Devotionals: March 2008
Palm Sunday
Date: 03.16.2008
What is there in the palm leaves? In John 12:13, people used palm (Phoenix dactylifera) leaves to welcome Jesus. Why not banana (Musaceae) leaves? The history of palm tree is as old as human civilization in the Ancient Near East (ANE). Five thousand years older inscription found in Mesopotamia describes about how to grow palm tree. In fact, the other name of the city of Jericho was the city of palm trees (Judg 1:16). In the ANE society, the Palm was a symbol of both beauty (Song of Solo 7:7) and prosperity (Ps 92:12). The palms were used in decoration of the Temple (1 Kings 6:29, 35; 7:36) and construction of booths for religious purposes (Lev 23:40; Neh 8:15). In Rev 7:9, the palm leaves are used as symbol of victory. St. Cyril, a bishop in the city of Jerusalem in the fourth century, writes about the traditional use of palm leaves for welcoming guests. All these explanations might describe why palm leaves were used to welcome Jesus. However, the most convincing fact is about its botanical feature and the morphology that allowed the palm to grow even in the difficult topography of ANE. It grows sturdy without branching out in different directions. It shoots up straight to the terminal tuft. It has thick bark to protect itself from the heat. It would store enough water in its root and trunk to survive the draught. It bears fruit best even in hot conditions of the Dead Sea oases. In dry desert, where no other tree could grow, the palm would grow and become blessing to travellers. Indeed, the palm tree deserved to be chosen for such an honor to welcome Jesus. May we be like palm tree!

Devotionals: March 2008
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