Date Palms and the Triumphal Entry

Date PalmsPalm Sunday. What kind of palm do we think of? Coconut? Desert? In Israel, the vast majority of palm trees are date palm trees. The photos I took when I was in Israel show them in a variety of different places. It is also highly probable that when the Bible talks about Israel being a land of milk and honey, the honey refers to date honey, not bee honey. The milk probably refers to goat/sheep milk since they have been in Israel since practically the beginning. It is also of note that, as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, the people took date palm branches and their cloaks to welcome and praise Him like a returning war hero. But then, less than a week later, these same people were shouting, “Crucify him!” They thought He was coming as a warrior to overthrow the Roman government, but His first act was to overthrow the tables of the crooked money changers and sellers profaning the temple. The first of a string of unfulfilled expectations for the crowd. The leaders of the time were upset with Him, not only that the crowds were following Him and not them, but also that He exposed their hypocrisy. So they undermined Him among the people, made false and misleading accusations, and finally got the Roman government to crucify Him. Yet, as we know, three days later He arose. That limited earthly warrior the people had hoped for is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all. And none of what happened to Him was a surprise. It was prophesied about over and over in the Old Testament, He was born to die, and He told His disciples over and over that He would be given over to the authorities, crucified, then rise again. A beautiful, and at the same time sad proclamation He makes to His followers is this: “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.” (John 10:18) I hope we can think of these things and really search out how to apply them to our own lives today.

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