Day 40

Holy Week in Real Time: Palm Sunday

from the Lent 2016 reading plan

Luke 19:28-44, Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 118:25-29

BY Guest Writer

Text: Luke 19:28-44, Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 118:25-29

Today begins the portion of the church calendar commonly known as Holy Week.

In the coming days, we will slow our pace, walking through the events that took place between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Rather than offer personal, written responses to each day’s Scripture reading, we’ve asked our friend, Pastor Russ Ramsey, to provide a real-time summary of the week’s events. Our prayer is that this more descriptive approach will usher you into the narrative and allow space for you to fully engage the beauty and ache of Holy Week.

Take this week slowly and reverently. It is a somber time, but let us never forget: Sunday is coming.


The ride Jesus took into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was a moment vital to our salvation.

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, perched up on that colt on the Sunday before His crucifixion, it was the first time since raising Lazarus from the dead that He’d shown His face in the city. The story of Lazarus’ resurrection had circulated, so even those who only heard about it later regarded Jesus as something of a celebrity. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Him. John tells us that because they heard Jesus had raised Lazarus, they went out to meet Him and received Him like a King (John 12:12-18).

Jesus said Lazarus’ death would end in the faith of many and in the “glory of God—that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). But the glory He had in mind was even more magnificent than His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In fact, Jesus wasn’t referring to the glory the people gave Him at all. Lazarus’ resurrection would steel the resolve of the religious leaders to hand Jesus over to a death He would freely accept—a death He would ultimately conquer (John 11:45-53). That was the glory He meant.

This Sunday was the hour of Jerusalem’s visitation. Jesus loved this city. He wept over her because what the people wanted and what they needed were so far from one another (Luke 19:41-44). Jesus knew the full extent of the salvation these people required, and He also knew what it would cost. He knew salvation was unfolding before them in that very moment.

The punishment that would bring them peace was about to be laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:6).

Jesus knew the religious leaders would play a role in bringing this punishment to Him because they feared Rome more than they feared God. He knew they would be willing to kill one of their own if it meant preserving the privilege of worship that Caesar had granted (John 11:48-50).

And so it was that He rode on into the city and made His way to the temple while the people of Israel parted like a holy curtain torn, crying, “Hosanna!” which means, “Please, save us now” (Matthew 21:6-9).

As Jesus rode along, the people cried out to one another, “Your King is coming!” (Mark 11:10) and they praised His victory over Lazarus’ death (John 12:17-18). But the irony was that He wasn’t coming to claim His crown on account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. He was coming to claim it on account of His own.

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the King of Glory


Post Comments (30)

30 thoughts on "Holy Week in Real Time: Palm Sunday"

  1. Katie L. says:

    Every Palm Sunday, my heart breaks as I read that Jesus rode into the crowd in Jerusalem knowing that the people did not truly comprehend who He was. Only a mere 5 days later, these same people would turn their cries from “Hosanna!” to “Blasphemer!,” calling for His crucifixion…I can’t help but see a parallel to this scenario in my own life. When I feel helpless or in need, my cry is easily “Hosanna! Save me!” but when I am “busy” in my “own” life, I ignore His presence and fall into the same sin patterns as before, thereby continually nailing Jesus to His cross time and time again.

    At times like these, I am so thankful for Jesus who sees me in both circumstances and loves me unconditionally. Even when I rebel, ignore, and sin against Him, He is still there with his arms wide open to continually take me in, no questions asked.

    Forgive me for my ignorance, oh Lord, and keep me in the crowd that cried your praises on Palm Sunday, far away from the crowd that cried for your crucifixion on Good Friday.

    1. Joanna says:


    2. churchmouse says:

      Beautiful. Thank you

    3. Maria says:

      Amen! Thank you for wording that so beautifully, I feel the same way. So thankful for our Jesus who loves us no matter what and went to that cross willingly for us.

    4. Gabby says:

      That was beautifully written!

    5. Tiari says:


  2. Joanna says:

    I find myself weeping reading these passages. My faith has come full circle. It wasn’t until last year after Easter that I realized I wanted to understand and know the story of our king’s resurrection more deeply. As I picture our Divine Savior riding in on an animal as humble and lowly as a donkey, my heart is bursting at his strength, resolve, and unconditional love of Jerusalem and His people. Hosanna! He has saved us. He saves us every day.

    Thank you, SRT, for allowing me to know Jesus in all His glory.

  3. churchmouse says:

    Oops, thank you RUSS, not Russian. Sometimes I do not proof as well as I should!

  4. churchmouse says:

    So much packed in this devotion (thanks, Russ!). As I read Luke 19:41-44, I see how it applies to my own country… And how Jesus must weep. With the political tensions rising, I hear His voice “if you knew this day what would bring peace…” My heart is heavy.
    And on a more personal level, what do I fear more than I fear God? Thank you Russian for reminding me that the Jewish leaders indeed wanted to preserve their right to worship within the parameters set by the occupying Romans. The Jewish leaders had worked hard to negotiate permission for them to worship their God in their temple. They feared they would lose it all if they upset the Romans, if this Jesus upset the status quo they had worked so hard to achieve. What do I fear more than God? A job loss? A health crisis? A strained relationship? My children’s future? My fear reveals my lack of trust. It reveals what I am holding in my clenched fists, unwilling to let go. Let me fear you more this Palm Sunday, Lord! Let me trust you with my everything. Let me today in your great Love. Let me weep with You and walk with Youon the way to Calvary. Let me see what it cost You on that cross to set me free from the very things I fear. Let this Holy Week study help me unclench my fist and release all to You. From my tight fist to Your open nail – pierced hands. This week… This week, Lord.

    1. Creed says:

      Beautifully said Churchmouse. It’s as if you took the thoughts in my head and put them to words. I am excited to unpack the rest of this study. I have learned so much and grown so much through this study. Thank you SRT for putting this together!

      1. Russ Ramsey says:

        Thank you “She’s.” Working with and writing for the “She” side of things is an honor. So much respect for you all.

    2. Christina D. says:

      I agree with Creed and echo your thoughts exactly Churchmouse. The conviction and question of who/what I fear more than God has stopped me in my tracks this morning. Praying that the Lord will use this week to rend my heart. But Sunday is coming! Love you ladies!

    3. valerie says:

      well said churchmouse!
      thank you for sharing

    4. mrsperry says:

      Wow, Churchmouse! Your words spoke right to my heart after reading that deep scripture. What tarnished hearts we have, that we fear the very things He died for. But the beautiful thing is that His Grace saves us, day after day. God is SO good!

  5. SallyB says:

    Even as the people rejoiced I can feel the heart ache of Jesus as he approached the city.

  6. missycm says:

    Hosanna has always been kind of a mystery to me. I dug a little deeper this AM and found this short explanation from John Piper:

    Hope this helps!

    1. April L says:

      Thank you for providing the link to Piper’s website about the meaning of hosanna.

  7. Carie says:

    Year after year I see Palm Sunday as a celebration that starts Holy Week with proclaiming that Jesus is King. With that always being my focus, I have missed how broken Jesus was over Jerusalem and their lack of faith in Him as savior. I had never realized the prophecy He proclaimed over the city that they would face destruction. His burden for His people must have been so overwhelming as He approached them.

  8. Steph Card says:

    What an interesting perspective on the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus. Something new to encourage some deeper thinking. Thanks!!

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