6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:6-9
Those who traveled with Jesus threw out palm branches and put cloaks on the road and on the donkey for Jesus to sit on.
Here is a treatment of that text:
First of all, palm branches were often used in the celebration of victory and in King David’s time, they were used to honor royalty. This fact of the history of palm branches makes a perfect connection to the true identity of Jesus as the King of Kings.
Not only that, but palm branches also represent Jesus being worthy as the High Priest for all who believe. A palm tree takes 30 years to bear fruit and a man could not become a High Priest until he was 30 years old. The ministry of Jesus began when he was 30 years old.
Palm branches point to Jesus being King and High Priest but there was something else that was laid before Jesus that day that carries great meaning as well.
Peoples “cloaks” or other interpretations say “garments” were also spread out on the road for the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. This was more than just an act of honor, this was also an acknowledgment and declaration that Jesus was the King of Kings, the promised Messiah.
The word garment here is the “tallit” or “prayer shawl”, which was a seamless garment with four corners, with a tassel attached to each of the four corners to remind the Jewish people of all the commands of God.
Upon its collar, the Hebrew letters spell, “Lord of lords and King of kings” as a symbolic reminder of the promised Messiah. By laying their “tallit’s” down, the people were acknowledging Jesus as God’s promised Messiah. They were declaring that Jesus was the one worthy to be called the “Lord of lords and King of kings”.
These followers were honoring Jesus according to texts in the Old Testament. They were proclaiming that He was the Messiah.
This is an important moment because He’s entering Jerusalem, the City of David. The symbolism of this moment is profound. From here on out, the events begin to turn against the Messiah, though to a degree they had started when He began His ministry. More leaders will begin to take notice of Jesus. They’ll question him as they’ve done before but they begin plotting in earnest against His life.
Jesus’ followers at that time knew what they had to do. They would probably be questioned in secret for what they did (with cloaks and palm branches). The leaders would have the power to turn their lives upside down just to get more information on the man who was disrupting their power play.
But they did it anyhow. These people have obviously been forgotten now and no one knows their names. How many were there? No one knows because the authors didn’t record that detail.
Still, these men and women made a sacrifice by standing up for the Savior when little was known about Him.
Throughout history, men and women have taken bold stances on behalf of their Savior and bad things have happened as a result. Millions have been imprisoned and millions have died defending Him. You may hear a name every now and again, but each of those you hear about represents thousands of nameless martyrs.
Jesus knows their names. Every single one of them.
He also remembers those who are in prison right this very minute.
Throughout the day today, pray for one or two of those prisoners. Pray for their families. You don’t need to know their names. Just know that they are facing great physical, mental, and spiritual persecution, as are their families.