Week 1: Palm Sunday

This is the first blog post to help us prepare for Easter Sunday.  Many churches celebrate Lent leading up to Easter, and that has already begun.  This is an important time to prepare our hearts to reflect on the true meaning of Easter –Jesus giving His life for the salvation of men.  Jesus is THE Lamb of God.  The information in these blogs is summarized from my book “The Lamb Eternal.”  If you want to learn more about what I am posting here, you can purchase my book through the link on my website (www.drchris.co) or through Amazon.  All Scriptures are NKJV unless otherwise noted.

Where does the story of Easter begin?  It begins before time began, in God’s eternal pastRevelation 13:8 states that Jesus is “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  This means He always has been THE Lamb.  Before God created man, Jesus was “THE Lamb.”  Even before He created man, God knew that man would fail and that He needed a plan to redeem mankind.  We will study about the end of Jesus’ life – Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday.

Jesus is “The Passover Lamb.”  But what is Passover?  The first Passover was just before Moses led the Israelites out of their bondage in Egypt, towards the Promised Land.  Pharaoh would not let God’s people leave Egypt, even when God sent a series of plagues.  God had one final plague to send upon them – the death of the first male children in the Egyptian households.  God had protected the Israelites children from all of the plagues, and He would do the same for this last one.  This protection from the final plague was called the “Passover.” 

The Israelites took the blood of lambs and put it on the doorposts (and the crossbar over the doorposts) of their dwellings.  Death overshadowed the land that night but passed over the homes of the Israelites who put the lamb’s blood on their doorposts.  Death “passed over” their homes and spared their eldest sons.  That is where the name “Passover” comes from.  This was their blood covering and foreshadowed what Jesus would do for mankind on Calvary.  That night, the firstborn of the Egyptians households was killed and eventually Pharoah let the Israelites leave Egypt.  They crossed the Red Sea after God parted the waters, and Pharoah then had a change of heart.  His armies went out after the Israelites, and those armies were drowned in the sea when God had safely let the Israelites cross and put the waters back into place.  Please read Exodus Chapter 12 for the full understanding. 

God told them also that Passover was an everlasting ordinance, which means it is to be kept as a Feast of the Lord.  The Jewish people today still remain faithful in celebrating Passover.  Christians should celebrate it too because it is a Feast Day of the Lord and is not just for the Jewish people. 

Let us turn to Jesus’ day and what we know as Palm Sunday.  When Jesus was before the Jewish people during the final Passover timeframe of His life on earth, the people did not recognize Him.  That timeframe started on what we know as Palm Sunday.  For the Jews in Jesus’ Day, it was Lamb Selection Day.  It commemorated the day the Israelites selected their lambs that would be slain on Passover.  Jesus came before them as THE Lamb, and they did not recognize Him.

The time of Jesus’ announcement of being the Messiah (which He did on that Palm Sunday) and His death was prophesied in Daniel 9:25-26 – about 500 years in advance.  This is in what we know as the “70 weeks of Daniel” prophecy.

This prophecy sets forth a starting time (when the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem).  It says that the Anointed One (Jesus) would “come” (that is be announced as the Messiah) and be killed at the ending time of the sixty-two sets of seven (years).  It also explains that after this, Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed, which occurred in 70 A.D.  This is the reason why Jesus wept on the Mount of Olives on Palm Sunday.  He knew that they missed the time of their visitation and received Him not.  He knew the destruction of the city and the Temple that lie ahead.

In this following passage from the Book of Daniel, God spoke through Daniel to tell him when the Messiah would be announced.  It is calculated in years – seven sets of seven years and sixty-two sets of seven years.  It gives the starting date and then can be calculated.

Now listen and understand!  Seven sets of seven plus sixty–two sets of sevenwill pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes.  Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses,despite the perilous times.  After this period of sixty-two sets of seven,the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. (Daniel 9:25–26 NLT; author’s emphasis)

Please read Chapter 4 (specifically pages 64-68) in my book “The Lamb Eternal” for a detailed explanation of this prophecy.  But it points to the exact day when the Messiah would be made known — and then states He would be killed.  If the Jews, who thought they were true students of Scripture, had studied what this prophecy meant, they would have known the EXACT day ahead of time when the Messiah would “come” – be announced to them – and then He would die for them.  Then it says the city and Temple would be destroyed.  There is so much in these two verses – but they did not figure it out.  It is when Jesus presented Himself as the Messiah. 

It was prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 which says that He will come to them, riding on a donkey’s colt.  Scripture they had studied also told them this other fact that also pointed to Jesus being the Messiah.

Rejoice, O people of Zion!

Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!

Look, your King is coming to you.

He is righteous and victorious,

yet He is humble, riding on a donkey —

riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zechariah 9:9; author’s emphasis)

If the religious men of that day were the well-learned men of God that they said they were, they would have calculated the date of the Messiah’s announcement to the world, and figured out who Jesus was.  But they did not.

Palm Sunday was actually “lamb selection” day.  It was the day that the Jews found their lamb that would be offered for their family at the Passover sacrifice.  After they selected the lamb, they tied it up by their house so that they would become close to it and love it.  When the lamb would be sacrificed on Passover, it would have heartfelt meaning to them.  On that Palm Sunday, THE real Lamb of God came before them, but they did not recognize Him.  They missed the time of their visitation. 

Do not miss the time of the visitation of God in your life.  Remember Palm Sunday, which for us is the start of Holy Week.