Significance of Palm Sunday
Palm Sunday is a moveable Christian feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. The feast commemorates the biblical account of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all of the four canonical Gospels. As Christians mark the event on Sunday STELLA OBI reports on its significance to Christians and society’ as well as have it beckons, the Holy Week. She writes:
ON SUNDAY, followers of the Christian faith around the world will mark the Palm Sunday.
In the view of Bible scholars, it is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar and the day also marks the beginning of Holy Week, immediately proceeding the week of events leading to Jesus’ death and resurrection. Palm Sunday occurs during the Lenten season which began on Ash Wednesday.
Palm Sunday derives its name from the palm branches that were waved by the crowds of people strewn in the path of Jesus as he entered Jerusalem for the Passover riding a donkey.
According to Christian belief, Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem where people gave him a hero’s welcome during the Jewish Passover Celebration. They heard about his miracles and regarded him as the leader who would deliver them from Roman Empire’s domination. The people carried branches, which is a traditional symbol of victory and spread them throughout the streets before him.
Many western churches have observed palm blessings and distributions to the congregation on Palm Sunday since the middle ages. Early references to Palm Sunday observations including a process and blessing of palms go as far back as the fourth and eighth centuries.
At many Christian Palm Sunday church services, common traditions include processions with palm branches, the blessing of palms and the construction of small palm crosses.
Palm Sunday also known as Passion Sunday commemorates Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. It marks the beginning of Holy Week and always falls on the Sunday before Easter Sunday. Other names for Palm Sunday are Fig Sunday, Willow Sunday, Branch Sunday or Blossom Sunday.
As opined by Gospel experts, the Palm branches makes the Sunday unique.
Palm Sunday also ushers in the Holy Week’s Easter tritiuum which are Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Why is this Sunday significant to the Christian faith?
Pastor Tunde Oduola of the Redeem Christian Church of God , Ibadan, described it as a Sunday with a difference where palms leaves are used and this makes it very significant.
He said that the palm leaves connotes the name of the Sunday, adding that the moment one sees the symbol of palm branches in a church, it is either a Palm Sunday has taken place or it is about to come.
Continuing, Pastor Oduola informed that Palm Sunday is also affiliated to fasting and denial in a Christian faith.
Speaking on Palm Sunday, Founder of Living Seed Ministries Umuahia, Prophet Chisom Ekwonna, said the Sunday is called Palm Sunday because Jesus triumphantly entered into Jerusalem as the Messiah.
“During his visit there, people spread their cloaks as a sign of their subjection to Christ while others spread palm branches as a sign of joy and victory to mankind”, he stated.
Prophet Ekwonna said people shouted Hosanna ( a Hebrew word which means save) as a sign of praise, appreciation and honour to the Messiah.
He said Palm Sunday was unique because it is assumed to be an open door of salvation to Christian faith.
Commenting on Palm Sunday, Banas Abana of the Pentecostal denomination said it was a day Christians remember that Jesus went to Jerusalem.
He opined that the significance of the Palm is that any Christian is a king and a priest by virtue of the crucifixion and resurrection.
Speaking on the topic, Maureen Olatayo of the Catholic faith stated that Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter that begins the Holy Week.
According to her, it is the day that Christians remember and celebrate the day Jesus entered into Jerusalem as Savior and King. As Jesus rode a donkey into the town of Jerusalem, a large crowd gathered and laid palm branches and their cloaks across the road, giving Jesus royal treatment.
The hundreds of people shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Olatayo informed that Palm Sunday reminds Christians that Jesus, our King and Savior came to save us through His sacrificial death and resurrection.