Palm Sunday is the first day of what is called “Holy Week” in church history. Sometimes called “Passion Week,” this week leads the worshipper along a journey with Jesus through the gates of Jerusalem, to a cruel cross – and ultimately to the celebration of Resurrection Day.
For the Christian, there is no more central event in human history than what is celebrated at Easter. As Peter said: “…God raised him from the dead. God has raised this Jesus to life… God has made him both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:24, 32, 36). Without the resurrection of Jesus, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14, our faith is “useless.”
We begin our journey at Palm Sunday, as Jesus enters Jerusalem at the culmination of 3 years of ministry, riding on a donkey – an ancient symbol of a king coming in peace (Zechariah 9:9). Waving palm branches, the crowds exuberantly celebrate as Jesus enters into the heart of Jerusalem – the “City of Peace.”
“They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!’“ John 12:13
see the triumphal entry
OPEN THE GATES
and invite the King to enter
Is there a gate, a doorway to your heart, through which Jesus is about to enter?
In John 12:12-15, we are told that as Jesus entered Jerusalem, he was greeted by a large crowd waving branches and hailing his arrival in the Holy City.
He had just been anointed at Bethany with a burial perfume, and the following picture is laid out: “The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!”
At the entrance to many homes, there is a gate. It marks the first passage way onto someone’s property. From the gate, there is usually a small “road” that leads up to the front door. We call it a walkway, but it could be understood to simply be a road designed for feet! According to the size of the home, the journey from the gate to the door can be very short — or very, very long. Through the door is the heart of the home.
The journey from the Palm Sunday Gate into the “hearts of the Jews” of Jerusalem, was quite a long journey for Jesus. The initial celebration of his coming was marked by singing, shouting, and a party that would rival the best of today’s festive celebrations.
However, those shouts of acclaim quickly transformed into cries for crucifixion as Jesus cut a straight and painful path to the heart of his people.
As Jesus approaches the gate of your life this season, open the front door and say “Yes” to him walking right into the most vulnerable place, the very heart, of your life. Tables will be turned. You will go through a transformation that may be as painful as it is wonderful. But there is no other place you would rather Jesus be than right in the middle of your beautiful mess.
for Palm Sunday
Lord, I open the gate of my life for you to enter this Easter, and I open my heart to your transforming presence at the same time. Help me to yield to your will, to allow the mess, and to say “Yes.”
for Your Easter Reflection
- In what area(s) of your life do you find it the hardest to let Jesus take control?
- Is there a door that has been continually shut, that it’s time to open?