Categories: Sermons

Meditate On This: Palm Sunday

In John 12, Jesus is invited to a dinner at the home of Lazarus. Mary and Martha are there, along with Jesus’ disciples. At this dinner, Mary does something that changes the tone of the meal. She takes nard, an expensive perfume, and begins to pour it on Jesus. The reader is then informed that she does this to prepare Jesus for death. I think that John includes this story at this point because the journey that Jesus is about to embark upon requires preparation.

The text quickly moves to the very next day, where Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem. The crowds who were in town for the Passover learn that Jesus is there and begin to crowd the streets and grab palm branches along the way. It’s easy to overlook this, but these branches meant something to these people. They symbolized hope and victory. Palm branches were such a symbol of Israel’s past that they even printed them on coins. As Jesus enters, they shout, “Hosanna!” which translates to, “God give us salvation, now.”

It’s easy to read this text because we know the ending, but they believed their new earthly king was before them. The messiah who would overthrow the Romans, who would defeat their oppressors, was finally here. However, they were celebrating a victory that had not yet happened and one that they didn’t fully understand. Jesus did not come to conquer their cities, but their hearts.

There are so many teaching applications that can be found in John 12, but the one that continues to pierce my heart is that it is preparing our hearts to celebrate Easter. This week, take time to reflect and prepare for the celebration that is before us. On Sunday, we celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That, friends, is a celebration that we need to be prepared for.