AN AMAZING FACT: During the mid-1960s, archeologists found Judean date palm seeds in the ruins of Herod the Great’s palace. They had been stored in a jar in a dry area. After 40 more years in storage, a few seeds were planted in the desert in southern Israel. One of the seeds sprouted, setting a record for the oldest known tree seed to successfully germinate. By 2010 it was about seven feet tall. The palm tree is named “Methuselah” after the longest-living human. Judean date palm trees had been extinct for 1,800 years.
Since ancient times, palm branches have been a symbol of victory and triumph. In Roman times, game champions were awarded palm branches and armies used them to celebrate successful battles. The Jews often carried palm branches during festive times.
When the crowd saw Jesus riding on the young donkey, they got excited and began breaking off palm fronds to wave in celebration. They believed He was about to take the throne as king. Wouldn’t it have been thrilling to be part of that throng, to shout the ‘Hosannas’ and the blessings?
Yet Jesus’ kingdom was not earthly but spiritual. Although the people didn’t fully comprehend that, their response was appropriate. There were good reasons for shouting and praise. Jesus was the Messiah. He had already lived a victorious, sinless life. And He would very soon attain the ultimate triumph with His sacrifice on the cross—the crowning achievement in His mission to save us.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. Matthew 21:8And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. Matthew 21:9