In ancient times, a king would ride his horse bravely lead his army into battle. Then, after defeating his enemy, the king would victoriously enter the capitol city to claim his new territory. The symbol of the king riding a horse both into battle and home to victory was recognizable to anyone who lived within the protection of a king. The entire city population would gather to cheer on their king.
Today the Church commemorates something similar. Christ victoriously enters Jerusalem to claim the city, while leading His people into battle against His enemy. Following ancient protocol, the crowd gathered outside the city gates to cheer on their king. It was a joyous moment as they shouted out, “Hosanna in the Highest!”
As much as Christ entering Jerusalem was according to ancient protocol, much was different. Instead of a horse, He rode a humble donkey. Instead of leading an entire army, He fought the devil by Himself on our behalf. This teaches us a great lesson about our king.
Our king doesn’t just sit and allow others to fight His battles for Him. He doesn’t sit in His office, like today’s world leaders while others risk their lives. Our King gives His own life, fighting the enemy Himself. What’s left? Our King is waiting for us to gather around Him, and cheer on His victory, because His victory is our victory.
Palm Sunday sits at the intersection of Great Lent and Holy Week. The day offers us a moment of joy and victory, having just completed Great Lent. It also leads us into the battle of Holy Week, with Christ at the center as our King. He will fight for us this week, and He will offer Himself against the enemy for our salvation.
As we wave our palms in the air, cheering our King on with, “Hosanna in the Highest!” we can be comforted that God has gathered us into His Church, inside the gates of His city for protection. Our humble King may not ride a white horse, but He is victorious nonetheless. He is our King, and we are His people!