Today is what we call Palm Sunday. This religious holiday commemorates the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem in the days before his crucifiction. 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.)
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 honour 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.
According to scholars, the prophecy often quoted as having been fulfilled by the Palm Sunday entry by Jesus into Jerusalem reads as follows: (Zech. 9 NIV)Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you,righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey,on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The place name Jerusalem (pronounced Yerushalaim in Hebrew) is a combination of two words. The first is “yeru” meaning “flow”. This word has several applications such as the flowing of water in a river, the throwing of something as being flowed out of the hand or as the flowing of a finger in the sense of pointing out the way one should go. The “shalayim” is from the word shalom, which means to be complete or whole. When these two words are put together they mean something like “pointing the way to completeness”. No wonder the Hebrew people were told to look towards Jerusalem.
A word study in the New King James version for SHALOM says: Completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord, to be fully paid.
I just had a “Nu Mind” thought. Jerusalem, a place where flows a completed, fully paid for, “finished” work. (the death of Christ… FINSHED He would declare)
Obviously, for us followers of Jesus, we know Him to be King so the accolades given to Him upon His entrance is not a revelation, but what indicates Him to full fill the sacrificial lamb’s definition besides just a proclamation?
When Jesus entered Jerusalem I can only imagine what someone would have said if they saw His itinerary for the week. Let’s take a look. Imagine YOU are one of the disciples with him that week. Pick one, any one. Well I might shy away from the one called Judas BUT that is up to you. (smile)
You arrive on “Palm” Sunday, the crowd is praising and giving Him “rock star” treatment and you as one of His disciples are receiving a little overflow love also, I would imagine, correct? Great week ahead, you think. This is a major national festive holiday celebrating a MAJOR historical event (Passover), in the most important city in your nation, where the whole nation is gathering. This may or may not be your first time here for the Passover and Feast Holidays. It takes place every year but this time it’s different. This time the crowd is recognizing the one you are following. It is getting a little hard to push down the spirit of pride, is it not? Wow…if the first day of this trip is starting like this I can only imagine how good the rest of the trip will be. Say Jesus, what’s on the rest of the week’s itinerary? He hands you what is on schedule for the week.
Jesus, I see Monday we will go to the temple. You will probably upset some people as you overturn their money tables even though you will correctly quote Isaiah saying “My house shall be called a house of prayer” but the moneychangers have made this sacred holy place a “den of robbers”. That should be interesting to see although I do not see that going over very smoothly.
Tuesday we will visit Lazarus, Mary and Martha, nice. I always did like them. They are good people. There is nothing like being with good friends on holiday. Their hospitality is always of the highest loving quality. Yes, Tuesday should be a great day. After we leave their house later on Tuesday evening we will have a Passover meal together. That sounds really good Jesus. Oh and I see you have scheduled some prayer time for yourself in the Garden of Gethsemane. I would think you would move that schedule up a little bit, it seems late to be going out that time of night but prayer anytime is always good. Plus Tuesday is a full day.
Let’s see! Wednesday, Wednesday…uh Jesus…did you notice Wednesday’s itinerary? Capture, accusation, trial, conviction, scourging, torture, CROSS, DEATH!!! What is going on? You are the King, the Messiah all of Israel have been waiting and looking for your appearance.
Yes I am the King, I hear Him reply, but this week…I am the Lamb of God and MUST fulfill that role.
Does He? Yes I think so.
It was expected that a traveler would obtain a “sacrificial, unblemished” lamb from the “priestly shepherds” enter Jerusalem and care for and examine that lamb before sacrificing it on the fourth day. So in that timeframe, the lamb would be acknowledged to be perfect, having no faults. Not only did Jesus fulfill this feast symbolically, but also quite literally. On the Palm Sunday, Jesus rode down the Mount of Olives on a colt. He was crucified four days later on Passover. In that time there was an intimacy with those He came to be the prefect sacrifice for, and upon examination by Pilate the verdict came from his mouth, “I find no fault in Him” (which could indicate he looked for fault).
Why do I say Wednesday Christ was crucified instead of the traditional Friday? Without getting into it too deeply, Passover as described in Lev. 23:4, 5 indicates on the 10th day of the first month, Nisan, [roughly equivalent to April on our calendar], every family of Israel was to take a lamb, without blemish, and separate it from the flock. On the evening of the fourth day the Passover lamb was killed, cooked, and eaten during the night. This feast begins the celebration of the exodus from Egypt. If the clock begins on Palm Sunday, and the day of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is day one. Wednesday is day four. Also remember the Jewish day begins at 6pm NOT midnight.
The Lamb of God… the one that God’s full fiery wrath would be applied to for mankind in order to reconcile us back to the father. Jesus through John 12:32 says and this is Jesus talking,” And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me”, this is from the King James Version. The original text in Greek reads like this “and I if might be elevated from the earth, all I will haul to myself”. God the Father forsook Jesus so that you and I would never be forsaken. All that we would have suffered through billions of years of eternity—the grief, the pain, and worst of all, the complete separation from the presence of God—Jesus experienced. And He experienced all of this for us. The judgment was made and the sentence carried out. The price was paid in full, once for all. He did not pay the price because of His sins, because He was sinless but He took the penalty, the sentence, the punishment, the separation that should have been mankind, all of mankind upon Himself. We could never pay for our sins. We could never become our own sacrifice. That goes against the very plan of God from the beginning. Christ, indeed is the Lamb slain before the foundation.