Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus’ entering Jerusalem to be crucified. We call it His Triumphal entry because the way He entered was very symbolic. It fulfilled Zacharias 9: 9
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The people along Jesus’ path did not miss the symbolism and they rejoiced with His appearance by waving palm branches and laying their coats and blankets on the road. They celebrated Him as their Messiah who would come to deliver them from the Roman Empire which oppressed them. They exalted Him as a new leader who would charge the rebellion that would liberate the people of Israel from the years of occupation and abuse. They saw Him as the earthly King to their earthly kingdom of their present. They saw Him as a political figure. I guess they missed the part where it said He was “righteous and humble.” Don’t they realize you cannot mix the concepts of politics, righteousness and humbleness together in one sentence?
So how can we say that this entry was triumphal if it ended with Jesus nailed to the cross?
It was triumphal because it foreshadowed Jesus’ entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. This was but a pale picture of the victory that Jesus accomplished on the cross and of the day He is crowned King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Jesus humble entry into Jerusalem is nothing but a poor reflection of His glorious entry into the New Jerusalem.
In His humble estate as a man, Jesus entered the Holy City to be slaughtered. He self-restricted the Word that speaks the universe into existence, and the power that sustains life so He could embrace His humanity and fulfill the Father’s plan. This is the triumph of this event. The Divine walking on Earth’s ground to save us, undeserving breed.
To add to the depth of such statement, He did not do it just for the nice, the good or the lovable. He did it for me too, the angry, the bitter, the unlovable…the sinner.
Therefore, the triumph of His accomplishment transfers also to us who receive Him. He overcomes the world so we can too.