Come & See. Go & Tell — Palm Sunday

Happy Palm Sunday!  The Scripture for Palm Sunday follows Jesus’ triumphant arrival into Jerusalem.  Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week in the Christian calendar, and this week is one of the most important in the life of the church.  While in Israel and Palestine, I visited many of the sites that were important in the final week of Jesus’ life, including the Mount of Olives, which is written about in Scripture.  According to tradition, Jesus rode on the back of a colt (or donkey, depending on the book of the Bible) down what today is called Palm Sunday Road on the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem.  In modern times, this small mountain is home to a number of churches that remember important events from Jesus’ ministry.  I have briefly discussed the Mount of Olives in previous blog posts here and here (with more to come!).

View of the Dome of the Rock from Jerusalem’s Old City with the Mount of Olives in the background.


Today, we start Holy Week and follow Jesus on his way to the cross…


Mark 11:1-11 (NRSV)

“When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives,

On the road from Jerusalem to Bethany


he sent two of his disciples and said to them, ‘Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it.  If anyone says to you, “Why are you doing this?”  Just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.”‘

The Mount of Olives with the town of Silwan to the right


They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street.  As they were untying it, some of the bystanders said to them, ‘What are you doing, untying the colt?’  They told them what Jesus had said, and they allowed them to take it.  Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.


Some accounts of Palm Sunday have Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a colt while others mention a donkey. This is a photo of a donkey found along the paths of Bethsaida (read last week’s post for more on this area). As the donkey befriended our group and accompanied us for part of our walk through the ruins, we decided to name him…Bartholomew! He just looked like a “Bart” to us.


Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields. 

Palm Sunday Road down the Mount of Olives and to Jerusalem


Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting,

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!’


Palm Sunday Road on the Mount of Olives – It’s quite steep!


The streets of Jerusalem’s Old City


Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.


Built on the site of the temple during Jesus’ time, the Dome of the Rock stands in the Old City’s Temple Mount complex. The Dome of the Rock is one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, and the site is holy to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. You can read more about the temple in my recent blog post.


The Golden Gate, which is said to be the gate through which Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday as he came down the Mount of Olives. The gate was sealed by Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1541 (likely as a defensive measure), and you still cannot pass through it today. However, it is said that when the Messiah comes the gate will be opened, and the Messiah will enter through it.


This is the Word of God, for the People of God.  Thanks be to God.

I hope that you will return later this week as we follow Jesus through the last week of his life and onto Easter Sunday.

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1 Comment

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    July 15, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Amen. Thank you Loren. Also I will pray for your grandmother.

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