What events led up to Palm Sunday? The evening before, Jesus enjoyed a fine feast at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. This was the same Lazarus that Jesus had recently awakened from the sleep of death (John 12:1,2). There was a large crowd of Jews who came to see Jesus and to see the resurrected Lazarus – who was the living proof of Jesus’ miracle. Because of that miracle, many Jews believed in Jesus (John 12:9). This enraged the chief priests and Pharisees, and they devised a plan to kill Jesus as well as Lazarus (John 11:53, John 12:10,11).
The next day was Palm Sunday. Jerusalem would be crowded. Many were coming to celebrate Passover, but also to see Jesus. Jesus instructed His disciples saying, ”Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here,” Luke 19:30. Then our Lord entered Jerusalem seated on that colt – the customary entrance used by Israel’s kings.
People took palm branches (symbols of victory) as well as their outer garments and spread them on the road before Him. They hailed Him, shouting “Hosanna! (Oh save!) Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the king of Israel,” John 12:13. This was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9 “Behold your king is coming to you. He is just and endowed with salvation, humble and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt the foal of a donkey.” Thus, Jesus presented Himself to Israel as king.
However, as He approached nearer and could see the city, He wept. These tears were not for Himself, but for Israel. For its loss of what might have been had they accepted Him and over their coming destruction. While the enthusiastic crowds showed honor to him, Israel’s ultimate rejection of Him would mean their disfavor. Disfavor until the time when we are told they will say “Blessed is He that comes in the name of Jehovah,” Matthew 23:39. Then God’s favor and blessings will return to Israel and subsequently extend to all the families of the earth. “And so all Israel will be saved just as it is written ‘The deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. This is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins,’” Romans 11:26, 27.