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Daily Reading: 27th February 2015

John 12.12-13 cont.

12 On the following day a large crowd was coming to the feast; hearing that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,

13 they took branches from the palm trees and went to meet Him. They shouted out: “Hosanna, blessed is the One Coming in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.”

We may wonder why it was that people took the branches from the Palm trees to use in celebration of the arrival of Jesus.

The fruit of the palm tree is dates. The meaning of the name ‘Bethany’ is ‘house of dates’. Therefore, it is most likely that the crowds would have gathered these branches from Bethany and from the road leading into Jerusalem.

The date was a sign of joy and victory. Therefore, the branches were cut and used in celebrations of joy and of victory. Their joy was in celebrating the arrival of Jesus into Jerusalem. The idea of victory would have been in the hope and expectancy that Jesus would deliver them from the hands of their Roman overlords.

W Barclay tells us that the palm branches were used particularly in the Feast of Tabernacles, along with the branches of the myrtle tree and willow tree.

The crowds were happy, and excitement was intensified as they greeted Jesus.

The shouting of the words: “Hosanna, blessed is the One coming in the Name of the Lord, even the King of Israel” is based in Psalm 118.25-26: [25] Please, LORD, please save us. Please, LORD, please give us success. [26] Bless the One who comes in the Name of the LORD. We bless You from the house of the LORD – (NLT).

This Psalm was a part of the Psalms known as the Hallel Psalms (Hallel means: ‘Praise God’). These Psalms are 113-118 and would often be sung in thanksgiving for what God had done.

They would have been well known by Jews, since they are the first words committed to memory by them.

What a great foundation to lay for young children, a foundation of praise and thanksgiving to God.

A life built on such foundations is a life that will be fashioned to express gratitude to God.

Paul reflected this in his letter to the Philippians: Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice! – 4.4 (NLT).

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