Today is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter. It marks the beginning of Passion Week and all that is remembered and celebrated. However, let’s go back in time to the first Palm Sunday and remember what actually happened on that memorable day in Jerusalem.
“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”’ The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”
~Matthew 21: 1a, 6-9
This remarkable event is known as the Triumphal Entry. Jesus was entering Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, but instead of walking in, He fulfills prophesy by riding in on a young donkey. And along the path to Jerusalem, crowds gathered and began giving Jesus honor and praise.
This could be considered the pinnacle of Jesus’ ministry. Crowds were following Him, they were acknowledging His divine importance publicly, and they seemed to be wholly devoted to Him. However, where were these same people just days later? What happened to “Hosanna, hosanna!” when another crowd started crying “Crucify, crucify!”?
Over on the “Here I Am to Worship” section of this blog this week, we discussed a powerful worship song called “Unbroken Praise.” The bridge of this song is a heartfelt prayer and should become our daily cry as we follow the Lord. It states: “So let my deeds outrun my words, and let my life outweigh my songs.”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we say. Our actions reveal the depth of our faith and devotion. The crowd on Palm Sunday had all the right words, and even the right actions, in the moment. They worshipped the Savior and seemingly paid Him honor. But by the end of the week, it was obvious that their praise was empty.
Leap forward over two thousand years, and here we are. It’s Palm Sunday again. As we head off to church this morning, are we going to lift our hands and sing out empty praise? Or are we going to worship our Savior and Lord in Spirit and in truth?
Remember, it doesn’t really matter what our mouths say unless we follow up with action and a well-lived life. We can say all the right things and go through the motions of following Jesus, but unless we’re willing and have fully committed our lives and surrendered our hearts, it’s just empty praise.
Let’s not give our Savior and King—who gave so much for us—empty praise this Palm Sunday. Let’s lift our hands and shout our praises, but also give Him our lives in complete devotion and surrender. That is what Jesus ultimately wants. The songs are nice. The waving palm branches are okay. But a life transformed and completely surrendered is why He came.
So let’s give Jesus—our Savior, Redeemer, and King—true worship this Sunday.
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