Thronging crowds of Jewish pilgrims from across the Roman Empire gathered to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover each year. But something extra special was happening this year. Jesus the great prophet and miracle worker recently raised Lazarus from the dead. Many wondered if He was the Messiah. The people were especially excited about a chance to see Him.
Since Jerusalem was too full to accommodate all, they overflowed into the neighboring towns and villages. After resting on Sabbath, all the pilgrims eagerly prepared to enter the temple to initiate their week-long celebration. Did those staying in Bethany, Bethphage and the Mount of Olives know Jesus was staying nearby?
As they filled the road, suddenly the buzz circulated that Jesus was also there on the road, riding a donkey. They all knew King David rode a donkey into Jerusalem in times of peace. So Jesus riding on a donkey reminded them He was the Son of David also riding in peace.
They instantly knew this was history unfolding before their eyes. How many parents lifted their children to give them a glimpse of Jesus the Son of David, their Messiah.
As they laid their coats on the road to give Jesus the royal red carpet treatment, others cut palm branches and laid them on the road before Him.
The electric excitement of the crowd erupted into loud shouts. “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” The people in the crowd all shouted the same phrases. Who wrote their script? Who orchestrated their words and actions? The Holy Spirit rushed through the crowd guiding it all.
The explosive cheers on the road drifted over the walls of Jerusalem. People inside the city heard and understood Jesus was coming. Even though they couldn’t see the crowd on the road making a carpet for Jesus, they quickly cut palm branches and ran out to meet Jesus. They joined the shouting.
Again we ask, how could the people inside know to bring palm branches? The Holy Spirit also filled them with excitement and directed their actions. Jesus said if the crowd was silent, the rocks would cry out.
For 33 years Jesus laid aside His heavenly glory while He taught and healed among us. On the start of His final week with us, God opened the windows of heaven and poured down the praise He so rightly deserved. All the pilgrims on the road that day had the privilege of participating in Jesus’ grand procession. No one knew about Jesus’ ultimate destination. No one knew their grand procession would be called Palm Sunday. They had the privilege of honoring Jesus out in public. How can you publicly honor Jesus outside the walls of your church?