Palm Sunday commemorates the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:1–9), when palm branches were placed in his path, before his arrest on Holy Thursday and his crucifixion on Good Friday. It thus marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent. (Christian Post)
Some quick facts about Palm Sunday.
1. Palm Sunday is about peace and salvation.
2. Palm Sunday is the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy.“Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion!Raise the roof, Daughter Jerusalem! Your king is coming! A good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey, a mere colt of a donkey." Zechariah 9:9
3. People accepted Jesus as Messiah. Jesus publicly declared himself as the Messiah (definition: the promised deliverer of the Jewish nation prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. A leader or savior of a particular group or cause)
4. People misunderstood Jesus' message. The people wanted a political and military leader. Jesus came to establish a different kind of Kingdom, and to be a different kind of King.
5. Palms represent immortality.The palm branch was also a symbol of spiritual triumph over death. Victory.
This is not a teaching post about Palm Sunday. However, I wanted to provide some quick facts for context. We are leading into what Christians call Holy Week or Passion Week which precedes Resurrection or Easter Sunday. The name does justice to clearly and accurately describe the purpose of each observation. IT'S ALL ABOUT JESUS. It's all about God's love and His redemptive work through his Son Jesus Christ. God is holy, and passionate about his children. His love and passion for us is so great, it sent his son Jesus to the Cross. He suffered and took our punishment so that we could be made right with God the Father. And on the third day, Jesus triumphantly and with finality put sin to death and resurrected so that we may now have a new and eternal life in and through him. That is Holy, Passion Week. That is Resurrection Sunday. That is good news. The good news, the simple gospel. Jesus declared himself Messiah over 2000 years ago, and he is still Messiah today. The people waved palm branches representing victory over death and today, we are living in the fulfillment of that victory over sin and death through the blood of Jesus Christ. The crowd on the day of Jesus' triumphant entrance shouted "hosanna, hosanna" meaning, "save, rescue." Today, he still saves and rescues. He is saving and rescuing us daily. What fitting and timely words especially for us today, April 5, 2020 with all that is taking place in our hearts, homes, nation and the world. God truly holds the universe and us in the palm of his hands.
So today, Palm Sunday. Let's not be those who worship and praise with only our lips, but yet our hearts are far from him and only near in times of trouble. May we be those who worship and adore him in all moments, seasons of life. Finally, may we be those who live lives in a heart posture that is continually "palms up." Open and openhanded. Yielded. Surrendered. Poured out. Expectant. Holding nothing back. Holding nothing too tightly but Jesus Himself. I can't get over the timing of Palm Sunday, Holy and Passion Week and subsequently Resurrection Easter Sunday. It's as if God is winking from Heaven saying, "I got this. I am not surprised. I am in control. I have a plan. I am turning it for good. I am turning it around. Just keep your eyes on me." Man. THAT. IS. POWERFUL. What an incredible and significant time to be alive as a Christian. I believe this moment in history holds great purpose and meaning for us. We take great courage and hope that the God of 2000 years ago, is the same God of 2020. He is alive and He is on his throne. He not only saved us, but is saving us. He is searching and seeking to find the lost and to strengthen the weak. The battle has been won. Death no longer has power over us. Victory is ours in Jesus Name. Today and everyday, let's live lives "palms up." And in all things we say, let your kingdom come and will be done in my life today, and forevermore.
I read an article today about a man who left a church sanctuary for the first time in three years. My heart sank, and tears welled up at the thought of this man separated from his family for 1,095 days. I wonder and imagine what those uncertain days felt like for him. Did he live with and in fear, anxiety, and heartache? How did his faith sustain him? Heart wrenching for what he suffered and the countless others in the same predicament. I pray for God's mercy and help. I was then challenged and convicted at the same time. Are our churches a sanctuary, haven, and place of refuge for all people seeking help? Are we equipped and designed to receive people in the time of their need and distress? Have we created, cultivated, and nurtured a culture and environment that speaks to what we value or should value - caring for all people and paying careful attention to the orphans and widows, the immigrants, the helpless and disenfranchised? Our call is to love, shepherd, care, pastor all
God, you alone are my Source. You are Provision. And you alone deserve all glory, praise, and honor. You are worthy of all of my adoration and admiration. Not a job. Not a person. Not an opportunity. You alone, God, and I am grateful because you do not change. You are constant, faithful, and able. You are with me, and you are for me. In the valley, or on the mountaintop, whether in plenty or want, in chaos or calm, my soul can rest and find peace in you, Jesus. My Prince of Peace. "Haven't I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." My Father loves me. He only does good, and he does all things well. He's leading me in His good and perfect will. And my heart can and will trust in Christ alone.
Fear is a liar. It distorts, suffocates, and overwhelms. I refuse to give my emotions and feelings a front seat to my life. Praise, worship, and thanksgiving are the antidote. Keeping my eyes fixed and focused on the only One who can rescue, deliver, set free, and put me on solid ground. Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone, the Solid Rock, and Firm Foundation for which I build my life and live. I will not fear. I do not have to worry. ** Two Weeks Ago**