Palm Sunday: Resurrection is coming!

By Daniel Aqleh, a Tour Guide graduate.

Christians around the world celebrate Palm Sunday on March 28, 2021. On this Sunday that comes before Easter, we commemorate Jesus’s triumphant entry into the city of Jerusalem.  Thousands of people from all around the world join locals in walking the same path that Jesus walked, from the village of Bethphage which is located on the eastern edge of the Mount of Olives through the valley, entering the city of Jerusalem. This event is very important as it marks the last week of the season of Lent and also the first day of Holy Week (also called Passion Week) that culminates in Easter Sunday.

The historical background of Palm Sunday dates back to the end of the 4th Century when people would gather to have their palm blessed then walk the same path that Jesus walked in His entry to Jerusalem. They would hold palm branches that symbolize victory, triumph and peace, and olive branches that symbolize peace and victory, all while chanting verses from the Old Testament and saying “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD” (Psalms 118:26).

This event is important for it is the fulfillment of the prophecy that was mentioned in the Old Testament book of Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” It is also important to ponder how Jesus was feeling, for as much joy He had, He had also cried over Jerusalem. This was one of only three times that Jesus cried according to the Gospels. It was at this time He prophesied about the destruction of Jerusalem (that happened 40 years later) by saying, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.  The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you” (Luke 19:41-44).

As we approach Easter, we must prepare our minds and hearts to be thoughtful of those who are suffering around the world because of the pandemic. We must also pray that God in His mercy will come and comfort those in need, for the coronavirus has destroyed many homes and even left some homeless and many without any source of income.

The joy that is expressed on Palm Sunday is followed by the Passion Week when Jesus was taken away and suffered, crucified, and on Easter Sunday, He rose from death. That is the message for us today: even though there is suffering, pain, hurt, and neglect in people all around us, the resurrection is coming in a few days. The night may seem to last for a long time, but the sunshine will break out soon. It may seem that our suffering now is for a long time, so in this season let us hold tight to the hope and the light of that resurrection that is coming soon without any doubt.