ON PALM SUNDAY Christians annually commemorate Jesus’ last entry into Jerusalem. As described in Mark 11, after Jesus had sent his disciples to bring him a colt, they put blankets on the animal, and Jesus sat upon it. While Jesus entered Jerusalem on the colt, people put their cloaks and leafy branches on the path before him. Then they shouted “Hosanna!” and quoted the words from Psalm 118:26: Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, he sent a strong message to the religious authorities and to the inhabitants and pilgrims of that city. Like him, they were aware of the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, which said, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem! Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, humble and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” By choosing to ride on a colt into Jerusalem, Jesus was fulfilling a prophecy, and it was not surprising that people picked up on the imagery. Immediately they started to quote the Book of Psalms, seeing him as King David’s representative.
On that day of Jesus’ last entry into Jerusalem, people spread their cloaks and leafy branches on the ground. People shouted, “Hosanna!” and saw in Jesus the fulfillment of prophecy; he was the one who was coming in the name of David. Within five days, however, the cheers had subsided. His followers had abandoned him, and he was crucified.
Jesus had entered Jerusalem as a king. On the cross on which he was crucified was a sign that proclaimed him as King of the Jews” (John 19:19). Only later, however, would his kingship be fully understood.