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What Is the Importance of the Triumphal Entry?

  • April Motl Contributor
  • 2022 11 Apr
What Is the Importance of the Triumphal Entry?

As He was going, they were spreading their coats on the road. As soon as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles which they had seen, shouting: BLESSED IS THE KING WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD; Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:36-38).

Jesus’ triumphal entry marks the beginning of Holy Week or Passion Week. Some of us might have childhood memories of waving palm branches in church and being permitted to whoop and cheer loudly for one usual moment. And while many of us sense the celebration in the day, the significance of it might be a little more obscure for us.

Here are three important factors to consider about Jesus’ Triumphal Entry.

1. It Fulfilled Prophesy and Reveled Jesus’ Identity

When Jesus rode into town, greeted by the crowds, this was no ordinary “Hey everyone, Jesus is here” welcome. He’d been greeted by plenty of crowds before, but this one He knew was different. Special. So, he sent the disciples to bring Him a donkey to make this arrival official.

In Zechariah 9:9, Jesus’ entrance was foretold:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

And the daughter of Jerusalem did shout in triumph, and her Savior did ride in, humble and mounted on a colt.

Choosing a donkey held symbolism for Jesus because, in those days, kings rode donkeys. He was coming into Jerusalem humbly but also showing His connection to Davidic royalty.

A donkey that had never been ridden reflected that He was accomplishing something that had never been done before. His reign would be unlike any other the people had known.

2. It Revealed the People’s Hearts Toward God

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

One moment the people greeted Jesus as a conquering King and acknowledged Him as their savior. Scripture records how they praised God joyfully with loud voices, shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.”

By shouting Hosanna, which means “Save Us!” they cried out for salvation to the One they knew could deliver them. But in a few short days, their fickle hearts would change. Jesus knew that when He lamented that His people would not gather to Him, despite His heart for them.

The crowds had excitement and passion, but it wasn’t for who Jesus was; it was for who they wanted Him to be.

Despite the words they confessed with their mouths, their hearts were far from Jesus. In a few short days, they would shout for the release of a criminal and beg instead for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Mingled in with the crowd’s fervor was another group of people bubbling over with emotions of a different kind. The religious leaders seethed with jealousy and rage at the attention and influence Jesus held on the people.

Jesus’ triumphal entry was an arrival where no one felt ambiguous about Him. They all felt strongly; however, few responded to Him rightly. Many were there because they wanted to see Jesus perform another miracle like He had when He recently raised Lazarus from the dead.

We are wise to consider how we might feel about Jesus, but perhaps we also might have molded a smaller Jesus in the picture of our minds that misses who He is and what He has come to do.

We might come to God just to watch Him turn another trick, to perform another miracle, instead of coming purely for Him and His presence.

3. It Revealed That People Change, but God Does Not

As a child, those Sundays of joyful shouting and palm waving always left me a bit confused. We celebrate and remember Jesus’ greeting by the crowds, while those same crowds turned their backs on Jesus a few days later. Worse than turning their backs, they demanded His death. It seemed sad to me, not celebratory.

As an adult, Palm Sunday is always a sober reminder of these truths. People are fickle. They change on a whim, and with them, the circumstances of our life. While there is a note of sadness when we acknowledge this, we are not left without hope.

Our Lord never changes! From the very first moment sin entered Creation, Jesus laid out a promise to come and rescue the world from the brokenness of sin:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Bible scholars agree this imagery prophesies the coming Messiah that would come through the woman, Mary.

While centuries and stories filled the moments between Adam and Eve’s first confession of sin to the moment Mary Magdalene realized Jesus had risen from the dead, just as He promised, God’s plan and promise never wavered.

The decades pulled back the mystery, veiling our understanding of His plan until God tore the veil in the Temple between us. Despite the misunderstandings people had about God, His character and Kingdom agenda never changed.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love (Micah 7:18).

This Palm Sunday and Holy Week, may we purify our hearts to love God for who He is and not what He can do for us.

For further reading:

Jesus' Triumphal Entry: The Bible Meaning of Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday Scriptures: Bible Verses on Jesus' Triumphal Entry

Why Did Jesus Ride a Donkey into Jerusalem? The Triumphal Entry

What Did Jesus Do Each Day during Holy Week?

What Is Palm Sunday and What Does it Have to Do with Easter?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Boonyachoat

April Motl is a pastor’s wife, homeschool mom, and women’s ministry director. When she’s not waist-deep in the joys and jobs of motherhood, being a wife, and serving at church, she writes and teaches for women. You can find more encouraging resources from April here and here