Hosanna: Palm Sunday – Don’t Fear the Valley

13 January 2023

4.1 MINS

A reflection on Jesus’ journey on Palm Sunday and how it represents our own spiritual lives and earthly pilgrimage to blessed union with God.

On what we now know as Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a young colt from Bethany to the temple. This account is given in Matthew 21:1-11 and Luke 19:28-44; the scripture is at the end of this article.

His journey on that day was an incredible prophetic statement about everything that was about to transpire. Let’s look at the journey Jesus took on that day.

We sang Hosanna to the Lord on Palm Sunday in church and it was a wonderful time of worship. The Lord reminded me of His complete journey and to reflect on what it meant.

Bethany

Jesus was staying in Bethany, which means house of figs, and it was the town where Lazarus was raised from the dead. The key understanding is that Jesus started in a place of fruitfulness and new life, which is where He normally lives.

This is a good place to be, but is also only the start of bigger things. We should always start from a place of peace, rest, and blessing.

Bethphage

He asked the disciples to get a young colt from the next town, Bethphage, meaning house of unripe figs.  We see that this represents Jesus’ humility, as He is lowering Himself as a man on earth to be our Saviour.

The photo above shows a donkey in Israel. The photo was taken on the road to Jericho.  Jesus was humble, and this is how He entered the Holy City. He did not ride a great white steed or wear kingly robes, but came in humility to show us God’s love.

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is, of course, where Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, will soon return.  This is where the people cried out, “Hosanna in the Highest”. This symbolically speaks of Jesus’ ultimate triumph and His eternal reign. This is also a place where we worship Him as our Lord.

The people of the day were expecting someone to rid them of the Romans and allow Israel to stand as a free people; they missed the greater eternal issue of Jesus dealing with our sin once and for all.

This is the place and time we look forward to. It is a place of celebration and declaring final victory. But we also look at the journey to achieve this victory.

Looking down from the Mount of Olives.

Down into the Kidron Valley and through the Garden of Gethsemane

The next part of our Lord’s journey was to descend into the Kidron Valley and pass through the Garden of Gethsemane. This speaks of passing through the valley of the shadow of death. It is also where Jesus prayed in agony, sweating blood on the night He was betrayed. Jesus knew what was coming, but still, He pressed on.

We need to recognise that sometimes we do pass through the valley of the shadow of death. We all face major issues from time to time. But, as we read John 16:33, we know we will come through in triumph. Our ability to overcome is based 100% on His grace.

This is a place of holy consecration where we pray, “Not my will but Thine.” We must not fear the valley or the garden, but recognise we are transformed through these experiences to be more like the Lord.

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

East or Golden Gate, a.k.a. Mercy Gate

The Mercy Gate is critical in Jesus’ journey. We refer to Psalm 24:1-10 and ask the question, “Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place?” The answer is Jesus!

This gate represents both His mercy for us and His resurrection and His ascension. We see that Jesus has left the travails of the Garden of Gethsemane and now goes forward to His full purpose and destiny.

Mercy Gate

Mercy Gate

The Temple

This is the place from which Jesus will rule and reign! It is a consecrated and holy place, representing the manifest presence of God. It is easy to see that this is where we all end up.

This is symbolically both Jesus’ and our final destination, our final place of rest and also our eternal purpose of ruling and reigning with Him.

Palm Sunday - Model of the East Gate and Herod’s Temple

Model of the East Gate and Herod’s Temple

Understanding

It is good for us to reflect on Jesus’ journey on Palm Sunday. I have only briefly covered the elements of His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.

Please take some time to reflect on what the Lord has done for us and how this journey showed what was to come (and is still coming).

Scripture

The Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1)

1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:

5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ”

6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:

“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!”

10 And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?”

11 So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.”

___

Originally published at Ruach haKodesh Ministries. All photos © Kym Farnik.

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One Comment

  1. Kim Beazley 13 January 2023 at 11:11 am - Reply

    “We need to recognise that sometimes we do pass through the valley of the shadow of death.”

    For the past several months I’ve been meditating on Psalm 23 through the lens of spiritual warfare. Whether we’re experiencing “green pastures…beside quiet waters” and “paths of righteousness” or “the valley of the shadow of death”, He is with us. And regardless of which they both lead to the place where He “prepare[s] a table before me in the presence of my enemies”, where those enemies are bound and forced to watch God’s abundant favour lavished on us.

    And this is what Jesus modelled for us, as your excellent article outlines beautifully. He goes from “the valley of the shadow of death” to His Father’s throne, the table prepared for Him, all of which He performed as our Forerunner.

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