Observed on the Sunday prior to Easter, Palm Sunday celebrates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion and resurrection.
As He entered Jerusalem on a donkey, large crowds spread cloaks and palm branches to honor Him as royalty, because they believed He was the long-awaited Messiah. They cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” —John 12:13
The people’s actions drew resentment from religious leaders present who rejected such claims. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’” —Luke 19:39
These religious leaders sought to silence the crowd, but Jesus saw no reason to silence the people. He said, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” —Luke 19:40
Amazingly, the prophet Zechariah spoke about all of this 500 years prior to it happening: Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. —Zechariah 9:9
Still, the people on that first Palm Sunday missed the true reason for Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem that day. They celebrated, because they thought Jesus had come to save them from their circumstances. They didn’t realize that Jesus came to save them from their sin. That is still Jesus’ desire today.