In the days when Jesus lived, many people wore a garment called a cloak. It was a loose outer garment similar to what we call a cape. It provided them protection against the harsh winds and blowing sand in the desert. It also provided protection from the hot desert sun. There were also lots of Palm trees growing in the area because of the dessert. In our Bible lesson today from Matthew 21: 1-11, we will see a very unusual way the people used their cloaks and the branches from the palm trees to honor Jesus.
Jesus and His Disciples were walking toward Jerusalem and had stopped near a small village called Bethphage. Jesus sent two of His Disciples to go on ahead into the village. He told them that when they got there, they would find a donkey and her colt which they were to bring back to Him. Of course, the Disciples were a bit concerned because they imagined that these animals might belong to someone who might not appreciate having their animals taken. Jesus simply told them, “Tell them that the Lord needs them, and they will let you have them.” So the two Disciples went into town and sure enough, there was a donkey and her baby. They grabbed them, and as they were leaving, someone asked why they were taking the animals. They answered, “It is for the Lord.” The people let them take them just as Jesus had said they would. When they arrived back, the Disciples took their cloaks and put them on the donkey to make a nice soft seat for Jesus. Jesus got on the donkey and headed toward Jerusalem.
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, a very large crowd gathered to welcome Him. Some of them spread their cloaks on the road for Jesus to ride on, while others cut branches from the palm trees and spread them on the road or waved them for Jesus. Why would they do that? They were treating Jesus like a king! The Bible tells us that the crowd went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The people greeted Jesus as a King that day. Today, Jesus wants to be your King — and He will be if you will allow Him to come into your heart and guide your life. Jesus, comes and creates in us a new heart. This Sunday is called Palm Sunday because the people all waved their palm branches and welcomed Jesus as the King that He is. Let’s welcome Him into our hearts with praise and honor too.
Let’s pray together. Dear Jesus, on this Palm Sunday, we honor You just as they did on that day so many years ago. You are the King of our hearts and lives. Thank you for being here with us. We praise you Lord! Amen.
Ann Moody is pastor of Wilkesville First Presbyterian Church.