It was Palm Sunday, the last Sunday before Easter: “Mom, why is there such a big crowd there?” “That’s Jesus, Philip; the man who recently raised the dead Lazarus, do you remember?” “Oh yes, that’s the good man who took us kids in His lap, sincerely and lovingly hugged us, and blessed us! – Although His disciples wanted to send us away.” “Yes, that’s Him. We want to go and see what he does and why there are so many people!” “Oh, he rides a donkey! And people put clothes on their way as for a king! Mom, will He be the new king?” “Maybe …. I dont know. But we hope and wait so much for a king who would finally liberate us from the Romans.” “Yes, He shall become our new king! He is just as good to people and to us children as no other king!”
Yes, that’s how people hoped and waited on this Palm Sunday for Jesus to become the new King. They waved at Him with many palm branches and shouted: “Hosanna! Blessed be He who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel” (John 12:13). But there was a group of Pharisees who did not want the Lord Jesus to be King at all. They envied and hated him so much that they even wanted to kill Him. How sad that even Judas, a disciple of Jesus, was so dishonest and ready to help the evil Pharisees and betray Jesus. Just a few days later, on Thursday, Judas led a large group of soldiers to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus had just taken His disciples. The soldiers bound Jesus like a criminal and led Him first to the Pharisees, then to the Roman governor Pilate, to give orders to kill Jesus. But Pilate did not want to kill Jesus, because he had seen that Jesus had done no wrong and was innocent. But the Pharisees had persuaded people and everyone was shouting, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” People believed the lies that the Pharisees had devised about Jesus and preferred that Pilate release the robber Barrabas, but kill Jesus! Pilate was afraid of the Jews and allowed them to crucify Jesus. So Jesus was nailed to the cross and had to die. But Jesus did not die because the Pharisees or the Jews wanted it, but because God in heaven had planned it that way. Jesus had to die for us humans and shed His blood, so that we could be freed from our sins and all of us could go to heaven once. Jesus was laid in a rock tomb. This grave was then blocked with a large stone. But the nice thing is that Jesus did not have to stay in the grave forever. On the third day, Easter Sunday, an angel came and rolled this big stone away from the grave. Jesus rose and came out of the grave. The grave was empty! Jesus was victor! That’s why we celebrate Easter until today!