Palm-Passion Sunday: A New Heart
by Todd Crouch
Published on April 2, 2023

Palm-Passion Sunday: A New Heart

by Todd Crouch

“The crowds going ahead of him and those following him, shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” Matthew 21:9

Palm Sunday or as is it is often called “Palm-Passion Sunday” is the last Sunday of the Lenten Season. The name “Palm-Passion” marries the entrance of Jesus into the Hoy city and at the adulation of the assembled multitude and then later that very week that same crowds demand to have Jesus crucified. This observance unites the Season of Lent and Holy Week leading up to the Crucifixion event celebrated on Good Friday and the Resurrection event celebrated on Easter Sunday.

When Jesus made his entrance in to the Holy City of Jerusalem, sometimes called the “Triumphant Entry”.  A rather large crowd had gathered in jubilant expectation at Jesus’ coming, the crowd was so large that St. John recorded that the Pharisees resentfully remarked that “the world is gone after him”.

On the Road to Jerusalem

The Passover Pilgrims which had come to Jerusalem for the Spring Holy Day season had heard that Jesus was on the way and would make an appearance. Word had been spreading about Jesus for years now, his power and his words, and of recent Jesus was said to have raised a man, Lazarus of Bethany, from the dead. It was their hope that the King of Israel, the Messiah was now come.

The throng lined the roadway which lead from the village of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives near the Holy City waiting in expectation for Jesus’ coming. 

When they approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives” Matthew 21:1a

 Jesus had sent two disciples to find a donkey and a colt which they brought to their Master. After mounting the donkey, an action which had great significance in the  culture of the day, for in Israel, the Kings rode donkey not horses an action which the assembled crowed would have understood. 

go into the village opposite you, and immediately find a donkey tied there and a colt with her, untie them and bring them to me(2a)

By doing this , Jesus fulfills the prophetic word given through the Prophet Zechariah

Behold your King comes to you, gentle and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden” (5)

Jesus sets off upon the road to Jerusalem riding upon the donkey. The jubilant multitude spread their garments and palm branches on the road before him as Jesus came. Waving their arms holding palm branches in the air crying out in joy, giving their adulation and adoration to Jesus at his coming.

Most of the crowd spread their garments in the road .others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road” (8)

Hosanna

As Jesus proceeded to the gate of the  Holy City, the cry of “Hosanna!”, which literally means “save us now” or “save now”, is lifted up into the air by the collective voice of those assembled as they walk before him.

“The crowds going ahead of him and those following him, shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (9)

The people now believe that their time has come in the person of Jesus, it was their expectation that the prophecies in the scared writing were about to be fulfilled and that they, individually and collectively, would share in them. All of this they would gladly receive from Jesus. They believed that from this moment forward they would receive only blessings from their King.

The Palm

They were glad to receive Jesus as their King and sought so much from him. The people were there along the way waving the Palm branches giving him praise and adulation at what they had hoped to receive from Jesus, “Hosanna!” “Save us now”!

The people there were not looking to truly give praise to Jesus for who he is, but rather, for what he would and could do for them

They were glad to receive a King who served their needs and wants, they were moved by the spectacle of his entrance, the power that many of them had witnessed firsthand, they were moved by the great  crowd, and the singing; they held the Palms in their hands and waved them about; the kingdom was now. They shouted for joy the prophesied Messiah had come! The blessings were now theirs.

The Passion

What the crowds gave to Jesus that day was what we might call “Conditional Adulation”, this means, as long as Jesus gave them what they wanted, they would in-turn give him praise.

 This “Conditional Adulation” however would be very short lived. When Jesus came into the Holy City he did almost nothing that the people had hoped he would. Jesus did not ascend the throne in the manner in which they had hoped. He did not expel the Roman oppressors from their land. Jesus did not redistribute wealth and land or hand out titles to them. Jesus did the opposite in many respects. 

The people, then found themselves with profound disappointment in and with their Messiah. Jesus had not lived up to their expectations. Jesus had not given them what they wanted. Roman stilled ruled over them, in their minds nothing had changed.

Many from the joyous crowd who, had walked along with Jesus waving the Palms and singing and shouting upon his coming into their lives that day, were found among the mob who were persuaded by the religious establishment to turn on Jesus later that very same week and shouted for his crucifixion after Jesus’ arrest and hearing before the Roman Governor Pilate. Even when presented a choice between Jesus and the criminal Barabbas they chose the criminal.Matthew 27:16-21

The mob cried out to Pilate “Crucify him” “Crucify him” (22 & 23)

St. Matthew tells us that this was not a small group who heeded the words of the religious establishment but many. “and all the people said” (25a).  This is how they chose to reacted when Jesus did not live up to their collective wants, they turned on the him and delivered him to his Passion.

When Jesus came to the Holy City that Sunday morning centuries ago, his entrance exposed in the Jewish people , and in all people,  a deep seated problem. They wanted only to have a Messiah who catered to their whims and desires and demands . They wanted to wave the Palm and when Jesus would not accommodate them they delivered him over his to the Passion of the cross.

The Crowd and Mob

Jesus knew that was the case far in advance of his coming. Jesus understood and still understands the fickle nature of the human hear, so conditional is our adulation.

When Jesus comes into our lives, we often receive him with great adulation, we cry out in praise and worship, we wave the Palm and shout “Hosanna!” we seek the greatest blessings which his Kingdom can bestow upon us, yet when the anticipated blessing are not disposed to us we find our natural inclination can be like the crowd of Jerusalem who praised Jesus Sunday yet cursed him Friday.

One moment we are in the crowd then we are in the mob! This is true because the crowd and mob reside in our hearts and Jesus exposed it within us.

For as the writer of the Hebrews Epistle wrote: “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edge sword, piercing both joints and marrow, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” Hebrews 4:11

Jesus is that living active word of God who understand the human heart.

Jesus’ coming into our lives exposes this weakness of the human heart, which is common among us all. Jesus’ entrance that revealed this duplicitous nature in us all and demonstrates the need for the Passion that followed.

A New Heart

Jesus came however to not just reveal our duplicitous natures, but through himself he might deliver us from them, setting us free with a new heart. The Prophet Ezekiel wrote about the work Christ which transforms, not just Israel, but all who will but freely receive it.

“I will give them an undivided heart and put my Spirit within them” Ezekiel 11:19

This new “undivided heart” is that we might have a “sound mind” and be always focused and trusting of our Lord, his Spirit drives the vacillating “crowd and mob” from us, leaving us to be able to stand and praise our God in the Person of His Holy Son Jesus.

Palm-Passion Sunday, far from being a day of condemnation of human heart, it is a joyous celebration of the saving work of Jesus, through his Passion that we might rejoice and give praise to his name, that we might with one heart shout “Hosanna! Blessed is he comes in the name of the Lord”.

Benediction: May we each and all ever give praise and honor and shout “Hosanna” to our Lord Jesus , with Palm, because of his Passion, today, tomorrow and forevermore. Amen.

Todd Crouch is Currently the Pastor of the Topinabee Community Church, in Topinabee, MI. He Was the Long Time Host of The Fountain of Life Broadcast, which was aired and on RKP Radio in Washington, PA and streamed around the world. He is a Fourth Degree Master Rank Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and is a certified Tae Kwon Do instructor of Moke’s Martial Arts—Asian American Martial Arts Alliance. Todd studied Theology and Pastoral Ministry at Grace Communion Seminary. He is also a student of Church History, the America Civil War and Scottish History. He and his wife love to travel and the beach. They live in the Straits Area of Michigan. View Todd’s complete profile

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