Yesterday Christians celebrated Palm Sunday or the Triumphal Entry of Jesus – the start of the Holy Week. What can we learn from this event? Let me use the word PALM as the outline:
P – Prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
Matthew 21:5 records the fulfillment of a prophecy made by Zechariah. It says, “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” (Zechariah 9:9). This is just one of the many records in the Gospel about the fulfillment of prophecies. This teaches us that we are assured that the prophecies that are still to come will surely be fulfilled – meaning, we must believe that Jesus Christ will come again!
A – Allow Jesus to enter into our lives in His own terms.
The people of Israel during that time did not allow Jesus to enter Jerusalem in His own terms. They were expecting a Messiah that will ride a warhorse. Jesus rode a donkey, a symbol of peace. They were expecting Jesus to lead a revolution against Rome. Instead, Jesus went straight to the Temple and started another kind of revolution. This is the reason why the people who shouted “Hosanna” later shouted “Crucify Him!” This teaches us to open our lives without reservation and allow Jesus to come inside in His own terms.
L – Learn to live humble lives.
In some tradition, Christians would bring palm leaves during Palm Sunday. After the worship service, these palm leaves will be stored and then will be brought up again during Ash Wednesday the following year. These palm leaves will then be burned, and its ashes will become a reminder that we come from ashes, and to ashes we will return. The reminder of our mortality will remind us to live humble lives. Jesus was surrounded by people who wanted Him to be their king. Matthew 21:10 describes the situation during that time – the whole city was stirred and they were asking who this person is that led the people to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Jesus did not veer away from His main objective, and gave in to their demands. Jesus remained humble as He moved forward towards the cross.
M – Make straight the corrupt practices that you will see.
Jesus was angry with the businessmen and religious leaders because they were defrauding the people. They made the Temple a den of robbers. They exchanged the currency of that time to Temple money in a very losing exchange rate. They declared animals like sheep to be unworthy to be sacrificed, and just exchanged it with a dove. They then resold those sheep to other people. It was a very lucrative business but a corrupt one. Jesus expressed what Bible scholars call as “righteous anger” and drove out all who were buying and selling there. We, too, need to express “righteous anger” every time we see injustices around us. Our “righteous anger” should lead to actions that will correct the corrupt practices.
May Jesus have a triumphal entry into our lives!
Rev. Francis Neil G. Jalando-on
Office of Communications
Central Philippine University