Palm Sunday 2020
Palm Sunday as recorded in the Gospel of Luke 19:28-44 [ESV]
And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'”
So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them,”Why are you untying the colt?” And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road.
As he was drawing near– already on the way down the Mount of Olives – the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying,”Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying,”Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
Fear & Coronavirus
Today, Palm Sunday 2020, we are self-quarantined as most of the world does it’s best to avoid contracting COVID-19 during the Coronavirus pandemic. There hasn’t been a world-wide disease this frightening since the Spanish Flu of 1918. The Spanish Flu pandemic lasted about 2 years. We still don’t know how long the Coronavirus pandemic will last. It has certainly focused most peoples’ attention on the important things of life.The start of Holy Week 2020 is covered with the shadow of fear for most people. They are worried that someone in their families – or even themselves – will contract COVID19 and die.
Most of us are familiar with the big events that would happen during that week leading up to Jesus’ arrest (in the Garden of Gethsamane), the Passion (His torture), Jesus’ Crucifixion & Resurrection.
But were you aware that these things were prophesied in the Old Testament?
I believe this is relevant to consider because of what we are experiencing in our lives today. Why? Because many people see what’s going on in the world around us and talking about the things prophesied in the Bible about the end of the time.
“Is what we are experiencing signs of the end of the world?”
This is a question on the lips of many. But today’s message is NOT about whether or not the events of today – the extremely high number & frequency of earthquakes, the pandemic, hordes of locusts, etc – indicate that we are facing the end of the world.
The goal of today’s message is to give you hope no matter how near the end of the world might be.
In the midst of this fear we have great hope! Jesus is still alive and His promise to those who choose to believe in Him are still in effect. And Jesus always keeps His promises!
The original Palm Sunday
I’d like to point out a few things in the account of that first Palm Sunday as recorded in Luke’s Gospel which you read at the beginning of this article.
In verses 37-40, the Pharisees – some of the hypocritical religious leaders in Jerusalem – told Jesus that He should rebuke His disciples. This was because Jesus’ disciples – all of them, not just the 12 Apostles – were singing that Jesus was the Messiah who was prophesied to come to Israel. The Pharisees did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
Jesus’ answer is great! He said:
“I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Don’t you wish that for just 30 seconds every single one of Jesus’ disciples had decided to be silent? It would have been awesome to see the Pharisees’ reactions on hearing the stones cry out the same thing that the disciples had been singing!
Bible Prophecies of Palm Sunday
Oh, you don’t believe that would have happened? Why not? Jesus is God and God cannot lie. I hope you believe that. I say this because it’s important for those of us who are Christians to believe the words spoken by God. He has said many things to mankind. He has made sure that we have a written record of the things He wants us to know of what He said.
Some of what He has recorded for us in the Bible are prophecies. Prophecy always seems to intrigue people. Some disregard it. Some accept it. Others – most people in western culture – just don’t know & want to see proof.
I encourage you to follow along in your Bibles. You will find the books listed in the table of contents. The first number refers to the chapter. The numbers after the colon refer to the verses.
For instance the book of Zechariah, chapter 9, verse 9 is written like this: Zechariah 9:9
There are several Bible prophecies about Palm Sunday. Today I will only share two of them. The first is from Zechariah. It speaks specifically about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, and the reason for His coming.
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday is called the Triumphal Entry.
Zechariah 9:9, is the most obviously stated prophecy about Palm Sunday.
This prophecy was given about 500 years before Jesus’ birth!
We know this from the historical events recorded in Zechariah.
Now I’d like to share with you one of the most amazing prophecies recorded in Scripture about Jesus entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.
Remember Daniel, who was thrown into a den of lions and survived?
He also wrote a prophecy about Palm Sunday.
Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
The entire prophecy is included in Daniel 9:24-27. It spans many years. This part of the prophecy – verse 25 – specifically has to do with the prophesied Messiah’s coming into Jerusalem.
The prophecy refers to a “command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.”
