with palm branches -a gesture reserved for only the most honored. It is a common custom in many lands in the ancient Near East to cover, in some way, the path of someone thought worthy of the highest honor.  In 2Kings 9:13, Jehu, son of Jehoshaphat, was treated this way also. The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and of victory, in Jewish tradition, and is treated in other parts of the Bible as such (e.g. Leviticus 23:40 and Revelation 7:9). Jesus was given this distinction as well.  They sang praises to Christ, including in those praises “Hosanna,” which means “save us now.” Immediately following this great time of celebration in the ministry of Jesus, he begins his journey to the cross.

The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.

Today in Jerusalem, massive crowds attend Palm Sunday celebrations. Starting from the Mount of Olives, participants walk down to the city waiving palm branches, while others re-create the crowd that greeted Christ as he entered Jerusalem.  At Zion Lutheran we customarily have the Sunday School children participate in a procession, during which bearers carry palm branches.  Recently we have also gone back to the Lutheran tradition of Palm Sunday Confirmation .