Palm Sunday: Jesus Enters Jerusalem (March 29, AD 33)
Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19
After three and a half years of public ministry, Jesus’ messianic activity is now reaching a major climax. As Jesus’ brothers had told him earlier, anyone who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah must reveal himself in Jerusalem (John 7:3-4). Jesus’ ministry had taken place primarily, though not exclusively, in the Galilean north, punctuated by occasional visits to Jerusalem during major festivals.
Most likely, this is now the fourth—and as it turns out, final—time the Jews are celebrating the feast of Passover. Over the past several years, Jesus has gradually grown in popularity with the people. He has healed many and performed numerous miracles. He turned water into wine and even raised several individuals from the dead. Lazarus had been dead in his tomb for as many as four days (John 11:39).
Thus, the expectation is building that Jesus may be the long-awaited Messiah the Jews had been anticipating for centuries. Jesus further fuels this expectation by fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Israel’s king would come riding on the foal of a donkey, according to the pattern of King Solomon’s entrance into the city.
What were Jesus’ intentions when he rode into the city? Why were people waving palm branches to greet Him? And how could those who hailed Jesus as Messiah on Palm Sunday call for his crucifixion a few days later?
Note: This is an excerpt from a blog that originally appeared on Songtime.com. You can view the original post here.