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Teachable Moment

the Teachable Moment

What Is the Meaning of Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday falls a week before Easter Sunday – April 10 this year. When he was 30 years old, Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Jew, began teaching his practical interpretation of the Jewish scriptures in synagogues and on hillsides. He taught for only three years, and his down-to-earth teachings had become very popular with many of the common Jewish people. On the Sunday before his death the following Friday, Jesus and his disciples traveled to Jerusalem for the annual Jewish holiday of Passover, which celebrates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is called Palm Sunday because, as Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the Jewish crowds who had heard him teaching welcomed him by waving palm branches in the air and cheering.

However, Jesus had angered the Jewish religious leaders in the Sanhedrin by questioning their severe interpretation of God’s “law” and their unscrupulous use of power. But most of all, they hated Jesus because he claimed to be equal to God, which they considered blasphemy.

Under Roman rule, the Sanhedrin could not punish Jesus so they accused Jesus of being a political threat inciting the Jewish people to rebellion against Rome. Jesus was questioned by the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, who then sent him to the Tetrarch of neighboring Galilee, Herod Antipas, who was visiting Jerusalem at the time. Neither found Jesus guilty of breaking Roman law. They tried to release him, but the Sanhedrin stirred up the crowds in Jerusalem to demand Jesus’s death. According to most sources, Jesus was crucified by the Romans mainly to keep the peace in Jerusalem.

Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44, and John 12:12-19.

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