Friday, April 3, 2009

Palm Sunday - a turning point in history

The first Palm Sunday was a real turning point in history. On that day, at the Triumphal Entry, Jesus publicly presented Himself to the Jewish people as their king.

Here's an article I recently wrote about the holiday that appeared in our local newspaper, the Hi Desert Star:

A king rides on a donkey. Crowds cheer and wave palm branches. Children shout “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Have you ever wondered what Palm Sunday is all about?

Next Sunday, April 5, churches across the world will celebrate the Christian holiday known as Palm Sunday. It’s the day that commemorates Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem almost two thousand years ago. When Jesus rode a donkey into the capital city, He was presenting Himself as King to the Jewish people. This humble man from the village of Nazareth was showing everyone, “Yes, I am the descendant of King David. I do have royal blood. I am the rightful heir to the throne.” And the people were clearly excited about this.

As Jesus passed by, thousands cheered and waved branches. These palm branches were a Jewish symbol of hope and patriotism, much like we would wave the American flag in a parade today. In fact, this probably felt like Independence Day to the Jews. They thought that with the arrival of King Jesus, they would finally be free from Roman tyranny and heavy taxation without representation.

But then something tragic happened. Just five days later, Jesus was arrested and nailed to a cross to die as a criminal. Though He had done nothing wrong, He was falsely accused, tortured, then killed. Why? Because the human race had a much bigger problem that Jesus came to this earth to deal with.

Jesus did not come just to bring political freedom. He came to bring spiritual freedom. When Jesus died on Good Friday, He willingly set aside His royal glory to pay the heavy price for our sin and take God’s punishment that we each deserved. Three days later, He finished the work, rising from the dead on Easter morning so that all who believe in Him can be saved. All hail King Jesus!

Photo credit: Jonathan & Jill

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