The palm tree proclaims life where life appears unable to exist. With a lifespan in excess of 200 years, the majestic palm tree stands against the odds to provide God’s People with the perfect symbol of life and immortality. The palm tree is, after-all, the first sign of life at the edge of the barren lifeless wilderness on the other side of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem … life miraculously given to God’s people as they wandered forty years in another barren lifeless wilderness … life eternal that can only be given by God through the long-promised Christ.
The Divine Conqueror’s proclamation came through enlightened members of the Passover crowd who went to meet Jesus, crying out, “Hosanna to The Son of David! Blessed is He Who comes in The Name of The Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
“Hosanna” is that most poignant of cries - “O Lord, Save us”. He Who comes in The Name of The Lord is the long-promised Messiah. The Son of David is another Name God had given the long-promised Christ through the prophets and therefore a Name by which He was identified to the people of God. In their words and in their actions, God provided the powerful Gospel Message through the people of God.
Why is Palm Sunday such an important day in the Church Year calendar?
When reading, studying, or proclaiming a Biblical text, the most important Person in that text is always God and the most important thing taking place is what God is doing.
The people gathered around Jesus had come to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover – that time when God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt and molded them into His Chosen People. On that night of judgment, God had sent the death angel who killed the first born in every oppressor’s home. The death angel passed over the homes of believers who had faithfully sacrificed a lamb and painted the lintel and door post of their homes with the blood of the lamb – as God instructed them.
Now God was fulfilling His Ultimate Promise by coming among us as The Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world and the guilt and death those sins bring – coming to enable us to be God’s people through all eternity.
As Luke tells us, some of the Pharisees in the multitude said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples! The people are getting too worked up — what if their demonstration begins to alarm the Romans. We can’t have that.” They wanted Jesus to put a stop to the demonstration that could cost them their jobs and the security Rome gave them.
Jesus’ answer on that original Palm Sunday not only responded to the Pharisees — but also answers any questions about the importance of Palm Sunday on our Church Year calendar where it has been replaced in many denominations.
Jesus answered, “I tell you, if these people were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
On that first Palm Sunday, The Word of God, spoken by God through the people, IDENTIFIES Jesus and places in context the most important events in all of human history and God’s Place in those events. God considered the proclaiming of that context so important that if on that day the people had remained silent, the very stones would have cried out - but God didn’t need to make that happen. God spoke through His enlightened people.
The King of kings, Lord of lords Savior comes to Jerusalem riding on a donkey - the work animal and burden carrier - to carry all of humanity’s sins and alienation from God on His Back to the cross to conquer the world, sin, the devil, and death for us.
Jesus Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death-- even death on a cross! (PHILIPPIANS 2:6-11) The True Man, True God Army of One arrived – the battle was joined – our Salvation now and eternally was guaranteed. Have a blessed Palm Sunday – God has given us this day and its message to cherish.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD TO GAIN OUR ETERNAL SALVATION AND REGAIN OUR ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD - AS PALM SUNDAY SO BOLDLY PROCLAIMS. AMEN.
March 25, 2018
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio