Hosanna in the Highest Heaven!
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!”
Matthew 21:9 (NIV)
Palm Sunday has always been one of my favorite days in church.
During yesterday's Palm Sunday celebration service Sunday school teachers, toddlers, Pre-K kiddos, elementary students and even a few teens lined the back of our sanctuary waiting for the queue to parade and with the downbeat of “Hosanna, Praise Is Rising" by Shane and Shane the procession began to the delight of the entire congregation!
The smiles and innocence of each child equipped with a palm branch and holding the hand of a friend-melted my heart! However one little girl stood out. Clothed in her Sunday best, this sweet angel waved her palm branch with an extra measure of enthusiasm.
Yes little one, this is the day we celebrate the triumphal entry of our Lord and King!
Once home I settled in to study Palm Sunday. I’m not new to the celebration anchoring the Christian Holy Week but instead felt I needed to be reminded why we “celebrate” Jesus’ final earthly destination.
Once Jesus entered the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem He knew there was no turning back. And yet, He entered.
Jerusalem was already teeming with people for the annual Passover celebration. Much of the crowd that accompanied Jesus into the city had witnessed Lazarus’ resurrection just days before. Excitement had built, word had spread and with great excitement many of the followers eagerly ran ahead to prepare the way for Jesus to enter the city.
How did they prepare?
They gathered palm branches to wave. This ancient act of respect and reverence wasn't new to the Jews. From the first century onward, Biblical history records the gathering of palm branches to wave as a sign of welcoming and acknowledgment for royalty. Beginning with the first "Sukkoth" or Feast of The Tabernacles, the practice of waving palm branches continued throughout history and the day Jesus entered Jerusalem was no exception.
Palm branches along with what some Bible versions describe as "cloaks and fine garments" covered the ground Jesus, on the back of a lowly donkey, would travel over. This act was reserved for highest royalty and what did they cry out? “HOSANNA TO THE KING!” They recognized Jesus as the King of the Jews! Can you imagine? What a day that must have been! All the while Jesus knew He would enter triumphantly…only to be crucified days later.
And yet, He entered.
We won’t turn back either. We waved our palm branches and wore our Sunday best knowing the story. Perhaps your church will host a Maundy Thursday service to gather and remember The Last Supper. On Good Friday Christians around the world will bow their heads, pray and remember Christ’s crucifixion on The Cross at Calvary to atone for the sins of the world. But on that day may we all remember these words…
It may be Friday but SUNDAY’S COMING!”
Dear Jesus thank You. Thank You that through Your example we learn to wait with enthusiasm and anticipation for You. We dress our hearts in our Sunday best and wait… because we know our Fridays will not last forever. Sunday’s coming Lord, Yes, Sunday’s coming!! Amen!