Happy Palm Sunday!
As we set our sights on Resurrection weekend (next weekend), it is important to know and understand the significance of Palm Sunday…the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, setting the stage for the remainder of what we now know as Passion Week. Later that week, Jesus would be crucified and then resurrected, marking the most profound moment in all of Christendom.
But today we celebrate Palm Sunday, so let’s examine its significance.
It was customary for Jews to gather in Jerusalem three times a year for major feasts. Passover (and the accompanying Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits) was the first major feast. Being Jewish, Jesus and his family made those pilgrimages each year. But at exactly the given time, this particular journey to Jerusalem became the most crucial feast season in all of history. Jesus was coming as Messiah.
The prophet Zechariah proclaimed exactly how the Messiah would come:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Indeed, the Messiah arrived on the scene, mounted on a donkey. (Matthew 21:1-11)
The prophet Daniel even told us the exact day this would take place. Careful study of Daniel 9:24-26 indicates the Messiah would come exactly 173,880 days after the decree given to Artaxerxes in 445 BC to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. (Careful study of that passage is found in Week 2 of the study, Looking for the Blessed Hope; particularly in Prophetic Accuracy Proven in Daniel 9.)
Thus, Jesus the Messiah arrived that fateful Palm Sunday morning exactly as promised and exactly on time, perfectly fulfilling prophecy.
Yet, something happened. Only a short time later, Jesus would be handed over to the Romans for crucifixion, but not before Jesus lamented over His people, the Jews:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
Why the lament? Because, despite their beloved prophets’ consistent messages regarding the coming of the Messiah, they missed the day of His visitation.
“If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
Today, there are some who have heard about the Messiah, Jesus Christ, but are like the Jews who saw Him, but didn’t believe. All the prophecies concerning His arrival were proven true, yet they missed the day of His visitation.
If you do not know Jesus, today is YOUR day of visitation. He has come to you right here and right now to say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6) Heaven is a real place, and so is hell…and everyone will spend eternity in one place or the other. Don’t let Jesus lament over you. He wants to spend eternity with you, and all you need to do is come to Him. Here’s how: