April 14, 2019 – Palm Sunday

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


John 12: 12-13:  “On the next day (5 days before Passover), a great crowd of the caravan pilgrims who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.  They took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord.”


Matt. 21: 9b:  “”Hosanna to the son of David; Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”      


This year at the Passover Feast, Jesus will be offered as God’s Lamb in accordance with the High Priest’s announcement.


He proclaims in Jerusalem at the Temple that through his death and resurrection, he will cast out Satan as the prince of the world into the realm of the power of the air. (Jn. 12:31; Eph. 2:2)


Jesus is thronged about by the residents of the city.  The word is flashed that Jesus’ party is approaching.  The city is almost emptied as the crowds rush forth.  This time Jesus doesn’t spurn the attempt to make Him King.  And it has a magical effect on the Galileans, whom He before refused.  Excitement fills the air.  The people are filled with tumultuous joy.  It seems that none but Mary (who anointed him with the ointment in the alabaster box) suspected He was coming as the sacrificial Lamb for this Passover.


The road from Bethany into the city was lined with date palms, regarded from ancient times as the emblem of Israel.  Luke mentions the strewing of the branches before Him, but John reports the people’s shouting.  The Hosannas (“Deliver now!”).  It is now the 10th of the Jewish month of Nisan and the Passover Lamb was to be “kept up until the 14th day of the same month.”  And the whole congregation is to kill it in the evening.   Jesus will die on schedule.


Luke 19:29: It came to pass, when he was near to Beth phage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples.


Jesus approaches Jerusalem from Jericho.  He reached Bethany on the east side of the Mount of Olives.  Deeming that the time was now ripe for Him publicly to confess His Messiahship, he decided to do so by an act  prophesied by Zechariah 9:9 which related to Himself.  Instead of entering Jerusalem on foot, as was the custom in the case of pilgrims, He resolved to enter mounted on a colt, and one, which had never previously been ridden. 


There is a pause in the procession as two of Jesus’ disciples are dispatched to a village by the name Beth phage, in order to fetch a donkey and its colt.    The disciples without questioning him went and did as Jesus commanded them.   On the sole plea to the owners, The Lord has need of them. They brought the donkey and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set Jesus thereon.  (Mat. 21:4-7).


John 12:14:  Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat thereon, as it is written:


Mt. 21:2-7:  Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them,Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you shall find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them to Me.  If any may say anything to you, say, The Lord has need of them; and immediately he will send them.’  All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek, and sitting upon a donkey, and a colt the foal of a donkey.”


The meek and lowly Jesus is coming as King to His own Zion.  He is mounted on the animal which the old princes, prophets, rulers and judges of Israel rode upon at rare and public occasions.  Horses were used in the chariots of war; donkeys were used as symbols of peace.


Even today, donkeys are not despised animals in Eastern countries which they often are with us. 


Jesus’ use of the donkey was a witness that, despite popular opinion, it was not as a warrior that He would fulfill His Messianic office.  He is riding into Jerusalem in royal majesty. 


He is declaring to the Jews; to the forthcoming Church; and to all future generations of people that he is the Son of God and the Great Messiah.  He is standing in who God says He is and who He was sent to the earth to be.  We must all do this regardless whether anyone else accepts who Christ says we are.


A prophetic moment has arrived.  Jesus said He would come.  Daniel told when (even to the day).  Zachariah told how, even to the colt of the donkey.


We can see the comparisons in the course of His life on earth:  The contrast between majesty and lowliness:  “The Child born,” the “Son given,” “Immanuel God with us” ---God yet our Brother, our Brother, yet God.  When He came into the world, it was an infant of days, a helpless babe in a lowly cradle; yet at the time of birth, a mystic star, the symbol of royalty and choirs of angels descended to Bethlehem’s valley.  At His baptism in Jordan, he came as a humble Galilean; lo the heaven’s opened, and an audible voice attests His Deity.  The Samaritan woman declares the weary traveler to be the Messiah.  He wept as a man for Lazarus and in the next moment, he rebuked death.  At the cross, he heard the mocking of scorners, yet nature awakes to resent the insult, and to vindicate His dishonored glory, the sun puts on robes of sackcloth, and the earth heaves as if it trembled to support the Cross on which its expiring Creator hung. 


By one creative mandate, the Mount of Olives might easily have been made, like the mountain at Dothan, as seen by the servant of Elisha, full of horses and chariots to grace the triumph of a greater than “Solomon in all his glory.”  


But as the humble Nazarene, who had a borrowed cradle at his birth, and is soon to have a borrowed grave---He rides into Jerusalem as a King on a borrowed donkey and its colt.


 Jesus’ ministry suddenly shifts.  No longer does he avoid public acclaim; no longer does He refuse to be identified as Messiah.  But even his disciples fail to see prophecy converging that day.  Once again they were swept up in the fervor of king-fever!     


