You may already know about Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem, where he was headed during the annual Jewish Passover celebration a week before he would be crucified. This week is sometimes called Passion Week or Holy Week.
On that Sunday when Jesus came into Jerusalem, it was a moment of celebration and excitement for many Jews, particularly those who had come to believe Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (their Savior). They believed he would soon become their new king and would overthrow Rome. Their oppression would finally be over!
And to add to their confidence, the way Jesus came into town was right in line with how the prophet Zechariah had predicted some 400 years earlier that the king would make his entrance.
The gospel writer Matthew was an eyewitness to these events and gave us a summary of what happened that day. He started with what happened right before Jesus rode into town, when Jesus was with his closest friends in a small town just outside Jerusalem. Matthew also told us why this particular Sunday would later be known as Palm Sunday, when Jesus traveled along a small path of palm branches that people laid out for him. This is Matthew 21:1–11:
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Heavenly Father, as we enter this Holy Week, just like the people of Jerusalem laid down palm branches and cloaks to prepare the way for Jesus, may we lay down anything in our lives that gets in the way of us demonstrating our love for you. We pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen.