Jesus riding on a colt, and with His followers cheering along His procession while waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna! and “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD…” (Psalm 118: 26; Luke 19: 38). But do our mental images of Palm Sunday accurately portray the passionate heart of God on that Sunday before the crucifixion of Christ and His Resurrection three day later?
The “Passion” of Christ is often rightly focused on His suffering and death on the cross. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word passion can also mean “an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.” This more deeply defined passion arises when one's conviction toward a belief or purpose, or love for a person is so intense that he or she is willing to suffer and die if necessary.
According to the Scriptures, God’s love for the world was so passionate that He was willing to suffer and die to provide for its redemption and restoration (John 3: 16). Below, you will find seven short devotional meditations that focus on the passion of Jesus Christ leading up to and including Palm Sunday. We hope these meditations will deepen you love and passion for God as you use them during the coming days of Passion Week.
Day 1 “Jesus Was Going On Ahead”
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden [of Eden] in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3: 8-9).
Adam and Eve chose the promised pleasure of eating the one forbidden fruit which resulted in broken fellowship with their Divine Creator. But immediately, God’s passionate love moved Him to open a Way to restore mankind from the slavery of sin and death. Hebrews 1: 1-3 summarizes how God…spoke long ago to the fathers [e.g. Abraham and the other patriarchs, and the nation Israel], in the prophets, in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son[Jesus Christ] through whom God created the world. Jesus is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. God’s loving plan to redeem mankind was the driving purpose of His Son, Jesus Christ. Even as a boy twelve years of age, when His parents, Mary and Joseph, thought they had lost Him, Jesus asked, Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business (Luke 2: 49)? His Father’s loving pursuit passionately compelled the ministry of Jesus throughout His life. As His death was drawing near, Jesus stopped in the city of Jericho where He transformed the life of the chief tax collector, Zaccheus (Luke 19: 1-10). There, Jesus repeated His mission: For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19: 10). God’s mission through Christ is still to restore lost people and His broken creation.
When they were leaving Jericho, Mark 10: 32-34 and Luke 19: 28 reveal that Jesus was walking on ahead of them… walking resolutely to the place where He would be crucified. Imagine that! Three days later, Jesus rose again to provide Eternal Life for all who would believe (John 3: 16).
Ask Yourself: Can I imagine Jesus walking ahead? Do I understand the depth of God’s love as shown in these verses? Have I received God’s Gift of Eternal Life? If so, am I “on mission” to know and do my Father’s will?
Day 2 “Ascending to
A voice is calling, "Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God (Isaiah 40: 3).
Video of a Jericho Road Trip: See link HERE
Consider: What steep and challenging path are you walking today? Why are you on this path?
Ask Yourself: Am I walking the path on which God has placed me? Am I relying on His Spirit, my Helper and Comforter, to guide me along? See John 14: 15-17; 26-27.
Day 3 “You Will Find a Colt”
Jesus said, Go into the village opposite you, in which as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it, and bring it here (Luke 19: 30).
Our two meditations so far have focused on how purposeful Jesus was in setting out a long and difficult ascent to Jerusalem, the “city of God” on Mount Zion. Now we learn from the Scripture above that Jesus had already planned ahead for His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem. He had prearranged to borrow a colt on which to ride. When He asked His disciples to go bring the colt, Jesus, our Messiah, was fulfilling a prophecy from centuries before (Zechariah 9: 9). At the same time, Jesus reveals that He is a God of order, planning, and purpose. The God who planned and created the universe is the same God who revealed His plan from the beginning of human history to redeem us and restore all of His creation from the ravages of sin.
Consider: Have you realized that God is not only purposeful but that He knows the future and is now bringing about His plans and purposes just as He did on the first Palm Sunday?
Ask Yourself: Is my relationship with God such that I am assured of His love, plans, and purposes for my life? See God’s promise in Jeremiah 29: 11-13, For I know the plans that I have for you ….
Day 4 “The Lord Has Need of It”
And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it (Luke 19: 33-34).”
Consider: How wonderful and awesome is this God, Jehovah, Creator and Owner of the universe, that He “had need of a colt” for transportation? How humble and unrecognized was the kindness of the colt’s owner to have said “yes” to those who came to get the colt?
Ask Yourself: What current “need” might God be asking me to address, even “to the least of His brothers and sisters (Matthew 25: 40).” What gifts and abilities has God given me to share as His steward? See 1 Corinthians 4: 1-2.
Day 5 “Hosanna,” [or] ‘Save Us Now’
“Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD (Matthew 21: 9)
Ask Yourself: To what extent have I unwisely surrendered my hope in the rule of Christ to a hope and trust in political leaders? How do I decide between my allegiance to government and to God? (See Romans 13.)
Day 6 “He Saw the City and Wept”
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it… (Luke 19: 41)
This dramatic scene has Jesus pausing during the Palm Sunday procession as it descends from the Mount of Olives (Luke 19: 41-44). From here, Jesus and His followers were afforded a magnificent view of the city of Jerusalem. But shockingly, in the midst of the joyous procession in this beautiful setting, Jesus, seated on the donkey, weeps over the city. Earlier, at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, Jesus had wept quietly and shed tears (John 11: 35). But now, God the Son in all His humanity expresses His grief through audible sobbing. The “high drama” of this scene becomes evident when we realize that Jesus will soon present Himself in the city of God for all to see. On top of that, this first Palm Sunday is also “lamb selection day” when sacrificial lambs were customarily selected for sacrifices for sin as part of the Jewish Passover observance. Jesus, the Lamb of God now enters the city to offer Himself as God’s perfect sacrificial lamb. Each person must decide whether to receive Jesus, the Lamb of God, as their Messiah or to reject Him.
Day 7 “Who Is This?”
And when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, “Who is this?” And the multitudes were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21: 10).
How ironical and how sad that Jerusalem, the city of the Great King (Matthew 5: 35), was thrown into confusion by the entry of Jesus, the “King of the Jews,” riding in on a colt. This was not the first time the Jews and others failed to recognize who Jesus really was. Nor was it to be the last time. On Tuesday following His Palm Sunday entry, while Jesus was teaching in the temple, the Jewish leaders interrupted Him, saying: Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority (Luke 20: 2)? They still did not believe Jesus’s claim to be the Divine Son of God.
Consider: Jesus claimed to be One with God the Father: He said, I and the Father are one (John 10: 30). According to C.S. Lewis, anyone who would claim to be God is either a liar, or a lunatic, or who He said He is—the Lord God.
Ask Yourself: Who do I say Jesus is? Have I confused Him with my own caricature of who God is and what He expects of me? What do I need to do to know Him better? See John 15: 1-17.
How Will You Respond?
We hope the “Palm Sunday ponderings” have stimulated a deeper appreciation and reverence for Jesus Christ who did not waver from His mission to “seek and to save the lost.” We invite you to share a spiritual insight you have gained. Please click on the “Comments” link below to share or raise a question as the case may be. Or, you may write to us at email@example.com. Thank you for reading.