Malankara World

Passion Week (Holy Week)

Palm Sunday (Hosanna)

Palm Sunday Devotional Thoughts

by Rev. Fr. Jose Daniel Paitel, USA, Malankara World Board Member

Gospel: St. John 12: 12-19

Palm Sunday is the day of the beginning day of the Holy Passion Week. Contrary to the Passion Week today, it is the day of celebration with flowers and palm leaves. Children love today as a day kept in their evergreen memory. Royal visitation to the Holy Temple is an important event during the brief Nazarene history of Jesus Christ. Palm Sunday is the day of the magnificent journey of Jesus Christ. A massive crowd accompanying Jesus Christ, raising the slogans of Hosanna, the spreading of their own scarves and shawls on the way He walked, and the holding and waving of palm leaves and showering of flowers, enjoyment of the children following Him raising Hosanna slogans, etc. are best suited for the occasion. But an exception is the donkey ride of Jesus Christ. Rest of all other pre requisites for a royal procession is adjoined in a fair decent fashion.

John 12:14-15 Jesus obtained a donkey and sat on it, as Scripture says: "Don't be afraid, people of Zion! Your king is coming. He is riding on a donkey's colt."

Certainly it was a mystery in the history of Jesus Christ that why He chose a donkey for His ride. He often walked or used a ferry boat for a far distance. He was able to hire a Horse or pick another possible alternative. Using a donkey for His ride is incredible. He is renowned as a miracle healer and a Rabbi holding honorable position from the general populace. Even though He always reflects himself, as the son of God, he disregarded those who murmured against His sacredness, forming out of the trip on an unclean Donkey to the Holy temple of God. There were certain norms and restrictions prevalent for those worshippers going to the Temple of God for an offering of any kind. Nobody is able to break the same. Because; according to the scriptures, donkey is an unclean animal. Jesus the witness of the cannon law is more than aware about it. Then why He decided to send His disciples to a far distant intersection to obtain a donkey might be discarded by its masters. He has an excuse of a prophecy foretold about it.

Zachariah 9: 9 writes,

The Lord Sends His King
Rejoice with all your heart, people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, people of Jerusalem!
Look! Your King is coming to you:
He is righteous and victorious.
He is humble and rides on a donkey,
on a colt, a young pack animal.

Everything Jesus Christ did had a purpose and was meaningful. There was an impermeable reason for His every action. These were deeply entrenched in the scriptures. Some of them were mystical, some of them were obvious to naked eye and some were retro historical. There was a prophetical importance for his commands. He cannot dissuade himself from His ultimate noble goal and He extends His guidance to that goal. He fashioned everything under His perception and motivation regarding His heavenly father. So raising more questions in this respect also is meaningful. But diving deep into the scriptures is the only possibility to determine the relative significance of the actions concerned. As we immerse further deep into the subject, the purpose and meaning behind what He did may bubble out of it.

According to the scriptures, animals are divided into two categories: clean and unclean. According to the Law of Moses, there are certain restrictions to be followed for the physical use of the first born of a clean and unclean animal.

Exodus 34: 19. "Every first male offspring is mine, even the firstborn males of all your livestock, whether cattle, sheep, or goats.

According to Exodus 34:19, the First offspring born out of the womb of any clean animal must be sacrificed before the table of tabernacle. That could not be owned or used further by its owner for any physical use. That is according to the covenant bounded to the entire Israelites, and given to Moses on the day of the massive slaughter of the first born on the night of Passover from Egypt. God almighty redeemed all the first born cattle and animals of the Israelites from that massive slaughter. No harm of any kind has been happened to their cattle and animals. In commemoration to the redemption, Israelites are bound by law to observe the sacrifice of their first born in the tabernacle. The first born among the human beings are exempted from the prescribed sacrifice because they must be redeemed by sacrificing a Lamb. Instead of a sacrifice of the first-born human being, God adopted a tribe for His service. Levites became separated for the priesthood as a result of this adoption. But the first born of the unclean animals are not permitted or eligible for the same kind of sacrifice.

