Why We Call Today Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. Over two thousand years ago Jesus rode on a borrowed donkey from a nearby village called Bethany. The night before he stayed in the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Lazarus was the man that Jesus called back from the grave. The enemies of Jesus sought to kill Lazarus because he was an example of the power of Christ.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, a crowd of people greeted him by throwing their coats in his path. To have a celebrity walk or ride over a person’s coat was like getting their autograph. Other people took branches from palm trees and laid them on the road Jesus took as he was coming into the city. That is why we call today Palm Sunday.

People were shouting in admiration of Christ and expected him to declare himself king who would fight the Romans and free the land. The same people in less than a week would be shouting differently to put Jesus on the cross to be crucified.

Jesus went directly to the temple to inspect it. Three years prior he went to the temple and became angry for what he found. The temple became a marketplace complete with moneychangers who converted the Roman coins into specially made temple coins. Needless to say, these moneychangers skimmed off a profit for themselves as they converted the coins.

This time on Palm Sunday, Jesus found that the temple had converted back to a marketplace. It would be on Monday that Jesus returned to the temple and threw out the moneychangers again. Notice the mercy that Jesus demonstrated in allowing the offenders in the temple to leave and let the temple be the place that was intended as a place of worship. For a second time, Jesus was forced to show his anger.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he stopped and wept over the city. Not only was the temple gone awry, so was all of the town living in sin. As he wept, Jesus made a prophecy that came true forty years later when the Romans sacked the city. As the enemy of the Jews overtook the beloved city, the Romans broke into the temple. They burned it with the whole town so much so that thousands of people were either killed or captured to become slaves.

Palm Sunday is a commemoration of many things. It is the rejoicing of Jesus as the son of David. It is the beginning of the days leading to the crucifixion of Christ. It is the compassion that Jesus had for his wayward people. It is the prophecy for the downfall of Jerusalem. It is the end of the priesthood in the line of Aaron. It is the scattering of the Jews into foreign lands and would remain so until another prophecy came to pass in 1948 when Israel was reestablished as the homeland of the Jews. It is a demonstration of the power Jesus had over mankind.

Today let us celebrate the majesty of Christ. Let us have a special day of worship looking toward the ultimate sacrifice that he made on the cross for us. Today would be a good day for us to crown him King in our lives.

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