Palm Sunday
by John Paul Strain

Palm Sunday
Jerusalem, Israel
April - 32AD
It was a springtime Sunday in Jerusalem, and the city was crowded with people who had come to celebrate the annual Passover festival.  The word spread that the great Messiah, Jesus was approaching the city.  The people had heard about Jesus healing the sick and performing miracles.  Many had heard his teachings and knew this great Messiah was born of the lineage of King David.  Hope filled the air that the Messiah, the Savior God had promised to the Jewish people, had finally come and would free them from the Roman occupation. 
As Jesus the Messiah approached the city riding a simple donkey, (not a horse which was considered a weapon of war), the crowds lined the road to greet him waving palm branches.  The palm leaf was a sign of Israel, so waving it was like waving the Jewish national flag.  In ancient times, palm branches symbolized goodness and victory. They were often depicted on coins and important buildings.  King Solomon had palm branches carved into the walls and doors of the temple.
The crowds gave great honor to Jesus as their king, by placing cloaks, garments and palm branches on the dusty road.  They shouted and sang  "Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!   Hosanna!   Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord –  the King of Israel!”  Only a king would be greeted this way, and the people wanted Jesus to be their king.
Jesus knew his mission was almost finished, as he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem.   However the Savior knew the hardest part of his journey was just beginning.  He warned his disciples what was to come.  But Palm Sunday was a day that would be remembered and celebrated for the rest of time by the faithful.
Artist’s Note
In my depiction of the Savior after his momentous day in Jerusalem, I featured him wearing a blue sash.  According to ancient Rabbinic sages, blue is the color of God’s Glory, and gives us a glimpse of the “pavement of sapphire, like the very sky, for purity, and which is the likeness of the throne of God.”  Many sacred Jewish items were covered in blue cloth.  Even the Ark of the Covenant was covered with blue-violet cloth when transported from place to place.
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