Did you know that the tradition of palm branches on Palm Sunday actually originates with the Festival of Sukkot, also called the Festival of the Tabernacle or Booths? At this ancient celebration, which was probably the most popular among Jews in the first century, people would gather at the temple to raise palm branches and to pray for rain. As they lifted their boughs in the air, they would shout, “Hoshana, Hoshana, Hoshana,” which means “Lord, save us!” It’s not surprising, then, that this is how Jesus was greeted when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Because the people knew that this “Son of Man” was more than just another teacher, they were ready to see Him use His divine power to lead a revolution. Yet while many Jews cried out for Him to save them from the Romans, our Savior’s entry was only the beginning of His sacrifice for sin, because the work He came to do was more concerned with the state of hearts than with the state of the empire. While they wanted victory over their enemies, Jesus was inviting them to live a life of victory, triumph and peace that originated from within. When He went to the cross, He provided the only true way for human hearts to be set free.
My friend, rejoice in the One who paid the ultimate price to offer you the free gifts of peace, victory and eternal life! His sacrifice brought you into perfect union with your Heavenly Father, and now, you are His beloved child. Even if your situation doesn’t look victorious and you find yourself feeling defeated, because our Lord triumphed, so will you. You can wave your branches high, cry out to your deliverer, and know with certainty that He will hear and answer you. As long as there is breath in your lungs, He is not finished with you, and His power is at work to bring glory to His Name through your most difficult and trying circumstances. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and the perfecter of your faith, and you will prevail!