Palm Sunday

Today's Bible reading: Matthew 21:1-9

Scholars have estimated that the population of Jerusalem tripled during the Passover, from 80,000 to about 250,000 people – Passover being the most important of the three great Jewish festivals in each year.  Passover is, of course, the celebration of Israel’s deliverance from captivity in Egypt … so it was natural that this celebration should also have continually sparked fervent hope that God would free His people from the yoke of Roman rule.  So when Jesus entered through the gates of the city on what we now celebrate as Palm Sunday, Messianic hope and excitement must have been absolutely electrifying the crowds in an incredibly powerful way.

Matthew’s Gospel clearly sets this Palm Sunday scene in the framework of Old Testament prophecy.  Zechariah 9:9 prophesied the coming of Jerusalem’s King, riding into the city in triumph … yet in humility, on a donkey.  Jesus enters the city by coming down the Mount of Olives where He is received by the people as the Son of David who comes in the name of the Lord.  Of course, the fickle crowd soon does an absolute “180” … and turns against Jesus when He fails to produce the show of political power they wanted to see.  Yet Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah in a way which the crowds do not immediately see … and one which we too can easily overlook.  The prophet saw the time when the Lord would set His foot on the Mount of Olives and enter the city to cleanse the temple.  And what is the first thing Jesus does upon entering the city?  He quite literally “cleans house” … and cleanses the temple of its traders and money-changers!  In a manner much differently than the average person on the street may have thought, the King has indeed arrived!

Prayer: " 'Hosanna in the Highest!' That ancient song we sing; For Christ is our Redeemer, The Lord of heav'n our King."  Amen.