Christians all over the world celebrate Palm Sunday. But what exactly is Palm Sunday. This historical event has so much significance for every person living in the time of Jesus and beyond. Reading this will give you more understanding and appreciation for why we celebrate Palm Sunday.

Today is Palm Sunday. It’s the time when we celebrate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Many churches hand out palm branches. But what exactly is Palm Sunday? Its meaning is rich and deep and so exquisite! Let’s talk about WHAT IS PALM SUNDAY.

To understand Palm Sunday we need to go back in time and location to Jerusalem in the early part of the first century and set the stage.

1st Century Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a bustling, center-of-the-world land. Filled with people from the nation of Israel and many other nations too! Especially from Rome! Why Rome? Rome had conquered much of the world at that time and Israel was one of its conquests.

Let’s go back to just before the time of the Passover Feasts, a trio of God-ordained Feast days for the Jews. Somewhere between mid-March and early April on our calendar.

Three feasts, the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of First Fruits were very special to the Jews. And they were celebrated during this time.

These were mandatory feast days with very few exceptions. So almost all of the Jews living in Palestine at that time were tightly gathered in Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the Jewish Temple and to take part in a nationwide convocation. You can read about these feast days in Leviticus 23.

During this time, and in particular this year, the city and surrounding area were also teaming with Roman soldiers keeping the “Pax Romana” or peace Roman style. There had been uprisings by the Jews and unrest. Many Jews wanted liberation from Rome!

Jesus And His Ministry

Now let’s turn our attention to Jesus. During the time we are talking about, He is a rabbi (teacher of the law), a miracle worker, a rebel, and a rockstar! One thing Jesus was not was obscure!

His ministry had become renowned in Israel and beyond.

Some loved Him, some hated Him, and more followed Him to see the signs and wonders He performed as He spoke of the kingdom of God with great authority. An authority that was blasphemous to the Jewish leadership.

One thing that was always in Jesus’ wake was controversy.

A Tipping Point

Controversy quickly turned into direct conflict between Jesus and the Jewish leadership. It had been building like steam in a pressure cooker. The Jewish leadership could not keep Jesus in line!

The tipping point of this conflict came when Jesus raised His friend Lazarus from the dead. This had happened days before the Passover feasts! You can read about this historical event in John 11.

Jesus was powerful, too powerful and his massive following was a threat to the stability of Jewish leadership and Roman occupation!

Jesus spoke with an authority that the Jews had never heard before. He called God HIS father.  In essence, Jesus was proclaiming Himself the long-awaited King of the Jews, the Messiah or in the Greek language, Christ!  So frightened of losing power and control over Israel, the religious Jewish leadership was openly seeking to put Jesus to death.

Although the Jews had been looking for this King sent by God to put things right they were not looking for a king like Jesus. They did not believe He was the leader the Jews had been anticipating for centuries!

But, He was and is! 

Now, let’s look at Palm Sunday…

The Historical Events Of Palm Sunday

Jesus, like all good Jews, had come to Jerusalem for the Passover feasts with his disciples. When the people of Jerusalem heard that Jesus was entering the city they came out to the Mount of Olives (just outside the city) to meet Him. Remember, by this time He had rockstar status. Everyone in Jerusalem and all the surrounding areas knew of His miraculous works.

The crowds of people started casting their cloaks down to make a road for Jesus, an ancient expression of honor and submission.

They also cut branches from palm trees and spread them before him too. Many of the crowd were carrying and waving palm branches too, a symbol of victory. National victory over the oppressive Roman empire. Most in the crowd saw Jesus as the leader to set up the earthy self-rule of Israel overthrowing the Roman Empire.

They were greeting Jesus as a triumphant king, coming into the capital city to overtake it. They thought Jesus would be THE ONE to lead a military uprising against the Roman occupiers and usher in a government that would set all things straight. Their cries of Hosannah “save us” or “God saves” were evidence of this.

Who The Crowds Thought Jesus Was

Finally, the long-awaited Messiah was coming home! The hero of all heroes was coming home to Israel. They had waited and suffered for so long! Their Torah (the first 5 books of the Bible) and their prophets had been prophesying about Him for centuries.

He would make all things right again for the Jews who had been captured and overrun and abused by conquering nation after nation for centuries!

The fulfillment of prophecy and Scripture about the Messiah was taking place before their very eyes! Prophesy and Scripture that all Jews knew full well!

A Horse Or A Donkey

Jesus, the Messiah, the King of the Jews, the Savior of the world was coming down the Mount of Olives through the throngs of ecstatic Jews riding on a donkey. The foul of a donkey.

The imagery is rich and so important!

In ancient times if a king would come into a land, overtaken by his country, riding on a white horse he came as a conquering king! He would be ready to set up HIS style of government and meter out HIS type of judgment HIS way!

The Jews were expecting their Messiah to be a riding-on-a-white-horse-kind-of-king! Full of power and fury!

However, if a king rode into a land he had overtaken riding on a donkey it was a symbol that he had come as a peaceable king. A king of kindness and grace and peace.

The King Of Peace

You see, this was Jesus’ kingly entrance into the capital city of Jerusalem. Jesus was coming in as the King Of Peace!

The peace He offered was not between the Jews and the Roman empire. It was much, much greater! It was the peace between God and man!

If only the nation Israel had understood this as a whole. They had the Torah (the first 5 books of the bible), the Prophets, the covenant, the Temple, the promises, and more.

A handful of Jews knew and believed! But the nation as a whole did not! Remember this! I’ll circle back to this in a minute.

