Palm Sunday – The Triumphal Entry


PALM SUNDAY – It’s Origin and Significance

Have you ever heard of Palm Sunday?

Do you know the significance of Palm Sunday?

Have you ever attended a Palm Sunday Service


The Origin of Palm Sunday 

Palm Sunday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar after Christmas and Easter. It is a celebration which occurs on the Sunday before Easter and is the first day of Holy Week, the last week of the Season of Lent.

Palm Sunday apparently began to be celebrated in the early days of the Christian Church at Jerusalem around the late 4thCentury. The services consisted of prayers, the singing of hymns and the preaching of sermons by the clergy. The faithful walked to various holy sites throughout the city. The last site was the place from which Jesus ascended, believed to be The Mont of Olives.  Here the clergy read from the Gospels, the account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.  The children would carry palm and olive branches as the Christians returned to the city, where evening services would be held.

The celebration spread to other parts of the Christian world over the next few centuries.

By the 6th century other traditions had been adopted, including the “Blessing of the Palms” and the introduction of a morning service instead of the evening one.

In countries where it was difficult to get palms, other trees were substituted such as the Box, Yew, and Willow etc. The Day was then referred to by the appropriate name or simply “Branch Sunday”

The Palm branches are saved in many churches and burned, to provide the ash for next year’s Ash Wednesday

After adoption by the Western Christian Church in the 8th century the celebration received the Latin name “Domenica in Palmis”, which means Palm Sunday in English


The Significance of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem almost 2000 years ago to celebrate the Passover.  

This event is recorded in all the four Gospels of the New Testament 

Matthew 21:1-11     Mark 11:1-11    Luke 19:28-44    John 12:12-19


This was the fulfilment of the prophecy in the Old Testament book of Zechariah 9:9 written over 500 years before the birth of Christ

“Rejoice, O people of Zion!     

  Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!

  Look, your King is coming to you.

  He is righteous and victorious.

 Yet He is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt.     

This was the only time recorded in the New Testament Gospels of Jesus riding an animal.

The people, by throwing down their cloaks and branches in front of Him, performed an act of homage. In times past it was a custom in the Near East to place some form of covering on the pathway in front of a person considered worthy of special honour.  I guess our modern equivalent is the Red Carpet for Heads of State.

The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in Jewish tradition and is referred to as such in the Old Testament.

They also sang words from Psalm 118: 25-26:


Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

The King of Israel “.

The word Hosanna was also significant. The word “hosanna” comes from the Hebrew word “hoshi’ana, which means “O save” or “save us”.  The Jewish people had waited for centuries for the promised “Messiah”, the One who would rescue them from oppression. They were now under occupation by the Roman Army. 

Was this Jesus the one?

The symbolism of a donkey in eastern culture was that it was an animal of peace.

Contrast this with a conquering King or General entering a city.  He would arrive riding on a horse or in a chariot with all the trappings of war. The prisoners he had captured and the booty looted would follow on behind.

Therefore Jesus showed that He was entering Jerusalem as” The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), not as a king waging war. 


The Real Meaning of Palm Sunday.

  In Luke 9:51-56 we see the real reason for Jesus going to Jerusalem.

 Jesus kept telling His Disciple that his purpose for coming to earth was to suffer and to die. 

 They headed off  to Jerusalem believing that Jesus was going to overthrow and rescue them from the Romans, restore His ancestor David’s earthly kingdom and they were going to be  important participants in that kingdom.

In verse 46 of that same chapter we find them arguing about who was going to be the greatest.

 Obviously the people had the same idea.  

They just didn’t “get it”!   

Jesus was living to a different agenda and marching to a different drum beat!

“As the time drew near for His return to heaven, He moved steadily onward to Jerusalem with an iron will. (Luke 9:51 LBT)

The entry into Jerusalem was another step in God’s plan for the Salvation of mankind.

“Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)

“For God loved the world so much, that He gave His only Son, so that anyone who believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it”. (John 3:16-17 TLB)

Palm Sunday , heralds the life changing events of Holy Week and Easter! Hold your breath for the unfolding drama of Redemption to come!

If this is new to you, seek out a Bible preaching church near you to discover more. Your Spiritual Health depends on it.


Doctor Bill

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