Palm Sunday Road
Jesus Rode a Donkey Down this Road
Location – The Mount Olives, going from the Mount of Olives Road to Al Mansrellah Street
Map Coordinates - 31.777310, 35.241908
Merged Gospels story - 216
Palm Sunday Road is a name commonly given to an unnamed road that passes down the Mount of Olives. According to tradition, this road follows the route closest to the path that Jesus took when He rode a donkey from Bethphage to the Golden Gate on the eastern side of the city of Jerusalem. Every year on Palm Sunday pilgrims walk this path in remembrance of the day when Jesus made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.
There are several important landmarks along this road. Starting at the top they are the Tomb of the Prophets, the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery, the Dominus Flevit Church, the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene, and at the bottom is the Basilica of the Agony and the Garden of Gethsemane.
Also presented on this road outside the Basilica of the Agony is a marble column called the Kiss of Judas, a pillar that commemorates the moment that Judas kissed the Lord on the cheek. This column was once inside the Gethsemane Garden, but it has since been moved directly behind the Basilica of the Agony on the west side of Palm Sunday Road.
The Kiss of Judas Pillar behind the Basilica of the Agony.
Why did the crowd wave palm branches?
Only John specifies that these were “palm branches” (John 12:13), which is interesting, given what he writes in Revelation 7:9-10.
“After this I looked and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”
In his Gospel John portrays the Triumphal Entry in Jerusalem as a picture of what happens in the heavenly Jerusalem, with multitudes, palm branches, and shouts to the Lord.
The Triumphal Entry Initiated a New Feast of Tabernacles.
To understand the palm branches, we must first understand the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, a feast designated to remind the Jews of God’s guidance out of Egypt. In every observance of the Feast of Tabernacles, the people would “take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days” (Leviticus 23:40).
There are a couple of parallels between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, causing us to conclude that the week following Palm Sunday was a new Feast of Tabernacles.
1. At the Triumphal Entry, Christ was celebrated as the one who would bring His people out of the captivity and slavery of sin (a spiritual Egypt, so to speak). Jesus was welcomed by the multitude with the same sign of palm branches and shouts of rejoicing, and a new Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated.
2. This new Feast of Tabernacles also lasted one week, concluding on the following Sunday with the resurrection of Christ. In this new Feast of Tabernacles Christ rose from the grave, securing eternal rest for His people.