Palm Sunday Sermons,
Message and Readings

These are some ideas for Palm Sunday sermons, message and readings.

If you need help where to start, go to how to write a sermon. Much of that page started on this page, but it would have been too long.

  • Remember to ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, your constant companion and friend.
  • Remember the importance of keeping it simple, always go back to the basics of the gospel stories.
Once you do that, the rest will come easily.

What is the Palm Sunday Story?

The best source for the Palm Sunday story is the bible. All four gospel writers give the Palm Sunday story. (Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12)

When reading the bible, it is always a good idea to start with a prayer.

I included my own summary of the Palm Sunday Story.

You may also find valuable tips, ideas, and information for a Palm Sunday sermon or lesson on any of the Palm Sunday pages listed here.

Gospel Information about Palm Sunday

Since all 4 evangelists tell of Jesus' great entrance into Jerusalem before his death, it is amazing how much information and detail there is, from the viewpoints of many eyewitnesses.

You may even find things you never really "discovered" before, things you hadn't thought about in a certain light.

The Best Teacher and Guide

If you are sharing the Palm Sunday message with others, God will give you special insights according to their spiritual needs, provided you do your own prayer and reading with him.

How important that we listen like Mary at the feet of Jesus, instead of just being busy like Martha. It's the best part, and won't be taken away from her, as Jesus promised. No doubt, she's still doing it in heaven now.

The joy she now experiences makes it worth while for you to do this, and to teach all your audience - children, family, students, parishioners - to do the same.

Always a Student

A smart business owner who wants to be successful, is always learning.

The same is true for God's business, God's ministry, whether we're a teacher, pastor, parent or child.

What follows are some bible stories appropriate for a Palm Sunday sermon.

The Story of Mary at Bethany.

One of the most important Gospel stories to tell, is the story of Mary at Bethany, 6 days before the Passover, which was the time of Jesus death. (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8)

It was the day before the Palm Sunday procession. (John 12:1,12)

Why is it so important? It is the only story that Jesus said will be told wherever the gospel is preached, in memory of her.

Mary broke a very expensive jar of perfume over Jesus for his burial. It was probably an investment for her retirement, being worth at least a year's wages or more. This caused accusations among the disciples, especially Judas, but Jesus defended her actions. (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9;John 12:1-8)

A Very Important Event

Another Palm Sunday sermon topic could be how all 4 gospel accounts have Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Only John (John 12:3) specifically mentions palm branches being used.

Only Matthew and Luke discuss the infancy of Jesus. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are synoptic writers, giving a chronological history of the events of Christ Years later, John fills in some of the stories and teachings not found in the other 3.

However, all 4 gospel writers cover the events we celebrate on Palm Sunday. It is very important. It is the major transition from our Lord's missionary travels to this final journey's end in Jerusalem to fulfill the very purpose why he came.

And all 4 devote lots of writing to the central act, the sufferings and death of Jesus, and the resurrection.

Not all cover all the stories after the resurrection, not all cover the ascension of our Lord into heaven.

Events Leading up to Palm Sunday

There are many events right before Palm Sunday. (Luke 18, 19) Jesus again predicts his passion, death and resurrection, but the Apostles don't get a clue. (Luke 18:34) Jesus came from the east from Jericho, where he had been welcomed into the home of Zacchaeus, a tax collector. While there, Jesus told a story, because the people - and even his own close followers - were looking for an earthly kingdom as very close at hand. (Luke 19:11)

So even though the praises were truly reserved for the Messiah, the first Palm Sunday praises - for the most part - were to Jesus as an earthly king, an earthly messiah, an earthly deliverer. Even at the last supper, Jesus' own followers were fighting over an earthly kingdom.

Prophecies Fulfilled

On Palm Sunday, prophecies, both new and old were fulfilled.

  • The prophecies about the 2 animals, made hundreds of years earlier, were fulfilled to the last detail. Zechariah 9:9
  • And just minutes before, Jesus tells his followers where they would find the animals, what the owner(s) would say, what they should say, and what the owner(s) would do. This happened exactly as Jesus said.
Jesus left no stone unturned for people to recognize him as the Messiah.

Prophecies of the Passion

Another similar example. Jesus at the last supper made a resolution - that he would not drink wine again, until he drank it new with them in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 26:29) Later on Calvary, Jesus refused at least two times he was given bitter wine to drink, which was a type of pain-killer criminals were allowed. (Matthew 27: 34, 48)

Jesus predicted it less than 24 hours earlier, and it was predicted hundreds of years earlier. (Psalm 69:21)

Right after, Jesus said It was finished, then with a loud cry to his father, he expired. He had fulfilled every last single prophecy.

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

Another important event happened in the middle of the procession. The people are praising Jesus, but he starts to weep.

As he comes over Olivet hill in the east, the city of Jerusalem comes into view, with the temple up front just inside the wall. Jesus weeps over the city of Jerusalem, because they would miss the real opportunity of his coming, his visitation to deliver the people in a far more important way.

Mount Olivet, where Jesus wept, and where the procession was, is basically a huge cemetery still in use. A cemetery is a place that reminds of the great life and death decisions we make. I discuss how Palm Sunday is a day of decision, who is our authority, in the meaning of Palm Sunday.

Jesus also wept at the grave of Lazarus. By his weeping, Jesus shows he is truly human.

By his miracles, his triumphal prophetic entry into Jerusalem, Jesus shows he is truly divine.

The world's stoics say it's not okay to weep, but Jesus did. This gave me some food for thought to include in the Sympathy and Funeral section of this website.

