二○一九年四月十三日／四月十四日 Click here for English version
在受苦節前的一個主日，傳統上稱為「棕樹主日」（Palm Sunday），是受難週（或稱「聖週」，Holy Week）的開始。
From Palm Sunday to the Final Victory
Rev Pun Kin Tong
The Sunday before Good Friday, traditionally known as Palm Sunday, marks the start of Passion Week, or Holy Week.
According to the Bible, when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the great crowd took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! … Blessed is the king of Israel!" (John 12:13) Palm branches stand for victory, and Jesus entered Jerusalem as king, on a donkey. In the old days, the kings returned to their cities in triumph on horses, but Jesus' entry on a donkey fulfilled the Old Testament prophesy: "Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9). The crowd at that time might have got news that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and thought Jesus must be the awaited Messiah.
Ironically, the crowd made an about-turn a few days later. This time, they wanted Jesus crucified. Nevertheless, such contradiction only arose from human limitations and weaknesses. It was not because Jesus is not king or the Messiah. Above Jesus' head on the cross, they placed the written charge against him: "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews" (Matthew 27:37). Pontius Pilate, who conducted the trial of Jesus, also asked Him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me" (John 18:37).
As such, the Palm Sunday message is this: The Lord of Truth is prepared to suffer for our sake. He is the real king. And His will be the ultimate triumph. Victory as signified by palm branches appears again later in the Book of Revelation:
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'" (Revelation 7:9-10)
The week from Palm Sunday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday forms the climax of the salvation story. We need to reflect on the Jesus Christ' precious redemption and, through seasonal gatherings, commemorate His sacrificial love and victorious glory. Meanwhile, if the celestial worship in Revelation is to be the blueprint of our worship today, then the palm branches must be a mark of eternal victory.
Symbolically, palm branches reveal the hope of victory, which will always motivate us in worship and encourage advancement in our lives. Redemption through Jesus Christ is accomplished. Let us re-visit the history of salvation and the heart and mind of Christ on His way to the cross. After all, the Bible has recorded all of this to help us depend on the One sitting at the right hand of God – the risen Lord who intercedes on our behalf.