Psalm 118:27 - The people of Jerusalem were prepared with palm branches to greet the lamb.
First of all, let me apologize to those who were expecting part 2 of my blog on the Apostle Paul. I kind of lost track of the dates. The blog on Paul will appear next.
Today, I am thinking about Palm Sunday which has just passed. We are all pretty familiar with the events of that first Palm Sunday, but there is a question you probably never thought of. Jerusalem was a metropolitan area. When Jesus entered the city, the people spread their cloaks and palm branches before Him. Where did all those palm branches come from? Remember this was Passover, probably the most important season on the Jewish calendar. According to the Mishnah, on the 10th of Nisan, the High Priest would leave Jerusalem to go to Bethlehem where the lamb for Passover would be selected. He would pick out the perfect unblemished lamb. The High Priest would then carry the lamb through the Eastern Gate in to the temple area. During the week of celebration, worshipers would recite six Psalms: 113-118, known as the Hallel. Psalm 118: 27 reads, “The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horn of the altar.” The people of Jerusalem would have been prepared with palm branches to greet the lamb.
Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey, fulfilling the prophesy found in Zechariah 9: 9. The people knew Jesus had done all the Messianic signs, culminating with the raising of Lazarus from the dead. To the people, Jesus was the Messiah, and there could be no holding them back. The scene certainly did not escape the notice of the Pharisees. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ But Jesus replied, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’” (Luke 19:39-40) No doubt Jesus’ response would have caused the Pharisees to remember Isaiah 55:12. Yes, Jesus was the Messiah, but not the Messiah the Jewish people were expecting. They were expecting a Messiah that would free them from Roman bondage. They were missing it! “As He (Jesus) approached Jerusalem, and saw the city He wept over it and said, ‘if you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes…they (enemies of the Jews) will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.’” (Luke 19:41, 42, 44b)
Jesus entered the city through the Eastern Gate. That gate has been sealed from the time of the Muslim occupation hundreds of years ago, and is sealed to this day. In fact, today there is a Muslim cemetery outside the gate. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote, “Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The Lord said to me, ‘this gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the Lord, the God of Israel has entered through it.’” (Ezekiel 44:1-2)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.