Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19.
Palm Sunday Story - Triumphal Entry Story Summary:
Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that this trip would end in his sacrificial death for the sin of humanity. He sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage, about a mile away from the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He told them to look for a donkey tied by a house, with its unbroken colt next to it. Jesus instructed the disciples to tell the owners of the animal that "The Lord has need of it." (Luke 19:31, ESV)
The men found the donkey, brought it and its colt to Jesus, and placed their cloaks on the colt. Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In his path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air.
By that time the commotion was spreading through the entire city. Many of the Galilean disciples had earlier seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Undoubtedly they were spreading the news of that miracle.
The Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus and afraid of the Romans, said: "'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" (Luke 19:39-40, ESV)
Points of Interest from the Triumphal Entry Story:
• When he told the disciples to get the donkey, Jesus referred to himself as 'The Lord,' a definite proclamation of his divinity.
• By riding into Jerusalem on a the colt of a donkey, Jesus fulfilled an ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (ESV) This was the only instance in the Gospels in which Jesus rode an animal.
• Throwing cloaks in the path of someone was an act of homage and submission. The people were recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah.
• The people's cries of 'Hosanna' came from Psalm 118:25-26. Hosanna means "save now." Despite what Jesus had foretold about his mission, the people were looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel's independence.
Question for Reflection About the Palm Sunday Story:
The crowds refused to see Jesus as he truly was, placing their personal desires on him instead. Who is Jesus for you? Is he someone whom you want to satisfy your selfish wants and goals, or is he Lord and Master who gave up his life to save you from your sins?
(Sources: The New Compact Bible Dictionary, edited by T. Alton Bryant; New Bible Commentary, edited by G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France; and the ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles.)