What is Palm Sunday?

Willow Creek | March 8, 2024

The Easter season can be full of phrases and vocabulary not everyone is familiar with, and Palm Sunday is often one of those phrases. So, what is Palm Sunday? Palm Sunday is an event that occurred the Sunday before Good Friday (the day Jesus would be crucified). In short, Palm Sunday was a celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem, where onlookers gathered palm branches and waved them, proclaiming “Hosanna” as Jesus entered the city riding on a donkey.  

What is Good Friday, and why do we celebrate it? Good Friday explained.

Some might be thinking: “Wait. What is Palm Sunday? I thought Jesus was disliked so much they killed him; why would people come out and celebrate His arrival into the city?” Jesus was well-known by many, and His reputation preceded Him. Jesus was the Messiah and Savior, so everyone expected Jesus to enter Jerusalem, then take it back as a king and warrior: they greeted Him as He entered the city, they laid down their cloaks for His donkey to walk on, they cut down palm branches and waved them (a symbol of victory at the time), and they shouted “Hosanna,” a phrase used to express joy (Matthew 21:8-11). 

Who is Jesus?


However, Jesus was not the type of king they expected: where they wanted Jesus to “take an eye for an eye,” He said, “forgive.” Where they wanted Jesus to condemn, He offered grace. Where they wanted Jesus to rule, He served. He ended up not being the king they wanted.


In fact, just days later, the same crowd that waved palm branches and yelled, “Hosanna” would raise their fists and yell, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22-23)


In short, what is Palm Sunday all about? It’s about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and we still celebrate Palm Sunday today, because without Jesus entering the city, He would not have been betrayed by Judas, arrested, crucified for our sins, and ultimately resurrected. His entry into Jerusalem would set all the aforementioned events into motion. 


In the Bible, you can find the Palm Sunday story here: Matthew 21:1-11

Want more on who Judas was? See here: Who betrayed Jesus? 

See all our information on Easter and why Christians celebrate the season here.

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