Palm Sunday — Triumph, Entry, Blessing, The Name
“On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” John 12:12-13
From the time I was a child and through my early adult years Palm Sunday marked the beginning of Holy Week in such a way that, like Christmas, there was a general spirit of expectation throughout the country as churches great and small hailed the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem with Palm branches and processions in the church services and even wearing small braided palm leaves on men’s lapels and as corsages on ladies dresses in public places during the day.
As on the day of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, like the children and people in Jerusalem, we too sang songs of Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. And indeed, we still do today.
But much has changed in the culture since the days of my childhood. In many ways our world has become more like it was in the days of Jesus on the earth, with open and in many places violent hostility against the name of Jesus and those who openly declare Him as the only Savior and Lord.
Still, Palm Sunday has many profound and blessed implications for every believer.
Though the term “triumphal entry” does not appear in the Scriptures, it has come to identify the significance of the occasion when Jesus openly road into Jerusalem to the enthusiastic greeting of the people as they would give to a triumphant soldier returning from a successful battle. The Roman armies and their emperors and generals were always accorded such receptions though not spontaneously and not led by the people themselves. Those cheers for Rome were only done as a show under the threat of evil consequences from the government even death at the hands of their captors if the people did not pretend to be celebrating Roman victories.
Now this outpouring of praise and adoration for Jesus did not go unnoticed by the Jewish religious leaders either, who felt threatened by Jesus’ ministry because it by-passed their control and selfish greed that had for many generations extorted the poor and robbed the working people of their meager wages.
“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased…” Matthew 21:15
Though they had many times tried to stop Him, to discredit and malign Him in the eyes of the people, even threatening His life, nothing they had done prevailed.
“The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold, the world is gone after him.” John 12:19
But His entry that day was a triumph, because it heralded the beginning of the end of the unchecked rule of sin over the lives of all people, Jews and gentiles alike. Jesus came into the world to save sinners and to bring life and that more abundantly to everyone who would believe. That more abundant life includes, freedom from bondage, forgiveness, mercy, grace, healing, provision, prosperity, wisdom, knowledge, understanding, joy and the all surpassing love of God to all who receive Him as Saviour and Lord and believe on His name as the name above every name, whereby every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
The Scriptures say that the entry of His Word gives light.
“The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” Psalm 119:130
Jesus, the Word, the Light of the world entered Jerusalem that day to great shouts and cries of triumph and hopeful expectation of good days to come, but few, if any, other than Jesus, understood what was to come to pass just a few days later. Indeed the light of the world, the Savior of mankind had come but the work that He came to do was not yet finished.
When Jesus, His life, His Word and His Spirit enter our lives the work of transformation is not finished, it has only begun. The challenge for us is to determine what kind of receptors will we be for His Word. [See Mark 4]
The parable of the sower talks about four kinds of receptors (quality of soils), by the wayside, stony ground, thorny ground or good ground. The seed of the sower was a type of the Word of God. That which fell by the wayside was immediately eaten by the birds. This was like the heart of those who hear the Word and immediately dismiss it as irrelevant to their lives so Satan steals it away from them.
On the stony ground the Word comes and takes root quickly, but it withers away over a brief time because of the tribulations and persecutions that come because of the Word. Negative circumstances of life that bring doubt, unbelief, lies and deceptions and the ridicule and criticisms of people because of their expressed faith in God makes them a target for buffeting and the shallow root system in their soil cannot hold up under the pressure.
On the thorny ground the Word is received but over time daily life issues, the caress of this world, tough times and distractions, the lusts for other things, the desire to “keep up with the Jones’, ” choke it out and cause it to be unfruitful.
But on the good ground where the Word is received, believed and acted on it becomes fruitful up to hundred fold.
So, Jesus entered Jerusalem, but not every heart was willing to receive Him, believe Him and trust Him no matter what might happen in the short or long term. Most of the people that day were caught up in the emotion and energy of the moment. I don’t doubt that many thought their bondage to Roman rule would be ending swiftly, as quickly as they had seen Jesus heal the blind or make the lame walk or bring deliverance to those bound by evil spirits. With one word from Him Rome would be defeated and the Jews who believed Him along with all the poor people who had seen His miracles would have a new King who would rule with great power, compassion and mercy.
Indeed such a day was coming but it was not that day.
In due season the blessing of the Lord always comes to the one who will believe Him and not succumb to the momentary delays or deferrals or attempted distractions, and thoughts of doubt and distrust. Jesus and His Word are worthy of our trust. At its most fundamental level trust is our worship. The degree to which we trust Him is the measure of our true love for Him.
If we love Him we will keep His commandments. In the good times, in the tough times, when we see results, when don’t immediately see results, when we sense His presence, when we don’t sense His presence we remain faithful to His Word. This is our calling and our empowerment by the Holy Spirit to live our lives in obedience and love for Him.
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15
Finally, there is no other name worthy of worship. “Blessed is He whom comes in the name of the Lord.” Jesus came into Jerusalem that day in the name of Yahweh, in the name of Jeshua, in the name of God, the LORD. Jesus’ name is inseparable from His Godhead and His prophetic fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.
There is no other name given among men whereby we must be save. And God has given Him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11
The name of Jesus is the key to the door, the combination to the safe, the password of entry, the ID that gives us access to all that the Father has in store for us who trust in that Name. What ever we ask the Father in the name of Jesus He will give us.
“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” John 16:23
“And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.” Acts 3:16
It is the name of Jesus and faith in that name that miracles still happen.
Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!