Holy Week 2023 - Palm Sunday

Hosanna in the Highest

Back to Blog

Holy Week 2023 - Palm Sunday

Hosanna in the Highest

Posted by: CDFWarrington on Sunday, April 2, 2023 at 11:21AM

Image has clipart of a palm branch with the text 'Palm Sunday' and the date 2 April 2023 with the text 'Hosanna in the Highest' along the side.

On the Sunday before Easter, Christians worldwide celebrate the significant Church holiday: Palm Sunday. This day commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where crowds of people greeted Him by waving palm branches and laying them on the ground in front of Him. 

"The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David;
Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!"

When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee." ~ Matthew 21:6-11 NASB

The Origin of Holy Week: Palm Sunday

The origins of Palm Sunday can be traced back to the Gospel of John, which describes how Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey while the people laid down their cloaks and palm branches in His path. This event is said to have occurred just a week before Jesus' crucifixion. 

The symbolism of the palm branches is important in the Christian faith. In biblical times, people often used palm branches to celebrate military victories. With that in mind, the crowds using palm branches here would send not only an image of peace from victory but also an image of triumph. 

Palm Sunday Celebrated Today

Today, Palm Sunday is celebrated in many different ways around the world. In some places around the globe, people still carry palm branches in processions to commemorate Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. In other areas, the palms are used to make crosses, which are then given to congregation members. In some places, Palm Sunday is also known as Branch Sunday. This name reflects that other types of branches, such as olive branches or willow branches, may be used in place of palm branches. In these areas, the symbolism of the branches remains the same, even if the specific type of branch used is different. 

In addition to the palm branches, other traditions are associated with Palm Sunday. In some churches, the day is marked by reading the Passion narrative, which tells the story of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Other churches hold special services featuring music and hymns that celebrate the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. One of the most iconic pieces of music associated with Palm Sunday is the hymn "All Glory, Laud, and Honor." This hymn dates back to the 9th century and is often sung during processions and other Palm Sunday services.  

Other popular worship songs for Palm Sunday include songs like:
  • "At the Name of Jesus"
  • "Blessed be the Name"
  • "King of Glory"
  • "Prepare The Way"
  • And numerous songs with the same title: "Hosanna"

Challenges Faced Today

While Palm Sunday is an important holiday in the Christian faith, it can be challenging to celebrate it in the modern world. For many, the day's focus on triumph and victory can seem out of place in a world often marked by suffering and hardship, especially in light of this past week's school shooting in Nashville, TN. 

Despite these challenges, Palm Sunday remains an important day for Christians worldwide. It is a time to reflect on the teachings of Jesus and to remember the sacrifice that He made for all of humanity. Whether through singing hymns, carrying palm branches, or reading the Passion narrative, Palm Sunday is a day to celebrate the power of faith and the hope that comes with it.

Related Posts