Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday: Entry into Jerusalem

Also known as Passion Sunday, this Sunday before Easter remembers Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem near the end of a public ministry spent almost entirely outside Israel’s capital city.

When Jesus entered the city with his entourage, people laid palm branches on the road before him and greeted him as the long-awaited Messiah, shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

Their celebrating didn’t last long. As they heard his teachings and saw his behavior, both religious leaders and people on the streets turned against Jesus. Within days, the adoring crowds were shouting, “Crucify him!”
Each Gospel relates the next few days differently, but the common elements are:

Jesus entered Jerusalem and began to teach the people about the Kingdom of God and the leaders about their hypocrisy and God’s coming judgment; he threw money-changers out of the Temple and sparked a growing conspiracy against him; he shared a “last supper” with his friends; he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of his key disciples; and, after being arrested, was handed over to the Roman authorities for execution as an enemy of Caesar.

Palm Sunday worship typically begins with a Procession of Palms and then moves on to chronicle the rest of the week with a somber reading of the Passion Gospel (this year Luke 23.1-49), in which the rejection, suffering and death of Jesus are on full display and Christians are reminded that their faith originates in Jesus’ humble submission to death on a cross. Worship typically ends in silence, and the stage is set for Holy Week.

Copyright © 2007 Tom Ehrich