Palm Sunday

We celebrate Palm Sunday every year as the beginning of Easter Week. Some of our societies have special festival services with palm branches or even a live donkey on scene. And some families put on a special family dinner for Palm Sunday.

When you read the accounts of the Triumphal Entry in the gospels, though, you can realize pretty quickly that the celebration of Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem was, for the most part, based on a significant misunderstanding of His purpose for coming into this world.

We know now why the Lord was born into this world. It is a point of faith in the broader Christian world and in New Church teachings that Jesus walked around in this natural world for spiritual reasons. The beginning of True Christian Religion puts it this way: “The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to subjugate the hells and to glorify His Human.” Gaining control over the hells secured the spiritual freedom of humanity, and one way to think of the Lord’s glorification is that it was a spiritual system update or a connection upgrade, one for which the Lord had been preparing the human mind ever since the beginning.

The Jewish people of that time, though, had no interest in spiritual upgrades; they were looking for a natural king of the lineage of David to gather the Israelites, kick out the Romans, and re-establish the glory of Jehovah’s chosen people.

On Sunday, they hailed Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, and hope probably grew in their hearts as they heard anecdotes of the cleansing of the temple. Then Monday came and went with no rebellion. Tuesday also came and went with no uprising. On Wednesday, the Romans were still in control. By Thursday and Friday, that hope and expectation of a warrior king turned to disappointment and even anger.

So, is Palm Sunday just a celebration of a big misunderstanding and misguided expectations?

Yes, it is. That first Palm Sunday was a big misunderstanding of the Lord’s intentions.

And also, no, it’s not. Our Palm Sunday of today is the celebration that it was supposed to be when Jesus rode that donkey into Jerusalem. The Lord’s entry is really about us allowing the Lord into our hearts by getting ourselves out of the way. We can actually be as full of hope and joy as those people with their palms when we say “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”