This Sunday is Palm Sunday. We recall Jesus entering Jerusalem to shouts of praise, as the crowd spread branches before him. Palm Sunday doesn’t demand attention the way Good Friday or Resurrection Sunday do. But pausing to reflect on it will do us good.

Palm Sunday reminds us Jesus is our Saviour King. He rides in from the East, over the mount of Olives.  He’s ‘splitting the mount’ as Zechariah 14 prophesied of the LORD coming to free His people. He rides a donkey; not so much about humility, but timing (princes were known to ride donkeys – Solomon was crowned from one). You rode a donkey in peace. In Zechariah 9, the Saviour king rides a donkey into battle – he’s that confident the victory is won. This king comes gently – to win a different war. Jesus orchestrates events to enter Jerusalem as God’s Saviour King – freeing His people through gentle righteousness.

Reflecting on Palm Sunday is helpful for us in at least 3 ways

Recapture your delight in Jesus

First, recapturing delight in Him. We’re often understated in our response to Jesus. The crowds shouting Hosanna.  Roughly translated, it is a cry for salvation. At Passover, the ‘Hallel’ psalms, Psalm 113-118, were sung on high rotation. These Psalms call ‘Hosanna’ – save us; save us like you rescued us from Egyptian slavery. The addition of ‘Son of David’, is that the crowd expected God’s king to deliver them. The crowd shouts what Jesus had already stated by riding a donkey down from the Mount of Olives: The Saviour King has come.

The crowds rejoice because they knew the forces against them were too strong. Some that day, only thought of political rescue from Rome. But others, aware of the Old Testament, knew God’s Saviour King would deliver from the bigger tyrants of sin and death, freeing the weak from spiritual oppression. When you hit the point of recognising your own weakness – there’s no greater joy than a saviour arriving. You might give a friendly nod to a lifesaver as you walk down the beach – but you’re filled with joy when a rip is pulling you under and that lifesaver hauls you out. When you know you’re weak, a saviour becomes your greatest joy. The Puritan, John Flavel, warns: 

Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer’s soul and they promote sanctification. We were not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes for a long time without the experience of heart-warming will soon find himself tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not, as he ought, from the Spirit of God. 

John Flavel

Palm Sunday gives us a chance to rediscover our delight in Jesus. 

Ask to share His humility

Second, asking to share His humility. Christ’s kingly authority is subversive. With all the power in the universe, a week later, He’ll submit to injustice, shame and death. It’s the path He walks for us. It’s the path we’re called to follow – using our power to bless others. The collect for Palm Sunday is helpful as you pray:

Almighty and everlasting God, in tender love towards mankind you sent your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take our nature upon him and to suffer death on the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility: grant that we may follow the example of his suffering, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen 

Invite others to discover Christ

Third, inviting others to discover Christ. Jesus’ arrival can’t be missed. In Matthew’s account, his arrival (21:10) stirs the whole of Jerusalem. Matthew last used that expression at Christ’s birth, when Herod and all Jerusalem were disturbed. The King comes riding in – and normal life is shaken. The question on everyone’s lips: ‘Who is this?’ 

We have the opportunity to give our friends and family, co-workers and neighbours, the chance to discover Him. Easter postcards are still available to make inviting to our Easter services easier. Whether those we invite come or not, it opens the conversation to talk more about Jesus – to lovingly ‘disturb’ their lives with the humble majesty of Jesus. 

In Him,

Mark Smith 
Senior Minister | Congregational Pastor 8am & 7pm