On Sunday, Christians throughout the world enter into the holiest week of the year as we recall Jesus’ triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. The crowds shout “Hosanna” in praise of God who keeps his promises. They lay down their garments onto the street, hailing Jesus with palm branches as he passes by. The palm branch stands as a powerful symbol even today, signaling the victory of the martyrs in defense of the faith as well as the reign of peace that follows the end of conflict. Our world still cries out for Christ’s peace as we witness bitter discord between nations, religious groups, political parties, and even members of the same family. How often believers forget that Jesus walks before us everyday—he longs for us to take up a palm branch and join him to usher the peace of God’s kingdom into our workplaces, schools, and homes. This campaign for peace, however, does not end with Jesus’ ride through Jerusalem, but it extends to the Last Supper with his disciples, his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, and his crucifixion on Calvary. Our walk with Jesus is a walk toward the cross and with the cross, yet even the cross fails to issue the final word. Holy Week ultimately brings us to the site of an empty tomb and the hope of our resurrection on the last day. By grace, may we strive to go where Jesus has already gone to “rest and reign with him in heaven.”
When Jesus and his disciples drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately on entering it, you will find a colt tethered on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ reply, ‘The Master has need of it and will send it back here at once.’ ” So they went off and found a colt tethered at a gate outside on the street, and they untied it. Some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” They answered them just as Jesus had told them to, and they permitted them to do it. So they brought the colt to Jesus and put their cloaks over it. And he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Those preceding him as well as those following kept crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is to come! Hosanna in the highest!”
You are the King of Israel and David’s royal Son,
now in the Lord’s name coming, our King and Blessed One.
The company of angels is praising you on high;
and mortals, joined with all things created, make reply.
To you before your passion they sang their hymns of praise:
to you, now high exalted, our melody we raise.
All glory, laud, and honor to you, Redeemer, King,
to whom the lips of children made sweet hosannas ring.