A Woman in the Crowd on Palm Sunday and Jesus


Thank you for joining us for Encounters with Jesus. Each week, we will hear a story from the Bible told from the perspective someone who encountered Jesus firsthand. If you would like to learn more about these charcters and their stories, you can read about it in the Bible. See: John 12:1–19; Exodus 12:3–6; Psalm 118:26; Zechariah 9:9.




I loved growing up near Jerusalem, especially as a Jewish family. There was always some celebration or festival that brought our people together. I loved all the holy days, but Passover was my favorite.

Hearing the story of the miraculous way God rescued our people from bondage in Egypt always gave me chills. Oh, I’d heard the story a thousand times, but it still filled me with awe and wonder, and gave me hope that God would one day free us from Roman rule. I mean, we all assumed that’s what the Messiah would do… liberate us from bondage, just like what happened in Egypt all those years ago.

This year, the week leading up to Passover seemed really different. I’d been hearing all kinds of crazy rumors about a teacher named Jesus for months, but the stories had intensified over the last few weeks. Jesus had been traveling and teaching in ways that upset our religious leaders. He also performed miracles and healed the sick. Multitudes of people had begun following him. I had even heard that many believed he might actually be the Messiah!

But then came the most astonishing and unbelievable claim of all: Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead—like, he’d been dead for four days kind of dead! I didn’t know what to believe. Some of the religious leaders were convinced he was a fraud, but the crowds of people following him simply shared what they’d seen with their own eyes. I couldn’t imagine seeing a dead man return to life, and I couldn’t help wondering what kind of man could perform such a powerful miracle! I didn’t know it then, but I was about to see this man with my own eyes.

One of the most important preparations for Passover involved choosing a lamb. But it couldn’t be just any lamb because it was going to be sacrificed to God before the feast—and so it had to be perfect, meaning no blemishes or spots.

I remember I’d set out early that day and had just purchased a lamb for our family when there was a loud commotion on the street leading into Jerusalem. There were so many people that it was difficult to see what was causing such an uproar. I picked up my lamb, holding it close so it wouldn’t be stepped on with so many people pressing in around me.

Then suddenly, I saw him! It was Jesus… riding on a donkey with people joyfully shouting, “Hosanna, Savior! King of Israel!” Everywhere I looked people were bowing at his feet and spreading palm branches on the ground for the colt to walk on as they made their way through the crowd.

I was struck by how normal Jesus looked—like any one of my brothers or neighbors. But the way the people were treating him was surreal. They were bowing, crying, and shouting with such great joy. Could all these people be right? Could Jesus actually be our Savior—our King?

I don’t know how long I’d been standing there, lost in thought, when Jesus suddenly passed right in front of me! He was so close! I could see there were tears in his eyes, and I noticed he was shaking his head, as if no one around him really understood what was happening. What were we missing? And then, as quickly as he had arrived, he was gone. I looked down at my lamb, so innocent and pure, and thought about how, many years ago, it was the sacrificial lambs that had saved our people. When the angel of death saw the blood of a sacrificial lamb on the door, he “passed over” that home, sparing the lives of those within. It was the blood of an innocent lamb that brought redemption and life to all who believed God. And I couldn’t help but wonder if this man, Jesus, could be the one to do it again.

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