“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me.” Matthew 21:2
Today’s devotion is the first of eight looking back at conversations Jesus had the week prior to His crucifixion and resurrection. Sometimes we miss the significance of Palm Sunday because we know the sorrow that came on Friday. Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem is full of meaning. Understanding why we celebrate Palm Sunday helps us fully celebrate Easter Sunday.
Jesus had previously avoided public displays of adoration (John 2:4; 7:6), but now He was the One orchestrating events. His time had finally come. The city was packed with people who had journeyed to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. In a moment long-anticipated by God’s people, they celebrated the arrival of their Deliverer— the promised Messiah.
As Jesus entered the city, “Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest!’” (Matthew 21:8-9).
The word “Hosanna” is a plea for deliverance and salvation. They were right to believe that Jesus would bring deliverance. They were short-sighted, however, in thinking they only needed deliverance from the rule and oppression of Rome. As the crucified Savior, Jesus came to deliver the world from sin and its condemnation.
That’s why His instructions to the disciples were so specific. Jesus knew He must fulfill prophecy so precisely that there would be absolutely no doubt later about who He was. “This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold your King is coming to you, Gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden’” (Matthew 21:4-5; Zechariah 9:9).
The significance of Palm Sunday isn’t in the short-lived praise of the crowd, but in the prophecy fulfilled. In fact, every promise made about the Messiah was, and is, kept in Jesus Christ. Celebrating Easter Sunday begins by understanding what Palm Sunday is all about. Jesus came to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin. Do you recognize Him as your personal Savior and Deliverer?