What Is the Message of Palm Sunday

What Is the Message of Palm Sunday?

Anita Agers-BrooksBy Anita Agers-Brooks8 Minutes

Can I trust God? Really trust him?

The message of Palm Sunday is one of promise and absolute faith. It shows the importance of believing God, prior to seeing final results. Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was foretold long before it happened. “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Zechariah 9:9)

So, what does this have to do with our 21st-century circumstances today?

If our world was ever in need of Someone/Something we can trust — it’s now! As I write this from my quarantined home, dealing with a pandemic like everyone else, I’m struck more than ever with the truth that I can trust in one thing only. God!

The Lord’s promise to love us unconditionally, to never leave or forsake us, and to do what we cannot do for ourselves, gives us a firm foundation we can stand on. He provides the encouragement and strength to turn our weakness into strength. The message of Palm Sunday points to a Savior who is willing and able to save us from any catastrophe, and he shows us how to best conduct ourselves when emotions run high.

By reading Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, and John 12:12-19, we capture the panoramic view of the Palm Sunday story. It sets the scene for the prophecy fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.

As directed by Jesus, two of the disciples went into a village and untied a donkey and its colt, then brought them to Christ for him to ride. Nearing Jerusalem, word spreads about Jesus’ approach. I imagine whispers started first. “Did you hear? He’s coming — the one they call Messiah — our King. We must welcome him as he deserves.”

Soon, the whispers transformed into frenzied shouts, prompting young boys to scurry up palm trunks and cut enough fronds for the growing crowd. “Hurry. We must be prepared for his arrival,” voices from the ground cried out.

A messenger arrived breathless, rasping, “He is close, maybe a mile away.”

Armloads of palm fronds passed quickly among men, women, and children, who then lined the edges of the road, waiting in anticipation. Then, someone shouted, “There! I see him. The king approaches!”

When Jesus was close enough for the people to see the gentle and loving smile he wore, they began waving the palms and shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of The Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

We can learn much from this monumental moment.

First, even in the midst of voices competing with each other to be heard, Christ provided a calming influence. He did not scream or tell others to be quiet. In my mind’s eye, I can see his gentle spirit exuding love, as he looked on each person individually — accepting them where they were as they were. He does that for us today.

Jesus showed he was approachable and available. It’s encouraging to know he is never too busy, distracted, or overwhelmed for us to bring our concerns to him. This is important for us to remember during moments of crisis, whether personal or global.

Jesus also demonstrated humility. He did not seat himself above his people, but instead, on a lowly donkey, at a level where he could see them, eye to eye. He felt reachable. When we look for Christ today, we can still find him reachable.

Christ’s choice of a donkey to ride on, was a symbol of peace. In his time on earth, those who arrived on a donkey were considered to come with peaceful intent. Isn’t it refreshing to know that when the world is frantic, we can count on the peace of Christ to calm and comfort?

The shouts of “Hosanna,” came from the Hebrew, meaning “save, rescue, savior.” In faith, people trusted Jesus to save them on Palm Sunday — and though they didn’t know how, they trusted he would. Our faith should be grounded in the knowledge that Jesus still saves.

The palm branch represented victory. And though the people lining the road were not aware of their full significance, the waving palms symbolized the final victory Jesus would soon fulfill over death. We too, can know that even in death, we win. As Jesus said to Martha in John 11:25, “… I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” This powerful reminder tells us we have nothing to fear from any virus, pandemic, or other concern, when we know our ultimate destination is to live with Christ.

We can also find comfort in knowing God is not caught off-guard by any pestilence, disease, natural disaster, or other circumstance. Centuries before Jesus rode the donkey on Palm Sunday, God revealed the coming event, leading the prophet to pen Zechariah 9:9. Though it may take longer than we anticipate or want, and our own faith may waiver, God’s reliability is as refreshing as the cool air spurred by those palm fronds.

Palm Sunday carries Christ toward the ultimate sacrifice of his life on the cross, where by his sacrifice we are healed! Its central message is that God sees us and loves what he sees. The only requirement from us is that we welcome him and his peace, and exercise faith in his ultimate healing — on earth or in heaven.

Are we exemplifying the Palm Sunday promise to a watching world? Not only can we have confidence because of Christ’s provision for our lives, but we can emulate his characteristics, especially in a crisis to influence others. People are watching, and more than ever, they need to see our strong, spiritual faith. So, let’s wave our palm fronds!