Day One Sunday: Palm Sunday the Triumphant Entry

The Last Week of Jesus’ Life

Note: The precise time line of Jesus’ last week is debated. Following is one respected timeline accepted by many final week scholars. The timing begins on Palm Sunday and ends on a Resurrection Sunday. Due to space constraints the following lacks details.

Matthew 21: 1 – 11, Luke 19: 28 – 44, John 12: 12 – 19

Jesus sent two of His apostles to find a donkey with an unbroken colt. They were to be His mode of transportation into Jerusalem.

It is commonly stated that the same people who cried “Hosanna” were the same people who later shouted “Crucify Him.” Not so! Consider the custom of the era.

Jesus awoke in Bethany, a small village on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, and began His eventful day. His mode of transportation was a donkey and the fold of a donkey. Prophetically it was revealed the Messiah would enter Jerusalem in this way. Some critics say there is a conflict in the account, one notes He rode a donkey and another that He rode the colt. He rode both. The colt was not strong enough to carry Him all the way even though it was only five or six miles. He rode the donkey to Jerusalem and the colt into Jerusalem.

Jewish tribes coming to Jerusalem in the Bible era for the Passover always camped in the same places. Those from Galilee always camped on the southern end of the Mount of Olives. To get from Bethany, where Jesus had spent the night, to Jerusalem  Jesus had to travel through their encampment. Galileans knew Jesus, much of His ministry was performed there. On His way to Jerusalem He passed through their encampment. As He did, they shouted “Hosanna” and other praises. He was their champion. Galileans being from an agrarian culture people, farmers, shepherds, and fishermen, wanted the Romans driven out and their heavy tax removed.. Their motivation for shouting praise was likely not of Him as Messiah, but potential liberator. It was nonetheless fitting praise.

From the summit of the Mount Olives to the gates of Jerusalem on a straight line was no more than 400 to 500 yards. The two ridges were separated by the Kidron Valley in which was the Garden of Gethsemane.

The people around and in the gates of Jerusalem could easily have heard the shouts on the Mount of Olives and paused in wonderment to listen. The praise of the Galilean would have further irritated and angered them.

Later in Jerusalem the religious and merchandising community led the crowd shouting “Crucify Him.” They were profiting from the business provided by the Romans and wanted to placate them, thus they were inclined to condemn Jesus.

It was not the same crowd shouting the two different expressions as commonly thought in Western culture.

These two groups typify our society. One praises Jesus and the other opposes him. We each belong to one or the other. The choice of our group is ours. Today even those who love Jesus as savior are faced with personal choices and each provide Him praise or criticism. The choice is yours.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, the people placed palm branches on the road before Him (John 12:12-13; Matthew 21:7-8). The palm branches depicted joy, celebration and welcome to the King.