9), and man’s sins were held against him. The Law came not to save mankind but condemn mankind. But when Jesus came, God quit holding man’s sins against him. This is exactly what 2 Corinthians 5:19 and 21 say, “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation…”For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
The word “reconciliation” is talking about making peace, bringing back to a previous time of togetherness. God would no longer hold us accountable for our sins. Instead, He imputed our sins to Jesus, making Jesus accountable for our sins. Jesus became what we were so we could become what He was—the righteousness of God. Jesus drew all the judgment of God unto Himself. He not only bore our sins; He actually BECAME sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Bearing or carrying our sin and becoming our sin are two different things entirely.
Isaiah gives us a clear declaration of who Jesus is. He says “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6).
But who were these Shepherds that the angels made the announcement found in Luke 2:11-12? How did they know where to go to find this babe? There did not seem to be ANY hesitation to where they went. After all it was not like the angels gave them a location or direction to go. The answer is simple. These were not ordinary shepherds. They were “Priestly Shepherds” and the sheep they were guarding were “Sacrificial Lambs” which were used during the Passover. Because these particular sheep were used for sacrifice they had to be watched 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The sacrifice had to be perfect. Anyone wanting to obtain a lamb for the Passover would come to Bethlehem to be guaranteed of getting “the best”. Bethlehem was considered in that day the “Holding Pen” for the “Sacrificial Lambs”. On this particular night, Bethlehem became the “Holding Pen” for “GOD’S” “Sacrificial Lamb” in the person of Jesus Christ. How appropriate then that the angels would appear first to these “Priestly Shepherds”. How even more significant that they (the shepherds) would be the ones to first take watch over “THE” sacrificial lamb Jesus Christ. If this be the case, the nativity scene we see at Christmas with the baby Jesus surrounded by cattle, and sheep and donkeys is not a reasonable assumption to make.
And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.O tower of the flock” –
Migdal Eder (see photo) was the watchtower that guarded the Temple flocks those who were being raised to serve as sacrificial animals in the Temple. These were not just any flock and herd. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task. They were educated in what an animal that was to be sacrificed had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished.
The tower of the flock was where the shepherds would watch over their flock from the second story and where they birthed the newborn lambs in the lower portion of the two story tower there in the fields of Bethlehem. It was in the lower portion of this watchtower that the birthing of the lambs would take place. The shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in SWADDLING CLOTHES to protect the body of the lambs which would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just four miles away in Jerusalem. Wrapped in swaddling clothes to keep the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would be laid in a manger until they had calmed down. The prophetic significance of Migdal Edar is understood by the priestly shepherds. They immediately knew where to go to find the newborn Messiah, Jesus Christ. He would be found where the angel had told them, wrapped in SWADDLING CLOTHES lying in a manger in the lower floor of the tower of the flock, Migdal Eder, and He would be there as the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world. Our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed. Oh now we see why Jesus is arriving at this time, HIS ordained time, in Jerusalem.
In John 1:29 – he says “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” In other words this is no ordinary man, this is the “Lamb of God”. So why was this “Lamb of God” going to Jerusalem at this particular time, the time of Passover? What other events significantly point out the fact that He indeed is the ‘sacrificial’ Lamb of God? We shall see.