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Palm Sunday begins Christian Holy Week

Palm Sunday is a day when Christians recall Jesus' entry into Jerusalem about 2,000 years ago and the important events that followed.

"Palm Sunday is very important because it begins Holy Week, which observes the suffering and death of Jesus Christ," said the Rev. John G. Fischer, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Inverness.

"It is the beginning of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is what Christianity is all about. Christianity is not simply a system of morals and ethics, but faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God's son," he said.

Fischer explained that Palm Sunday was a day of great excitement in Jerusalem.

"It all started that day with Jesus entering into Jerusalem, which is the capital city of Judea. He was very popular and welcomed by the crowds, which called him the Son of David. They were welcoming him as a king," he said.

"The Bible says the crowds waved palm branches and shouted Hosanna as he entered Jerusalem. This was received with alarm by the religious leaders, mainly because they thought this would bring the wrath of Rome down upon them," Fischer said.

He explained how the triumph of Palm Sunday turned to dismay just a few days later on Maundy Thursday, which was the night Jesus was arrested.

"They took him to a nighttime trial. Pontius Pilate wanted to let Jesus go, but the crowds chose to free Barrabas instead. So Pilate caved in to the pressure and sentenced Jesus to his crucifixion," he said.

Jesus told the crowds, though, not to weep for him but for themselves and their children. "He didn't want to be seen as a focal point of a tragedy . . . he voluntarily gave his life," Fischer said.

"Jesus went from top to bottom in five days, from the time of his entry into Jerusalem to Friday (known as Good Friday), when he was crucified," Fischer said.

In remembrance of Palm Sunday and Holy Week, and the significance these events hold in Christianity, many local churches are holding special services and events.

746-9422.

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