Matthew 21:1-11 – Palm Sunday

As we approach Easter, let’s turn our attention to the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem. He comes to Israel’s capital city, crowded with people who have made the pilgrimage for the Festival of Passover. This is an annual celebration for the Jews of the event of God causing his divine judgment to ‘passover’ the homes of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt over three thousand years before, thereby sparing their firstborn sons from the fatal judgment that came to those who had not put a lamb’s blood on the doorframes of their homes. How apt that the divine timetable has Jesus come to Jerusalem at this time. He knows that he is going to be killed as the ultimate Passover Lamb, his sacrifice providing the means for us to be spared the judgement that we deserve.

Jesus approaches Jerusalem on a donkey knowing that this is rich in significance for the Jews. As Matthew tells us, it represents a fulfilment of a prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 of a future King in the line of David coming to Israel’s capital in order to inaugurate a new and extraordinary reign. The fact that this king will ride on a donkey as opposed to a mighty stallion or a chariot says much about him: he is a humble servant rather than a proud warlord. Those coming with Jesus from Galilee in the north of Israel (note: not the people already in Jerusalem who later call for his death), recognise the fact that this act of riding a donkey is about kingship in keeping with the Zechariah prophecy. Them laying their cloaks down is a gesture associated with honouring royalty as is the use of branches (probably from palm trees). Their cry, “Hosanna” means ‘saves us now’!

Let’s pray that the people of this country, this Easter time, issue the cry “save me now!” recognising the reality of what the servant King Jesus has done for them.

Pray: Think and Act: think of one person you know who you are desperate to see come to faith – if you have a picture of them, even better! As you think of them or look at their picture, imagine God opening their eyes to the truth of the gospel and them responding to Him. Pray using words for them…take your time. Now ACT – if you can, send them a text, message, card or make a call to let them know you’re thinking of them/praying for them. Now praise God that his heart is for them and for us. Praise him for saving you!

Song: To God be the glory