Back from church service tonight, I’ve been thinking about something my young nephews said. Or didn’t say, to be exact. This morning I asked them if they knew what Palm Sunday was, and they didn’t know. So we talked a little about why it matters.
It’s an important day because Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’…The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. (Matthew 21:1-3,6-7, NIV)
This is especially important in the significance of who Jesus is because it fulfills one of the many prophecies concerning the Messiah: “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.” (Zechariah 9:9, NIV)
It’s an important day because He knew what He was coming to Jerusalem for, but He came anyway.
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. ‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.’ (Mark 10:32-34, NIV)
We observe Palm Sunday to remember who Jesus was and what He did for us. Palm Sunday is a part of the price He paid for us. He could have stuck around in Jerusalem and let everybody continue to cheer for Him, or traded His donkey for a thoroughbred, but He did not. He got busy doing the work He was called to knowing what it would cost Him.
Throughout our city there are churches putting on all manner of musicals, plays, Seder services, and other observations to mark this Holy Week. Give yourself an early Easter gift — find a local program and attend it. Google it, search on Facebook or just drive down the street reading the church signs, and go.
Even if you go alone and sit in the back. Sometimes it means much more that way.