Another event is the cleansing of the temple. This is more discussed in the Palm Sunday Story.

Message of the Passion

Many people attending church on Palm Sunday will not be back until Easter Sunday.

So it is a good idea to speak of why our Lord suffered his passion and death. By his death on a cross, Christ atoned for our sins and satisfied the wrath and justice of God. God could then open the gates of heaven to us, granting us salvation - provided we do our part.

The main purpose of Jesus entering the city and temple of Jerusalem seems not so much to get praises, but actually to hasten the steps to his death, so that he could work our salvation on his Father's terms and on schedule, to save our souls from hell.

He was going to lay down his life, no one was going to take it, and he was going to do it during the Passover, even though those who plotted his death did not want to do it during the festival days, and especially not on the Passover.

The redemption is the most important event in history. It is the central mystery of Christianity, the purpose of the gospel writings. It cannot be overlooked.

Many people, unfortunately many Christians, don't understand what Easter is all about, and don't experience God's abundant life, because they don't live and die with Christ, they aren't buried with Christ, so they cannot rise with Christ.

An excellent opportunity to discuss the evil of sin, the necessity of repentance, how to get God's forgiveness and salvation, and why we must live our lives in deepest gratitude and service to Christ our Lord, Savior and Redeemer.

Other Events During the Week

In the first part of the week, Jesus teaches in the temple, and heals the blind and the lame.

Passover approaches, and Jesus eats the last supper meal with his friends, washes their feet, prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, is betrayed by Judas, captured by his enemies, and many other important events of the last days of his earthly life.

The Actions of the People on Palm Sunday

The people put their garments on the road, and some of them cut down tree branches.

These people were inspired to give sacrificially at great cost, just like the woman Mary the evening before. The people laid their cloaks on the road.

An interesting detail, is that the apostles laid their garments not on the road, but on the donkey's back. This little detail may have been arranged by God to show their closer participation in the ministry and message of Jesus.

Garments were very expensive in those days. Laying down your garment was very symbolic. Before his conversion, Paul, then named Saul, held the garments of those stoning Stephen, and shared in the guilt of murder. (Acts 7:58; 22:20)

Help Bring the Palm Sunday Story to Life

Some details can help us to better "see" the story and picture it in our minds.

According to those who've been there, it's a blessing, and a big help in your spiritual life and your sermons, if you've been to the holy places in the Holy Land (Israel).

For those of us who have not gone, we still have many additional resources, such as photos and videos on the internet. These details can help us better understand the story, and keep the attention of our audience. From images of the area, it seems that there is relatively little vegetation.

We don't know how it looked like in Jesus day, but it's hard to imagine rocky dry ground bearing much lush greenery without extensive irrigation. There probably were not many trees.

So while the people were sacrificing their clothes to get dirty and torn under the feet of the animal and crowds, there were also some sacrificing their own trees. They were spreading branches, not just leaves, so some of these trees would not be growing back fully in their own lifetime.

Olive trees can take centuries to grow. In the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed, some of them are still growing there to this very day.

Climbing from Jericho to Jerusalem

Friends have told me, that when riding the bus, the road from Jericho to Jerusalem is a fairly steady steep climb.

Jericho at the northern end of the Dead Sea is almost the lowest spot on earth, 1200 feet below sea level.

Jerusalem is built on a natural mountain fortress, about 2,500 hundred feet above sea level.

This makes for a difference of at least 3,500 feet in about 20-25 miles.

Jesus walked from Jericho coming to Jerusalem for the last time, accompanied by his followers.

This means that not only were his last days were an uphill fight against his enemies, and even the selfish interests of his own followers, but also that a physical sense, the road was uphill, even to the final carrying his cross up to Calvary.

Coming from the East

Mount Olivet, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Golden Gate, and the Jerusalem temple are all towards the east of the Jerusalem city center.

This is symbolic of where the Messiah comes from. Jesus said when he comes again, it will be like lightening that comes from the east and shines in the west. (Matthew 24:27)

The Big Valley

There is a huge steep rocky desert-looking valley between Mount Olivet and the Jerusalem wall, known as the Kidron, or Cedron valley.

Since the temple was right inside the city, how did the whole city behind the temple hear the noise?

Probably, the people were shouting at full volume, and because of the hills and the valley, these became a huge echo chamber.

Palm Sunday Sermons - Very Rocky Terrain

A tour guide from America, licensed in Israel, who has been there 20+ times, and has led dozens of tours, says that the Olivet road to this day is very rocky. You have to watch your footing. Even when covered with garments and branches, the rocks would be a problem, you would still have to watch your step to keep from slipping or twisting your ankle.

Now that I realize how rocky it is, I can see why coming over the hill and going into the valley, a donkey is the best animal suited for the job. Because it was never ridden on before, the mother donkey was there to help stabilize the animal, and keep it from getting frightened.

In a way, it was a miracle, that Jesus would know what it would take, and could gently command an animal, in what otherwise should have been a bucking bronco. (Animals that have never been ridden before normally require a lot of training, else they are quite dangerous to ride.)

If - as the prophecy says - the donkey knows his master's crib, (Isaiah 1:3) no doubt he would know his creator and master too.

Thank your stars!

More Bible Sermons

Individuals, parents, teachers, pastors - you're welcome to get more tips and ideas at Christian and bible sermons, for your own studies, classes, lessons, and sermon preparation throughout the year.

Holidays, life events, and special occasions are unique "teachable moments" to put forth your best effort - to give a truly inspiring and encouraging message.

Thank your stars!

Go to Holy Week - Palm Sunday - Good Friday - (Lent).

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