What do you think about Palm Sunday, not just as the Sunday before Christ’s resurrection, but as the day of Christ’s triumphal entry? The “palm” part comes from the palm branches laid on the road in front of Jesus (John 12:13). The Sunday part comes from the day of the week, sure. The entry part comes with Him entering Jerusalem. But, knowing what happened the following Friday, where do we get off calling it triumphal? I’ll give two reasons.
It performs triumphal prophecy. Matthew and John made that connection clear (Matthew 21:5; John 12:15) when they quoted Zechariah.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9, ESV)
The king of David (Mark 11:10) was promised as “one shepherd” over His people (Ezekiel 37:25-25), and here is the Righteous One (Acts 3:14).
It provides triumphal prophecy. On their way in, Jesus gave word to His disciples about what was going to happen.
“See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.” (Mark 10:33–34, ESV)
This is at least the third time Jesus foretold that He would be delivered over and that He would be raised (Mark 8:31; 9:31; and see Romans 4:25). He was in full control.
“No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” (John 10:18, ESV)
The crucifixion of the Lord of glory (1 Corinthians 2:8) and His resurrection is His triumph, and this Table is one of victory (1 Corinthians 15:54-55).
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57, ESV)