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Baptist 101: What is Palm Sunday?

The Bible.  God's Living  Word full of something new each time you read it.
The Bible. God's Living Word full of something new each time you read it.
C. Watson

Yesterday was Palm Sunday.  A Christian holiday known for long palm branches or leaves being carried through church and maybe laid on the floor.  So what is Palm Sunday?

To keep it simple, Palm Sunday marks the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem that then leads up to his death on the cross and then his resurrection. 

The capital city of Jerusalem was full to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover (when God graciously passed-over his chosen people and resulted in the Hebrews being released from slavery in Egypt).  The people of this time were oppressed under Roman law and taxes.  They cried out to Jesus to save them ("Hosanna"), to be their king, to rescue them.  It was tradition to cover the streets when a person of high honor was traveling over them. It is written in the Gospels that palm leaves were laid down.  They wanted to honor their king who would save them from the laws and taxes and burdens.

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. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"   Matthew 21:6-9

But Jesus came to fulfill God's plan.  To save us from our sins. To release the burden of living apart from our Father for eternity.  Jesus came into the city and spent his last days continuing to teach God's will. 

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, "As you know, the Passover is two days away-and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified."   Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people."  Matthew 26:1-5

To borrow the invitation from our Sunday service, some palm branches were raised up and waved at Jesus as He entered while others were laid down on the ground.  This triumphant entry was a symbolic moment that the kingdom of God had begun.  Jesus came to save us from our sins and not from the kings of this world.  Jesus became our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  What do we have in our lives that we need to either lift up in praise and wave to Jesus?  What do we have in our lives that we need to cut down and lay at the feet of our Lord?

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