Holy Week + Palm Sunday

 On January 1, I announced a new blog series here at Joy Woven Deep. If you haven’t seen that post yet, I encourage you to check it out, then come on back and join in the journey.

Holy Week | Palm Sunday

What is the time span of the season? Holy Week is the final week of Lent, beginning with Palm Sunday, which is the Sunday prior to Easter. Holy days include:

Palm Sunday – March 20
Maundy Thursday – March 24
Good Friday – March 25
Holy Saturday –  March 26

What’s this week + holy day all about?
Holy Week marks the week of Christ’s journey toward the cross, beginning with The Triumphal Entry/Palm Sunday, which we observe today (and is recorded in Matthew 21). By riding into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, Jesus fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy recorded in Zechariah 9:9.

“The large company of pilgrims, mainly from Galilee, were acknowledging Jesus as a King by “spreading” their coats on “the road” before Him (cf. 2 Kings 9:13). Likewise, throwing small “branches from the trees” before Him symbolized the same thing (cf. 1 Macc. 13:51; 2 Macc. 10:7).

Rulers rode donkeys in Israel during times of peace (Judg. 5:10; 1 Kings 1:33). This was a sign of their humble service to the people. Warriors rode horses. Jesus was preparing to declare His messiahship by fulfilling this messianic prophecy. By coming in peace, He was extending grace rather than judgment to the city. He was coming as a servant now. He would return as a conquering King riding on a war horse later (cf. Rev. 19:11).

Jesus rode on the “colt” (a young male donkey), not on its mother, the donkey (Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30). It would have been remarkable that Jesus was able to control a presumably unbroken animal, moving through an excited crowd with an unfamiliar burden on its back. This was just one more demonstration that Jesus was the Messiah who was the master of nature (cf. 8:23-27; 14:22-32). Surely He could bring peace to Israel if He could calm the young colt (Isa. 11:1-10).”
– Dr. Tom Constable

What’s the history of this observance?
There are records of Palm Sunday observances taking place as early as the 4th century, marked by a procession and in the 8th century, a blessing of the palms. – Church Year

What’s it to me?
As Jesus rode in on the donkey, the crowd shouted, “Hosanna!, which means, “save us now!” This challenges me to consider what I demand of Him, to realize how often it is relief now, peace now, comfort now. Jesus has come to give relief and peace; He is the One, True Comfort, but I am so rarely willing to wait, to let my definitions be rewritten in His terms. Palm Sunday prompts my heart to recognize Who Jesus really is and what that means for my life, instead of demanding that He conform to my desires.

So, boil it down for me, would you?
Palm Sunday observes the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. The Jewish crowd seemed to recognize Him as King, as they laid their coats and palm branches in His pathway and called for Him to save them. The Triumphal Entry was a specific fulfillment of a messianic prophecy, a fulfillment which communicates loud and clear – Christ is King.

So, how could we observe it?

Read the Daily Office texts here or via this app.

Read the Lectionary texts.

Read & pray the “liturgy & litany” for Palm Sunday.

Join us for an 8-day journey through a simple devotional. Click to have Deep & Lowly: taking refuge in the Suffering Servant emailed to you.

Read Jerusalem Greer’s Holy Week ideas from last year (family friendly).

Download the Sacred Ordinary Days Essentials Workbook and grow in your understanding of Lent + Holy Week through the one page summary. Then use the workbook pages to reflect on the past season and reset for the remainder of the season of Lent.

Add touches of purple (reminds us of Christ’s painful death and His royalty) and red (reminds us of Jesus’ shedding of blood) to your home through decor, flowers or candles.

Consider the places in your life where you want Jesus’ rescue now, where patience and long-suffering seem so hard to come by. Ask Him to draw you to a place of deeper trust and awareness of His sympathy this week as you ponder His own journey of suffering.

For kids: Read this version of the account of the Triumphal Entry. Make a palm frond, or a donkey.

I would love for you to join the conversation. Would you add your voice to the conversation via blog post comments or on my new Facebook page and share your thoughts on these questions with us?

What are your ideas for observing Holy Week + Palm Sunday?

Which components of exploring liturgy and the Christian calendar are you thinking about this week?

Is this series serving you well? What are you enjoying? How could it improve?

From Him | Through Him | To Him,
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