At that time, Jerusalem, had been destroyed. The Jewish people had been taken captive by the Babylonians. Daniel was in Babylon when he received this prophecy from the angel, Gabriel.
The command referred to is very specific. For this prophecy to be accurate the command must concern the city of Jerusalem specifically.
Next the prophecy refers to “Messiah the Prince.”
The phrase “Messiah the Prince” is a translation of the Hebrew words, Meshiach Nagid. So this prince is also a king.
Lastly for our study today, the word “weeks” in this passage is the Hebrew word shabuwa which means “week of years.”
1 shabuwa = 7 years, just like 1 decade = 10 years. Same concept.
With this knowledge we see that this part of Daniel’s prophecy refers to a period of 69 weeks of years.
7 (years) x 69 (weeks of years) = 483 years.
In Daniel’s time a year consisted of 360 days, not 365 1/4 days like our year.
We use a solar calendar. Daniel was in Babylon. They used a lunar calendar.
Using this knowledge we calculate by multiplying 360 days x 483 years.
The answer is 173,880 days. Keep this number in your mind for later.
Back to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday!
Jesus presents Himself as Messiah
During Jesus’ ministry there were several occasions written in the Gospel of John, where we are told that Jesus’ “hour had not yet come.” [John 2:4; John 7: 6, 8; John 8:20]
Then, one day – Palm Sunday – He deliberately arranged things so that He would enter Jerusalem just as the prophecy of Zechariah foretold the Messiah would come.
In case you might be thinking that Jesus did NOT present Himself as king, re-read the words of the people who were cheering when Jesus arrived on the donkey; re-read the words of the hypocritical Pharisees. They felt that the people were blaspheming in proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah the King. But Jesus endorsed it!
But if Jesus is the Messiah – which He is – and if Daniel’s prophecy is accurate – which it is – then Jesus must have entered Jerusalem as the Messiah exactly 173,880 days from the date that a commandment was given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.
The question is, did this happen?
There were several commands given in history which permitted the Jews to rebuild their Temple. The Temple had been in Jerusalem, so we must be careful to determine which command is referred to here in Daniel 9:25. The command that concerns this prophecy must specifically order the restoration and rebuilding of Jerusalem.
The commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem was given by the historical figure, Artaxerxes Longimanus on March 14, 445 B.C. The emphasis in the verse on “the street” and “the wall” at then end of Daniel 9:25, was to avoid confusion with other earlier mandates confined to rebuilding the Temple.
Remember the date March 14, 445 B.C.
The Scotland Yard / Christian Police Connection
Sir Robert Anderson, was the second Assistant Crime Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, from 1888 to 1901. This was Scotland Yard. He was also an intelligence officer, theologian and writer. Anderson was a devout Christian.
The Criminal Investigation Department was then just starting the investigation into the Jack the Ripper murders. Anderson thought these crimes were grossly over-sensationalized. The press hasn’t changed!
Anderson put his police detective skills to use in researching this very prophecy we are reading today. It was his investigative nature that led to the math we looked at above. You can get a copy of the book he wrote about it called The Coming Prince.
By considering the number of days per year used in the Babylonian Calendar, then adding 173,880 days to the date of March 14, 445 B.C., and accounting for leap years, Anderson’s calculations bring us to April 6, 32 A.D.
Is that date significant? Yes. It’s the day of the original Palm Sunday.
Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled to the exact day!
In this we see that we can trust God’s word on events before they come to pass. Therefore we can trust God’s word on things that have already transpired.
God’s word tells us that 7 days after Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, Jesus then rose from the dead. Next Sunday we will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
That is where our hope lies – that Jesus truly rose from the dead.
Whether the things going on around us in the world today are indicators that the end of the world is nearing or not (I believe it is), isn’t as important as where we will go once our last day on this earth arrives.
God’s word is clear about how to be sure that your soul gets to heaven.
Romans 10:9 “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
If you aren’t sure exactly what that means please contact me at:
In His Hands,
Pastor Fran Pultro