Exodus 34:20 It will cost you a sheep or a goat to buy back the firstborn donkey. If you don't buy it back, then you must break the donkey's neck. You must buy back every firstborn of your sons. "No one may come into my presence without an offering.

First born Donkey has a canonical restriction for its physical eligibility. It will be redeemed by a lamb. If any of those animals are not redeemed, they are neither allowed nor used to work physically. If the owner of that unredeemed animal is not capable of spending for a sacrifice, that animal should be killed by breaking its neck. The donkey is an unclean animal and that should be killed by the breaking of its neck. In such a circumstance, the masters might abandon such animals instead of killing them. That will be killed later because of the ongoing cruelties against this orphaned animal.

Unless it was saved by a reliable master, the destiny of this animal will be fatal. Jesus Christ, the savior of mankind and redeemer of human race, extended His mercy on this meek unclean animal. He saved that animal from a merciless fatal slaughter. Likewise He extended His mercy on our human race. We were born unclean from the womb of our mothers. We were born of an inheritance of Adamic sin. Jesus Christ is the only Lamb who can redeem us from our destiny. He is the only Lamb ascended from heaven for our sake. We were bought back by the eternal sacrifice of that heavenly Lamb. We were born unclean in the eyes of our creator and God. We lost our heavenly abode and are earnestly waiting to return to our salvation. We were ousted from our paternal dwelling and house of mercy because of our sins. Our disobedience made us a burden of satanic bondage. We were waiting for our savior. Unless a lamb is sacrificed for us we were not able to be saved.

He sacrificed himself on the cross, as a lamb sacrificed instead of Isaac, son of Abraham, on the mount Moriah. He was crucified for us. Through His crucifixion He saved each and every one of us. After His crucifixion, we are not burdened with the fear of death. We are not abandoned like the donkey which He chose for his ride. Since we are called by Jesus and paid by Him, we enjoy the victory of salvation.

Our Salvation is a gift that we are indebted to our Heavenly Father. A precious sacrifice was offered against our sins. The Lamb sacrificed for our sins is the only begotten son of God. He is the one sitting beside with His heavenly Father. He sacrificed himself on the cross. He descended from his eternal position with his father, the Almighty God. He left His heavenly abode for the sake of our sins. He redeemed us by His precious blood. He freed us from an unending heavy bondage. He saved us from a merciless death. He raised us from the unending fire and grinding of the teeth. The wrath of our generation is removed from us by the precious sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. He gave us a new birth of salvation by removing our death caused by our sins. The sprinkling of His precious blood helped us to pass the death of angel from our generation. We are able to inherit our promised eternal possession. We are able to stand before the heavenly throne where the fiery angels are trembling.

Are you able to praise Him the praise of Hosanna? Are you able to enjoy the heavenly happiness with Heavenly Angels? The Hosanna we are celebrating is a mystical one that we are called to celebrate with our savior Jesus Christ. Our salvation by Jesus Christ purchased through His sacrifice is capable of breaking away the satanic bondage. Get the assurance of salvation through the cross which Jesus Christ died for us. Let us enjoy the new birth of a heavenly creation. Wash out the Fear of our death from our hearts and from our lives. Walk straight to the doors of heavenly paradise. That is what hosanna means. Bow our head before our savior. Let Him rule over us. Let Him guide us to the Heavenly Temple of God. Let us become a donkey chosen by Jesus Christ for His trip to the temple of Jerusalem. Let us go with our Savior to the temple, then to Calvary and then to the empty tomb. While we do that, reflect and meditate on the enormous sacrifice made by Jesus Christ to buy us out of our bondage.

So, on this Palm Sunday, pay special attention to that donkey when we sing with the multitude waving the branches of palm trees:

Hosanna, Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. (John 12:13)

"Hosanna!
"Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!"
Blessed is the kingdom of our father David
That comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!"

(Mark 11:9-10)

See Also:

Passion Week Supplement in Malankara World

Sermons for Passion Week

Passion Week Home | Sermons Home | Malankara World Journal | General Sermons and Essays | Library - Home

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