Jn. 12: 17-19:   This amazing reception was brought about by the testimonies of the crowd which had been with Jesus when he called Lazarus from the tomb, raising him out of death.  The people who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his grave, and raised him from the dead, bare record.  For this cause the people met Him, for they heard He had done this miracle.   Consequently when the Pharisees saw all this, they began remarking to one another---See?  We’re not getting any where!  The whole world is running after Him!


From this point on, He must reveal who the true Paschal Lamb really is.  All the sacrifices of the Old Covenant are only a type and shadow of the true Lamb of God.


In a few days, he is to be stripped of robe and mantle and to be nailed to a cross of shame.  He permits mantles to be spread in homage on His royal pathway.  He allows the crowd to shout His royal welcome.


Genesis 49:11:  Binding his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes.”


An improvised saddle was laid on it on which Jesus sat.  As a token of homage to Jesus, the people put their clothes on the donkey for a saddle.  Their cloaks and palm branches (Jn. 12:13) were spread on the road before Him.   As I was preaching this in 2017, it was revealed to me that the Holy Spirit moved on the multitude releasing the acclamation that Jesus is the King of Israel.


This acclamation is described in 1 Kings 9:13 when Jehu was anointed by Elijah as King of Israel.  The people spread their coats on the stair well before him.  So the people very well knew this homage was only shown to people who had been anointed as a King.  Jehu is a type of the government of the Kingdom of God.  The Father has anointed King Jesus victorious over the religious/political/harlot systems of the world.


Two of the gospels describe the palm trees as leafy branches.  However, John identifies the trees as Palm trees.


The Palm tree throughout the Bible is a symbol of victory.  In the Old Testament there were Palms, Willows, Myrtles and Olive branches used in worship.   The Willows of the brook were prominent in worship and sprigs of willows were placed on the altar of sacrifice at the Feast of Tabernacles under the Old Covenant.   I always mention the Willows because the LORD continues to bless us to worship at the Willow Fork Country Club.  (Lev. 23:40)


 Rev. 7:9 “After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying Salvation to our God which sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.”


  1. Palm---symbol of victory.
  2. Willow---symbol of sacrifice and worship after suffering (weeping).
  3. Myrtle---symbol of joy.
  4. Olive---symbol of anointing.


Mt. 21: 9-10:  The multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David; blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  When he came into Jerusalem, all the city was moved saying, Who is this?”


Hosanna means “Save—we pray”.  The people’s cry at the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem was taken from Psalm 118, which was recited at Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles in the great Hallel (Hey-lehl) (Ps. 113-118).  The song was sung in response to the priest waving Palm and Willow branches.


The last day of the feast was called “the great Hosanna”; the boughs were also called “Hosannas”.


Let us join our Hosannas with the Hosannas on that first Palm Sunday and the Hosannas of the great multitude before the throne.   "High praise is like rare frankincense, costly and more desirable unto the King. With it is mixed the myrrh of the pain and sorrows that have afflicted us in times of darkness and desolation. Not until we have descended into the depths of self-death and devastation can we be projected into the heights of heaven. Our cries are resolved into shouts of the highest praise." (Frances Metcalfe) Church let us raise a Hosanna to the LORD and join with the Hosannas of Heaven.


Psalm 118 reveals the One exalted as the Chief cornerstone.  It was Jesus’ Farewell Hymn with His disciples as he left the Passover on His way to Gethsemane and Calvary. (Mt. 26:30).  It embodies a prediction of His rejection.


118:22-23:  The stone which the builders refused has become the head stone of the corner.  This is the Lord’s dong; it is marvelous in our eyes.


That the multitude would choose to worship Jesus with this song is prophetic.  It is the Song of Perfect Victory.  It was undoubtedly arranged to be sung by a triumphal procession as it made its way to the temple for thanksgiving and worship.  This is pre-eminently the triumph song of Jesus Christ, the ideal Servant, the perfect Priest, the King-leader of the people.


118:15-16:  The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly.  The right hand of the Lord is exalted;…


Verses 19-27 describe a victor’s welcome:


Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord; This gate of the Lord, into which the righteous shall enter.  I will praise You; for you have heard me, and have become my salvation.


Verse 25:  Save Now (Hosanna), I beseech You,… O Lord; send now prosperity.


The crowds rightly identified the coming of the promised kingdom with the coming of the promised King.  He who should come was a standard title by which the Messiah was denoted (Mt. 11:3).


With true majesty, the Son of David moves on toward His Passion.  It is Luke only who records the request of the Pharisees for Jesus to silence the crowds who acclaim Him as the Messiah.  His reply is if they are silenced the very stones would cry out. 


19: 40-41:  He answered and said to them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.  And when he came near, he beheld the city, and wept over it saying, If you had known, even you at least in this your day, the things which belong to your peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.  For the days shall come upon you, that your enemies shall cast a trench about you, and compass you round and keep you in on every side.  And shall lay you even with the ground, and your children within you; and they shall not leave in you one stone upon another; because you knew not the time of your visitation.


