The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”   (John 12:12-13)

 

It was a royal welcome with all the trimmings when Jesus rode into Jerusalem that Sunday: cloaks on the road as was done for a king returning from victory; arms waving palm branches as a sign of triumph; a ringing chorus shouting “Save us!” and hailing Him as king of Israel.

So jubilant.

So sure Jesus would lead them to overthrow the Romans.

So ready to be delivered.

So wrong about the nature and price of that delivery.

Their expectations were high. God’s purpose was infinitely higher. They wanted Him to give them a worldly kingdom. His purpose was to give them an eternal one.

So they waved the palms and celebrated their own conclusions. They welcomed Jesus because they thought He shared their dream, and could make it come true. They thought He was there to do what they wanted; there was really little to no idea they should ask what God wanted for them.

Those palm leaves had hardly withered before many in the crowd had turned on Jesus and were demanding His death. Incited by the religious leaders, they felt betrayed; He hadn’t saved them from the Romans at all. So instead of waving palms, their shouts led to the nails in His palms.

There was a significance in the palms of the hands. In that era, the name of the master was tattooed on the palm of a servant’s hand. But much earlier, God had said, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:16). The Creator of the universe has my name and yours engraved on His hands.

It makes me wonder about my own palms. Do I see His name engraved there, reminding me constantly to Whom I belong? Do my hands branch out to honor Him in all that they touch and do? Do others see evidence of His name indelibly etched on me?

Jesus, may I never look at my palms without seeing Yours stretched out on the cross for me, reaching always to bring me closer to You, holding me secure in Your love and care. May my hands also reach out in love, and bring honor and glory to You. I ask it in Your precious and powerful name. Amen.

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:28-30)