Palm Sunday Bible Verses

6 min read

Here are some Palm Sunday Bible Verses to help you reflect as we approach Easter.

Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, a key moment in the passion story and a time of both jubilation and contemplation.

In this blog we look at scriptures relating directly to the account of Palm Sunday and some additional verses to guide our reflections.

Why do we have Palm Sunday?

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter weekend and commemorates Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. This event is mentioned in all four gospels, with most of the accounts including crowds of people laying down coats and branches as Jesus rides into the city on a colt.

Christ is treated with royal reverence in these accounts, but He knows that He will soon be put to death. However, we can still use this time to acknowledge and celebrate Christ as King and the fact that He is coming again.

Palm Sunday is typically seen as the beginning of Holy Week and a time of contemplation in the run up to Easter as we think about Jesus’s sacrifice and the coming resurrection.

Palm Branches
Image: Ashkan Forouzani

 

Verses about Palm Sunday in the Bible

The Gospel accounts of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem are all very similar.

Before entering the holy city, He asks His disciples to get Him a colt to ride on. In Mark 11:2-3 Jesus says, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

Jesus rides in on the colt and is met by a crowd. Matthew’s account says, “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”  Matthew 21:8

Luke 19:36 also says “people spread their cloaks on the road” and John’s account specifically references the palm branches saying in John 12:12-13, “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.”

The crowds praise Jesus

Also appearing in all four Gospels is the crowd and His disciples praising Him as Jesus enters the city. Each account uses variations on the same words. Matthew 21:9-11 says, “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!’ When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”

It is amazing that these people recognized they were in the presence of someone special, even if they didn’t know exactly who He was.

We can also experience the mystery and the majesty of Jesus today. We might not fully understand why this humble King chose to arrive riding on an animal no bigger than a donkey, but we know He is worthy of our praise. The account above says “the whole city was stirred” because of this entrance. We can only pray that God would stir our cities once again with His presence.

people worshipping
Image: John Price

Palm Sunday verses throughout the Bible

What is even more exciting about these Gospel accounts is that they confirm prophecy from earlier scriptures.

As it says in Matthew 21:4-5, Jesus riding on a colt took place to fulfil what was spoken by a prophet, saying, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'”

This is a direct reference to a passage in Zechariah 9:9 which says, “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your King comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly, and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” The people of Jerusalem were waiting for a coming king who would restore all things. Jesus did this to show that he was the King they had been waiting for, although many did not believe Him.

But many others were excited and laid branches from leafy trees such as the palm tree. This was because of the festival of Tabernacles, spoken of in Leviticus 23:33-44. This was a sacred celebration to God that took place on the 15th day of the seventh month and took place over seven days. The first day, a Sabbath day, would be celebrated with branches from a palm tree.

The palm branches are referenced later in the Bible in Revelation 7:9-10 when Jesus is seated in glory. “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”

This is an incredible image of praise and adoration before Christ who is in His rightful place. We too can look forward to worshipping God in this way during Holy Week.

Palm Sunday verses for contemplation and reflection

If you are looking for some Palm Sunday Bible verses to accompany you in your worship, reflection or contemplation, then here’s a couple of great ones.

They are all about praising and worshipping God for who He is. Praising Him for what He’s done and for the person of Jesus who came to earth in human form.

Psalm 118:22-24

This is God’s promise about Jesus Christ in the Psalms. Although rejected, Jesus has become the cornerstone on which we build our lives.

“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.

the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

The Lord has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.”

Philippians 4:4

This is a reminder that we should rejoice always for God is good. No matter what comes our way we can rejoice that the Lord is here.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

Palm branches
Image: Daniel Schludi

Romans 5:3-4

Jesus knew what lay before Him on that day. Christians know what’s coming too as we approach Easter each year. Yet even in the darker times we can rejoice because these are times when character is strengthened, and we step towards a glorious inheritance.

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

Luke 19:38

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

John 3:16-17

This next verse is well-known and loved and for good reason. Jesus was sent ‘not to condemn’ but ‘to save the world’.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”

Have a great Palm Sunday celebration and a peaceful and spirit filled Holy Week. If you need a companion for your devotionals and quiet times this week you should check out the Glorify app, which has daily Bible readings and devotionals just for you.

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