Even though there was an order to arrest him by the Sanhedrin, Jesus continues every day teaching at the temple.  He was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the gospel; proclaiming the good news under the very shadow of the Cross.  The Jewish leaders would love to silence Him.  The people are hanging onto his words.  They are the words of life.


He again cleansed the temple protesting against the commercialization of the Temple worship.  The Pharisees have certainly not given up.  The wheel has come full circle.   Our Lord’s public ministry began with conflict with the Pharisees because of His claims to unique authority and now closes in a further series of conflicts on the same subject.


So the attack begins.  They come with an apparent guileless request for a statement from Him on the source of His authority for what He does.  Instead of a direct reply, he puts a question to them.


Luke 20: 2-5:  The scribes and the elders spoke to Him, saying, Tell us by what authority do You these things? Or who gave you this authority?  He answered and said to them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer Me: The baptism of John was it from heaven, or of men?  They reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, from heaven; He will say, Why then did you not believe him?  If we say, of men; all the people will stone us; for they are persuaded that John was a prophet.  They answered they could not tell from where it was.  Jesus said to them, neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


Kings succeed or fail according to their relationship to the Heavenly throne, and their response to the Word of the Lord as it flows through anointed ministries established and appointed by the Lord’s authority.


The Throne and Kingdom of God is seen immovable in the midst of the changing throne (governments) of man.


Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Leaders come and go.  Those scribes and elders who challenged Jesus---no one remembers their names.   Christ is alive and always present.  In the midst of changing times, scenes and ideas, He stands like a rock---for He is changeless.



12: 21-22:  Now among those who had come to Jerusalem to worship during the feast, were some Gentiles,   God-fearing Greeks.  They approached Philip who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request, “Sir” they said, “We would like to see Jesus.”  Philip consulted with Andrew and the two of them then went to Jesus with the request. 


From all the furious events, which took place in Jerusalem on Monday and Tuesday, this is the one John selects.  The scene occurs in the temple area after Jesus has again driven out the money changers and cattle auctioneers.  Likely he is still near the court of the Gentiles, when the Greeks approach Phillip.  The air is a little tense. The songs and shouts of Sunday have turned to bitter controversy and suspicion.  Tact is needed should Jesus be seen talking with Gentiles!  These Greeks, who share the Messianic hope, were eager to confirm their faith by talking with the Lord.   John records the request because it occasioned the great words of Jesus which followed.


12: 23-24:   Then Jesus replied, “The time has now come for the Son of Man to be glorified.   In all truth I tell you; a grain of wheat will forever remain a grain of wheat unless it falls into the ground and dies.  But if it does then it will bring forth a harvest of many more grains.”


Jesus answers the Greeks by addressing His disciples in their hearing.   The Jews merely tolerated the converted Greeks. He answers with a miracle of nature well-suited to their philosophical ears.  It was His custom to answer the Jews with their own Scriptures.  He is prophesying to the Greeks his death.  Yet He sees beyond His death.  The glory of a seed is the abundance it produces after it dies.  Thus Jesus is speaking beyond His death to picture His own glory as a harvest of souls!


Jesus has been in death row for 3-1/2 years.  The cross is now 48 hours away.  He has known exalted moments.   The King of Glory’s soul is troubled.  He will soon have laid on Him the iniquity of us all!  What is His alternative?  Ask for exemption!  Cancel the cross!  Unthinkable!  That’s why He came.  John, who omits the garden scene, gives us this little Gethsemane.  The experience of Gethsemane was more than a garden to Jesus.  It was the whole road to Calvary.  Yet the alternative is even worse.  For unless Jesus died for us, God would remain an isolated grain of wheat forever!


(Verses 18, 29, 30)  Father, glorify your name.  Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.  Thereupon the multitude which stood there listening declared that it had thundered.  But some of them said, An Angel has spoken to Him! This voice, explained Jesus, came not because of me but for your sakes.


Instead of a reprieve, Jesus asks the Father to proceed with the redemption plan.  God replies, I will.  The people hear Him.  When God speaks through a man, He uses that man’s vocal chords.   When he speaks through nature, He uses nature’s vocal chords---thunder. 


Here are three depths of hearing:


  1. Articulate Voice of God heard by Jesus and His disciples.
  2. The ring of angelic words, by those who had ears to hear.
  3. Inarticulate thunderings by the masses.


When God says, I have glorified it, He likely refers to the progressive revelation of Himself through ancient Israel and the Ministry of Jesus Christ   When He said I will glorify it, He is speaking of the Church as well as all power in Heaven, in earth and under the earth has been given to Jesus Christ.


 Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Eastgate Ministries, Inc.


Scripture from K.J.V. Text source, F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary

HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST - Palm Sunday, April 1, 2012, The Year of our Lord – Carolyn Sissom.  

JOHN – CHAPTER 12 – Jesus Casts Out the Prince of the World.  Carolyn Sissom 3/9/2008 and 6/20/17.

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