Palm Sunday! Why Palm Leaves?

 Holy Week, the week of Easter we start with Palm Sunday. Can you picture standing in the streets of Jerusalem. You start to hear this yelling of crowd coming at you people rushing to see what’s going on. It’s Him! He you have heard so much about, This King of Israel, Jesus! You start to shout “Hosanna, Hosanna” You grab your coat off your back and lay it down in front of him you grab a Palm Branch and start to wave it in victory. What a triumphal entry one fit for a king!
  As we enter into the

 “The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written…” – John 12:12-14

     So let’s back up here. Every time I read this story over the years I always have the question, “why palm tree branches?” For starters I think it’s important to understand where the palm branches came from. This is in Jerusalem it’s a desert here, one of the driest pleases you can think of. Palm trees take a lot of water to grow and in this kind of environment require daily and detailed care to keep alive. Ever see a movie where the actor is stuck out in the desert with nothing out there. He walks and walks for miles and miles then to see a shape of something off in the distance. What is this thing, He starts to get closer and sees it getting larger and taller. After days of walking in the heat of the summer desert this actor is feeling sick with thirst, just one drop of water would mean to world, Life! And he sees it. Victory! It’s a Palm Tree. Where there is a palm tree there is water to drink.

   In the City of Jerusalem these trees where mostly potted in large pots. The kings men would take detailed care of these trees. Giving them fresh water helping them grow strong and healthy. These trees were statements of power, strength, and if still standing, victory after a battle. Every time the men would return after a battle palms would be planted and added to the kingdom in honor of the victory that was won. In ancient Greece a palm branch is awarded to athletes when they complete the games. This giving it a sign of competition.
  Something else I think we miss is they produce fruit. (Doesn’t this sound like something we have heard before.) No matter how old the tree gets it can grow a fruit and in this case is a date. These dates where used at the king’s table. Not all dates grown on these trees can be eaten but those that are, are taken and given to the king and his men. So what a honorable way to welcome the King of Kings, Lord of Lord! What a way to give the best and roll out the red carpet!


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