SUNDAY STUDY: Palm Sunday 2023

Compiled from Jack Kelley at 


Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33)

The Triumphal Entry

28 When He had said this, He went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 And it came to pass, when He drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here. 31 And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ ”

32 So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them. 33 But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”

34 And they said, “The Lord has need of him.” 35 Then they brought him to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him. 36 And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.

37 Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, 38 saying:

“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus Cleanses the Temple

45 Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ 

47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him. (Luke 19:28-48)

He was to be there for the official presentation of Himself as King, according to Daniel’s prophecy of that day as foretold in Daniel 9:25-26. He didn’t arrive a day early or a day late – but right on time the day He was to be there to fulfill prophecy. God’s work is exact.

When Daniel received his famous 70 Weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27), Gabriel told him to start counting when a decree was issued authorizing the Israelites to rebuild Jerusalem (Daniel 9:25). The Jews were released from their 70 year captivity when Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon in approximately 535 BC and began returning to their homeland shortly thereafter. But they didn’t receive permission to rebuild Jerusalem until 445 BC, about 90 years later. This is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-6, where the 20th year of the reign of Persian King Artaxerxes corresponds to 445 BC.

Also, the key to unlocking Daniel’s prophecy was discovered by Sir Robert Anderson (The Coming Prince), working in partnership with the London Royal Observatory. They concluded that God was using His original 360 day calendar in giving this prophecy to Daniel, so you have to convert our calendar of 365.25 days to His in making the calculations. You’ll find that 483 years on God’s calendar is only 476 years on ours. And remember, there is no year zero when moving from BC to AD. 483 years of 360 days each from 445 BC brings us to the first Palm Sunday.

Jesus confirmed the validity of Daniel’s prophecy when He rode into Jerusalem that day. Prophesying the coming destruction of Jerusalem, He said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

He rebuked the Pharisees and held them accountable for their failure to know Daniel’s prophecy.

It was also the 10th day of Nisan, the day when God commanded the Jews to select the Passover lamb. Then for three days they were to carefully inspect it to make sure it had no spot or blemish that would prevent it from being used in the Passover celebration on the 14th. (Exodus 12:3,6). Over the next three days Jesus would be subjected to the most intense scrutiny of His ministry as the Jewish leadership tried to find some proof against Him.

Matthew and Luke take us right into their accounts of the Temple clearing, leaving the impression that it might have happened on that first Palm Sunday. But Mark makes it clear that when Jesus finally entered Jerusalem, He went to the Temple and looked around at everything, but since it was late He took the disciples and went back to Bethany where they were staying (Mark 11:11).

There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10–11). The worship will be real then. Also, John records a scene in heaven that features the eternal celebration of the risen Lord: “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 (Revelation 7:9). These palm-bearing saints will shout, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.

For more on Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy see Bible Prophecy 101 chapter 5 here.