Image source: MaryHardin-Baylor

Today in the Christian calendar is Palm Sunday – the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus was welcomed into the city by a large crowd who placed palm branches on the ground for him to ride upon. Putting down palm branches for a person to ride upon when entering a city, was a cultural practice that celebrated victory and triumph of that person on behalf of that city. The crowd were welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem the way they would welcome a King!

The book of Matthew 21:9 (NIV) records that: “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!”

The chant of “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” – is taken from Psalm 118 and verse 26. In Psalm 118, King David sings praises God for delivering him from his many troubles, adversities, and enemies. Towards the end of the Psalm, from verses 21 to 26, King David writes:

“21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation. 22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. 25 Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. From the house of the Lord we bless you.”

The Israelites understood this part of the Psalm to refer to the messiah – the deliverer and redeemer of Israel and all humanity. So, when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, instead of walking as he would normally do, the crowds who often followed him, burst into a celebration.

Jesus, the great teacher and miracle worker who had been with them for three and half years, comes into Jerusalem riding a donkey – the people felt this must be God’s appointed King coming to deliver them. Yes, he delivered them, not just them, he delivered all humanity from Satan’s grip. What does this practically mean? We will look into this next week on Easter Sunday!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, Amen!

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