The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord- the king of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written: “Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had written of him and had been done to him.
Let me tell you a story of a 12-year old girl growing up in a remote village in Pakistan. Back in her hometown, it was fun and joy for her to hold palm tree branches, waving them, singing songs and entering into church in procession on Palm Sunday.
She learnt in Sunday School that Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy week and people in Biblical times, laid down palm branches in Jesus’ path as he rode on a donkey into Jerusalem. He rode a donkey? Wait a minute! In her culture the donkey denotes foolishness while in ancient times the donkey was a symbol of peace and palm branches were seen as a symbol of victory. Hip, Hip, Hurray! Jesus rode on a donkey and people carried palm branches as a symbol of peace and the victory he was going to have over death through crucifixion.
As a child it was challenging to picture herself in Jesus’ time and find meaning in it. According to gospel writers, people laid palm branches and clothes at his feet to honor Him. Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prediction that people would recognize the King of Peace when he rode into the city, and they would lay palms at His feet. (Zechariah 9:9)
This Palm Sunday, I would like to leave a few questions with you on behalf of that little girl:
- Is Jesus in your Jerusalem?
- Are you exercising peace, humanity and kindness with your loved ones and with your neighbor as Jesus showed with His enemies?
Stop and Reflect:
What step do I need to take today?
Thank you Lord, for sending your son Jesus Christ to take away my sins. Help me to find out the meanings of my life through Jesus Christ, and help me to exercise His joy, humbleness, and peace not just with my words but also with my actions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Nazish Naseem has been a member of Presbyterian Church since birth. She currently serves as a Ruling Elder in New Covenant Presbyterian Church, Albany and a Candidate of Teaching Elder under care of Albany Presbytery. Nazish was raised in a committed Christian family in Pakistan. She earned a “Master of Divinity” from Pakistan and studied Theology from Taiwan. Presently, she is a Chaplain Resident at Albany Medical Center.
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