The palm branches (Jn 12:13-12:13)

“Thus,

They took branches

Of palm trees.

They went out

To meet Jesus.”

ἔλαβον τὰ βαΐα τῶν φοινίκων καὶ ἐξῆλθον εἰς ὑπάντησιν αὐτῷ,

Then John indicated that this crowd took (ἔλαβον) branches (τὰ βαΐα) of palm trees (τῶν φοινίκων).  They went out (καὶ ἐξῆλθον) to meet Jesus (εἰς ὑπάντησιν αὐτῷ).  John is the only canonical Greek writer to use these two Greek words βαΐα, that means a palm branch, and φοινίκων, that means date palm, a palm, or a palm tree.  Only John called these palm branches.  Luke chapter 19:36-37, said that as Jesus rode (πορευομένου δὲ αὐτοῦ) along the road on this colt, people kept spreading their cloaks (ὑπεστρώννυον τὰ ἱμάτια ἑαυτῶν) on the road (ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Jesus was now approaching the path descending down (ἐγγίζοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἤδη πρὸς τῇ καταβάσει) from the Mount of Olives (τοῦ ὄρους τῶν Ἐλαιῶν), then the whole multitude of the disciples began (ἤρξαντο ἅπαν τὸ πλῆθος τῶν μαθητῶν) to praise God joyfully (χαίροντες αἰνεῖν τὸν Θεὸν) with a loud voice (φωνῇ μεγάλῃ) for all the deeds of power that they had seen (περὶ πασῶν ὧν εἶδον δυνάμεων).  Luke was the only gospel writer who said that this descent of the Mount of Olives took place.  He also mentioned that only his disciples who was praising Jesus for all that he had done.  Both Matthew, chapter 21:9, and Mark, chapter 11:8-9, were very similar but with slight differences.  Mark said that the crowds or the people were in front of (οἱ προάγοντες) and behind Jesus (καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες).  They were all shouting out (ἔκραζον).  Matthew said that the crowds were in front of him and behind him (οἱ δὲ ὄχλοι οἱ προάγοντες αὐτὸν καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες), as they were all shouting out (ἔκραζον).  Both Matthew and Mark, added the idea of branches on the road that was not in LukeMark said that many people (καὶ πολλοὶ) spread out their outer garments, cloaks, or coats on the road (τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down leafy branches from the surrounding fields (ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας, κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν), also spreading out these branches on the road.  Matthew said that a very large crowd of people (ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος) spread out their outer garments or coats on the road (ἔστρωσαν ἑαυτῶν τὰ ἱμάτια ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  Meanwhile, others were cutting down branches from the surrounding trees (ἄλλοι δὲ ἔκοπτον κλάδους ἀπὸ τῶν δένδρων).  They also spread out these branches on the road (καὶ ἐστρώννυον ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ).  This idea of laying garments on the road can be found in 2 Kings, chapter 9:13, to protect the feet of the king.  Clearly, this was an attempt to connect Jesus with the Davidic kingship.  Was Jesus to be the new king of Israel as a son of David?  This event has become the basis for the great Palm Sunday celebration, the triumphant entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem.  How do you observe Palm Sunday?

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