Celebrating the King of Kings on Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday marks the first day of the Holy Week leading up to Easter. Today, we remember and celebrate the moment over 2,000 years ago when Jesus was joyfully received in Jerusalem, humbly riding into the city on the back of a donkey. Hundreds lined the streets laying down their cloaks before Jesus and waving palm branches in a praiseworthy parade fit for a king. But despite His warm welcome into Jerusalem, the crowd would quickly turn on their Promised Messiah, who they once praised. What would transpire over the course of the week would detail Jesus' road of suffering leading to the cross at Calvary.
They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna!' 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 'Blessed is the king of Israel!'
Jesus did not enter into Jerusalem the way most would expect for a king. Instead of riding on a majestic horse surrounded by a powerful military presence, Jesus rode into the city on a lowly beast of burden, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Jesus’ own people unfortunately misunderstood His mission and purpose, which was not to overthrow the oppressive Roman Empire but to become the atoning sacrifice for all our sins. As the people in the crowds waved their palm branches—a symbol of victory—and shouted hosanna (“save now!”), they were expecting a political victory. Little did they know that God was orchestrating a much bigger and better victory—the everlasting victory over sin, hell and the grave.
But oh, how quickly our hearts turn from Him who is the King of Kings and worthy of all honour and praise. Jesus wept for Jerusalem, knowing that even in the praise of this moment, He knew that it wouldn’t be long before the same people shouting "save us" would later shout "crucify him!" In truth, we are not too different from those in the crowd that day. We too can be found singing God's praises one day and turning away from Him the next. We often dethrone Him in our own life when we don't exalt Him to the proper place of importance in our life. We often doubt Him, ignore Him and outright disobey Him instead of trusting Him, spending time with Him and being obedient to Him. Yet Jesus still didn't turn His back on us. Jesus, whose Hebrew name Yeshua means “to deliver” or “to rescue” did just that. Recognizing our desperate need for a saviour, Jesus humbled Himself by taking on flesh, endured betrayal and abandonment and took on our shame so that we could share in His victory.
On this Palm Sunday and as we continue into Holy Week, let us give all honour and praise to Jesus, our King of Kings and Lord of Lords. While Jesus currently sits at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, He will return to earth again for the Second Coming. As Christians, we can live in hopeful expectation that Jesus will return to earth again to establish His everlasting Kingdom, this time in all His kingly glory. Riding on the clouds on a white horse, everyone will see Him and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is deserving of all glory and honour and praise. Today and every other day, let us regularly give thanks to Jesus, our Saviour and Prince of Peace.