Palm Sunday is a Christian celebration focusing on the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem before his eventual arrest and crucifixion. It marks the start of Holy Week, the final week of Lent. Historically, palm branches symbolize goodness and victory. They are often depicted on coins and important buildings. Solomon had palm branches carved into the stone walls and wooden doors of the temple (1 Kings) and in the final book of the Bible (Revelation), we see people from every nation raising palm branches in honor of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew describes how palm branches were laid in Jesus’ path as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.
Matthew 21:1-9 (NIV)
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
5 “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.’”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 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 heaven!”
A Traditional Palm Sunday Prayer: a
Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love toward mankind hast sent thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may both follow the example of his patience and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
a Source(s): The Book of Worship for Church and Home: With Orders of Worship, Services for the Administration of the Sacraments and Other Aids to Worship According to the Usages of the Methodist Church. Methodist Publishing House, 1965
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