A Resurrected King

Jesus would die only a few days later. Nailed to the cross in the most degrading and torturous way. The sins of the whole world would be put on His sinless body. Your sins and my sins. He would die in our place and pay the debt for the sin we could never pay! Then He would be raised from the dead three days later showing He was and IS the victorious King. The King over sin and death conqueror of our sins and eternal separation from God!  And because of this here’s what Romans 5:1 says about all those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation…

Therefore, having been justified (made not guilty of our sins because Jesus died for them in our place) by faith (believing that Jesus is your Savior and submitting your life to Him) we have peace with God!

Jesus’ First And Second Coming

Jesus’ first trip to planet earth was to set things right between God and man. Not man and man! He came to this world with a gospel of peace and forgiveness and repentance and love straight from His Father! And this gospel is and is for EVERYONE!

Jesus is coming back! HE IS COMING BACK! But the next time Jesus comes back to planet earth he will be riding on a white horse!

And I saw heaven opened: and behold, a white horse and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war. Revelation 19:11

Are you waiting for him? Do you anticipate the Hero of the world’s second coming? When He comes again it will be to set up His kingdom on earth. 

They Did Not Believe

Now, let’s touch on what I asked you to remember. The nation Israel as a whole did not recognize their King on Palm Sunday. Even though they could have known the very day the first Palm Sunday happened because the book of Daniel told them.

It was on that first Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem in a big symbolic way to show the nation of Israel HE was the king they were waiting for. But they did not recognize Him! They did not want the kind of kingship he offered.

If they would have believed, the Kingdom of God would have been ushered in! It is always disbelief that robs us of God’s forgiveness and blessings!

Is He Your King?

Many of us will receive palm branches today in church. A symbol of Jesus’ first coming as the KING OF PEACE and the salvation He offers us. A victory indeed!

Do you, will you, receive Him as your King?

Our King is coming! He is coming, and one day soon, on a white horse to set all things in order! Let’s wave our palm branches before the King!

And as the ancient throngs of early believers would say…

MARANATHA which means “THE LORD IS COMING”. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

Scripture to meditate on this week…

“Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13

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  1. Thank you for this beautiful Biblical lesson. The lesson was broken down so simple yet point on. This world has become such a mixed up place and never have we needed Our Savior more. We must speak up and tell this story again and again. I’ve heard Jesus voice and I know he is with me every day even though at times I feel I don’t deserve it. We must never forget that he died for our sins. God bless you today and every day.

  2. Good morning, Yvonne!
    It’s such a pleasure to read Your Sunday posts. I’m sitting having my coffee and getting ready for today’s Mass where we read the passion. This has put me in a good place for this morning’s celebration. Have a wonderful day and enjoy your Easter week.

  3. Beautiful story this morning. It never gets old. Thank you so much for sharing
    Have a blessed Palm Sunday

  4. Bless you today and thank you for the reminders of just how important Palm Sunday is to our Christian life !

  5. Your words are a healing balm to the souls of earth and you stated it so incredibly beautifully. Thank you and God bless you 🙏🏻♥️🙏🏻

  6. Thank you for your Palm Sunday message. You have made it easy to understand what a blessing we have in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and what a wonderful eternity is ahead for those who call on His name and follow Him. Blessings to you and your family.

  7. Thank you for simplifying that you are the only person who’s made it uncomplicated to understand what palm Sunday means. I was baptized and confirmed in a Catholic church I’m not a practicing Catholic. I did not know the meanings of palm Sunday. So thank you very much.

  8. Thank you for this teaching. I have been deeply touched this morning. I’ve read or heard the Passion narrative
    many times in my life but your explanation helped me understand it more deeply. I am grateful for your ability to pass on your knowledge. Have a blessed Easter dear one.

  9. This is lovely! Really enjoyed ready it. A great explanation of how the first Palm Sunday took place.
    Happy Easter to you and your family! God Bless. Praise Jesus for his eternal gift.

  10. Such a wonderful, easy to understand telling of the story surrounding the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you. May God richly bless you this Easter season.

      1. Thank you.
        We read a simple children’s bible and I kept saying -but there’s more to that story. He said, where is it & let’s read it. I told him it was all inside the grown up bibles. So he asked for one. We gave it to him yesterday for Easter and he wants to start page by page today in school. I’m so proud.

  11. Yvonne, you have written about Palm Sunday in such a beautiful way! How difficult it must have been to see some of the people there, that Palm Sunday long ago, turn against the Lord. How wonderful that He bore our sins on the cross that day! He died for each one of us! Then, He rose triumphantly from the grave.

    I am so sad to see the way the world is going in not wanting anything to do with the Lord — the One who loved them so much and who died on the cross for everyone. I continue to pray that many will come to accept the Lord as their Savior in these times of such uncertainty. I am so glad that He died for me and that I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior!

    Yvonne, thanks for sharing the “good news” with us each Sunday. I appreciate you so much and continue to thank God for you! May you be blessed as you seek to serve Him! I know you have touched so many lives by your wonderful Sunday posts.

  12. Hi, I enjoyed reading your “visit to the tomb” story, and viewing your Sunday Scripture posts. What is the best forum to use so I can receive notice of your future Sunday scripture posts? Thanks, and Happy Easter.

  13. Thank you for sharing God’s truth … sending His Son to die for everyone’s sins. This message is needed to be shared in our world today! I appreciate your voice through your blog of proclaiming Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the World for anyone who gives their heart to Christ. He took these loving steps of action for us on the cross, and we need to take action to share with others this amazing love they too can personally have!
    For God did not send His son to condemn the world, but through Jesus the world might be saved! Thankful for the empty tomb!! He’s Alive!