by Taylor MacHenry
Palm Sunday, March 28, 2021—
On this day–PALM SUNDAY–in the approximate year of 32 AD, Jesus of Nazareth rode a donkey colt through a throng of people cheering His arrival in Jerusalem, laying palm fronds on the path, praising Him.
Jesus came here to die for all the sins of humanity, for all time. The Only Begotten Son of God, one of the Three Persons that is our One True God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, had come to fulfill the prophesies that foretold His persecution, unjust prosecution in a mockery of a trial, His death on the cross, not one bone being broken, and His resurrection on the third day, the first Easter Sunday. Since that day, Christians around the world have without fail celebrated the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, just as Christians worldwide will do next Sunday, April 4, 2021.
Christ gave His life in human form to save each of our eternal souls from damnation for our corruption and sin. By doing this, His Grace shields us from the wages of our sins, Jesus taking them on Himself. He saves us by our belief in Him: Our admission of sin and repentance of them, and our declaration of Christ Jesus as our Lord and Savior, thus for the rest of our lives following Him as we are born again of the Spirit.
Thus Scripture reads in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, Jesus’s dialogue with the Pharisee, Nicodemus, days before He would be tried:
John 3:5-8 (New King James Version)
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Thus on that first Palm Sunday, Jesus stopped on the hills outside Jerusalem, as His disciples went ahead, as prophecy had foretold, to find the donkey colt tied outside a stable, awaiting Him to ride into Jerusalem, Jesus knelt and wept. And He lamented:
Matthew 23:37-39 (New King James Version)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”
That last week of His human-form life, as the Son of Man, Jesus gathered throngs of people, preaching to them and teaching them His Truth. All the while, as He is One with the Father and the Father with Him, knowing all, Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray Him for 30 pieces of silver (believed to be 30 shekels, since it was the preferred silver for offerings at the Temple, nearly pure silver as opposed to the Roman Denarius made of 70 percent silver and other alloys). He would be taken into chains, mocked, tortured, scourged, then unjustly tried and crucified. Jesus knew how horrific, how painful and terrible, His suffering would be in His human body.
On the night of the Passover, when He had led His disciples near the Mount of Olives, Jesus was greatly filled with agony, knowing what would come. So, He stepped away from His disciples and told them to pray that they would not be led into temptation. However, they soon fell asleep.
Alone, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus dropped to His knees and wept as He spoke to the Father.
Beginning in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22, verse 41 (NKJV), Scripture reads: “…He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
After praying, Jesus returned to His disciples and found them asleep. So, he awakened them. Theses would be His last hours with them before He would be arrested and taken to be crucified.
Jesus’s disciples truly could not grasp the gravity of what was about to happen that night. They knew that our Lord, Jesus was troubled and it troubled them, since He had said that He would soon be gone from them. Yet the idea that they literally lived in the presence of God Himself in the form of human flesh was something far beyond their capacities of understanding.
On that night, before they had gone to the place near the Mount of Olives, where Jesus knew that He would be arrested, they had gathered with Him to eat the Passover meal, Christ’s Last Supper with them. That night as they reclined around the table, Jesus told them how He loved them. And told them that one of them would betray Him too, telling the traitor to hurry and get it done, His disciples oblivious to what He meant, except for Judas.
Jesus said to them that night at the table some of His most profound words of hope, promise and instruction not just for His disciples but for all who believe in Him then and today and tomorrow, until He returns and fulfills the rest of His promises to humanity.
From the Gospel of John, chapter 14 and chapter 15, verses 1 through 17 (Christian Standard Bible) the Scripture reads:
Gospel of John, Chapter 14–
THE WAY TO THE FATHER
1 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also. 4 You know the way to where I am going.”,
5 “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way?”
6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
JESUS REVEALS THE FATHER
8 “Lord,” said Philip, “show us the Father, and that’s enough for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been among you all this time and you do not know me, Philip? The one who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who lives in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Otherwise, believe because of the works themselves.
PRAYING IN JESUS’S NAME
12 “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.,
ANOTHER COUNSELOR PROMISED
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever. 17 He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you.
THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I am coming to you. 19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, you are in me, and I am in you. 21 The one who has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. And the one who loves me will be loved by my Father. I also will love him and will reveal myself to him.”
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it you’re going to reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”
23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 The one who doesn’t love me will not keep my words. The word that you hear is not mine but is from the Father who sent me.
25 “I have spoken these things to you while I remain with you. 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.
JESUS’S GIFT OF PEACE
27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful. 28 You have heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens so that when it does happen you may believe. 30 I will not talk with you much longer, because the ruler of the world is coming. He has no power over me., 31 On the contrary, so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do as the Father commanded me.
“Get up; let’s leave this place.”
From the room where Jesus and His disciples had gathered for the meal, they went out, walking to a place they knew near the Mount of Olives, in the garden called Gethsemane. As they walked, Jesus told them, as Scripture continues:
Gospel of John, Chapter 15–
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples.
9 “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
11 “I have told you these things so that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.
12 “This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master, is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.
17 “This is what I command you: Love one another.”
Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jn 14:1–15:17). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
©Copyright 2021 Charles W. Henderson