As a child, I just liked waving the palms high over my head while singing with the rest of the kids that once a year song, “There’s a Palm”. Some of you may recognize the lyrics: “There’s a palm, there’s a palm, there’s a palm for you and me hallelujah…” These plants were just great to play with. Tapping your pew neighbor on the head with a palm, was a requirement to get the full holiday experience.
On Palm Sunday (some refer to it as “Passion Sunday”), starts the beginning of Holy Week, which ends on Easter Sunday. Christians celebrate the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection.
Joyful crowds welcomed him by waving palm branches. The onlookers also covered the path before him with palm branches. Some were mistakenly viewing him as a leader who would overthrow the Roman government. In many denominations globally, a palm branch is given to parishioners to reenact Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. We see this again at the end of the Bible (Rev. 7:9) where people from every nation raise palm branches to honor him.
In biblical times, palm branches symbolized goodness and victory. You could find them on coins and on the sides of important buildings. Solomon had palm branches carved into the walls and doors of the temple (1 Kings 6:29).
As Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, he traveled through the Eastern Gate (or Golden Gate). This is the oldest of city gates and is positioned at the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Interesting fact: The gate has been sealed for almost twelve centuries and will reopen upon Christ’s return. (Ezekiel 44:1-2)