Guest Author: Darrian Rivers 

This Sunday, March 28th is Palm Sunday. 

Palm Sunday is always the Sunday before Easter. It is a very important faith holiday that signifies the start of the Holy Week. The Holy Week is important because of what Jesus, our Lord, and Savior, did up until the point of the cross, and all that He did in his 3 years of ministry. 

Palm Sunday is the day one of the prophecies about Jesus came to fruition. “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 

According to the Holman KJV Study Bible, the Israelites yearned for a king of similar stature to David and Solomon. This is when they announced the prophecy of a King who is just. Instead of riding a mule, which was common for kings, he would ride in on a donkey, which shows humility. 

This is just one of 55 prophecies Jesus fulfills in the old testament. The biblical accounts of Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem are found in all four of the gospel books Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. While each books’ account is similar, recounting the singular event, there is a subtlety between each book’s description. 

Find the scriptures telling the story of Palm Sunday below:

Palm Sunday in the Book of Matthew

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. 

If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 

They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” ~ Matthew 21:1-11

Palm Sunday in the Book of Mark

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 

If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.'” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 

And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. ~ Mark 11:1-11

Palm Sunday in the Book of Luke

And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 

And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As he was drawing near–already on the way down the Mount of Olives–the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” ~ Luke 19:28-40

Palm Sunday in the Book of John

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 

The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.” ~ John 12:12-19

Our Current Culture

Today, many churches save the palm leaves and scorch them to use for Ash Wednesday the following year. Some believers fold them into a cross as a remembrance of Christ and what He did for us on the Cross and through the Resurrection. Some keep them in their homes as a keep stake.  

On this occasion in Greece, fried salt cod or bakaliaros are a traditional meal. In the Christian Faith, fish is often served during the first day of the Holy Week because it is associated with the biblical stories passed down.  

Many church denominations celebrate Palm Sunday in some incredible ways. Some events include worship experiences, music, plays, pageants, and concerts in remembrance of what Jesus has done. Bethany College puts on a festival in Kansas during Holy week. It is an amazing tradition they have done for over 100 years. 

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