The Resurrection of Jesus was greater, and our celebration of Easter is more important. But the first Easter was a very strange time for the disciples. There was great joy, but some of the disciples were afraid, often they didn’t understand, some didn’t even believe. The Day of Pentecost was a greater day, and a greater celebration, but the coming of the Holy Spirit was an awesome and unworldly time. It would have been hard to relate to for many people.
When it comes to a truly triumphant and celebratory event in the life of Christ, then Palm Sunday might be the closest thing to that. The Passover was celebration enough. The people all came to Jerusalem and the population of the city swelled from about 55,000 to about 180,000. The city was crowded with pilgrims. And although the number of people involved in the Palm Sunday celebration would have been small compared to all the people in the city, people would have been watching and waiting for this demonstration on behalf of Jesus.
All through the gospels the people were wanting Jesus to step up and be recognized as King. They couldn’t wait for it to happen. On Palm Sunday, Jesus finally allowed them to recognize him. The people wave palm branches, the sign of royalty. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, as Zechariah had foretold. They throw their cloaks on the road in front of him. If you think about what that means, you can see that if you put your coat in front of someone riding on a mule, you are offering what you have in his service. You are saying, what is mine is yours, and I will follow you with all that I have. That is the spirit we enter into on Palm Sunday.