What Are You Using Your Palms For?
Praise or Persecution?
John 12:12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:"Hosanna!'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'The King of Israel!"
John 18:22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?" 24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Palm and Palm
Double Meaning
HOMOGRAPHS are words that are spelled the same/sound the same, but have different meanings.
Palm: (tree)
an unbranched evergreen tree with a crown of long feathered or fan-shaped leaves, and typically having old leaf scars forming a regular pattern on the trunk. Palms grow in warm regions, especially the tropics. A leaf of a palm tree awarded as a prize or viewed as a symbol of victory or triumph.
Palm: (of hand)
the part of the inner surface of the hand that extends from the wrist to the bases of the fingers.
The Palm Tree is found often in scripture and has a most significant meaning.
Ezekiel 41:18-20, 25 And it was made with cherubim and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;…
“The cherubim and the palm trees were closely associated. Both of them pictured the righteous man in the sanctuary of God, but while the cherub signified the good man at his best bringing himself and all that he had as an offering to God, the palm tree stood for the good man as one who had been made what he was by the services of the sanctuary.
"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree," said the psalmist (Psalm 92:12). And there is very good reason why that tree should be taken as a type or picture of the righteous man.
It represents ultimate triumph in that it does not promise much at the beginning. "It is rough to the touch and enveloped in dry bark, but above it is adorned with fruit... so is the life of the elect, despised below, beautiful above;... down below straitened by innumerable afflictions, but on high it is expanded into a foliage... of beautiful greenness" ~W. Clarkson Bible Hub
The palm of the hand likewise is found in scripture.
We are said to be engraved in the palms of God’s Hand… Isaiah 49:16
Daniel was awoken from sleep by being touched on the palms of his hands. Daniel 10:10
In the New Testament we find people are often struck on the cheek "to smite with the palms of the hands," As was the case with Jesus in our text of John 18: 22 as well as in Matthew 26:67 John 19:3.
I. The Victory is Ours
As Jesus triumphantly returned to Jerusalem on a donkey, palm branches were waved by the crowd along Jesus’ route signifying victory. Why palm branches? The palm was so closely associated with victory in the ancient Roman culture that the Latin word palma could be used as a metonym for "victory", and was a sign of any kind of victory.
The palm branch waving could be likened to us waving those foam fingers at sports events, or when a champion team returns to the hometown for a parade today, declaring that “WE ARE NUMBER ONE!” “WE ARE VICTORIOUS
There is much truth to that in the Christian life today as well. Do we realize that we as children of God are number one in the eyes of our Lord? We are victorious because we have been bought and paid for with a very high price – the blood of Jesus. We are on the winning team if we have given our lives to the Lord.
We should be living as champions every single day for a great prize is set before each of us at the end of this journey – ETERNAL LIFE
When was the last time you pressed your palms together in prayer and praised your Lord and Savior, thanking Him for the victory that is ours?
II. A Vicious Cycle
The life of Jesus on earth contained both joy and mourning, life and death, victory and defeat. However, His final defeat in the eyes of His accusers was the ultimate victory for all mankind as He defeated death, hell, and the grave.
Think of all the things Jesus used the palms of His hands for during His earthly ministry. Those palms held mud that He placed on blind eyes that were opened. Those hands held a stick with which he drew in the sand as He asked the woman caught in the act of adultery where were her accusers. Jesus' palms held a whip as those who changed money from palm to palm were cleared from the temple. Those hands were clasped together in prayer to the Father as He sweats drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. Those hands, those palms, held the nails that held Him to the cross where He was crucified.
How was it that so many who had seen those hands heal could nail them to a cross? How could they let a righteous man who flourished as the palm die?
How many who had been in the crowd waving palms in support of Jesus Christ, went on to cheer as His palms were nailed to the tree? Maybe it wasn’t a palm tree, but it was once a thing of beauty, created by God to grow and flourish. Now it was cut down, fashioned into a cross where God’s own Son suffered and died.
III. The Verdict
Palms of hands are used for both good and evil. We are engraved on the palms of God’s hands, yet human palms struck Jesus and presented Him to be judged for crimes He never committed. He was sentenced to the cross. How can this be?
Jesus asked, “Why did you strike ME?”
Yet, Jesus went on to ask the Father to forgive all those who used the palms of their hands to strike Him, beat Him, crucify Him on a tree, not a palm tree, but a tree.
He is still forgiving us today.
Yes, there are palms and there are palms. Both are used for good and for evil.
Just as it would be wrong to use a bat to bat good people to the ground, we are surely just as wrong to pray to God, but then turn to prey on our fellow man. The preying might not be as obvious as a strike of the face with our palm, or the nailing of nails in the palms, but deception, hate, and unforgiveness are not traits of a righteous man.
May we all be ever ready to run to meet our Lord and cry out, “Hosanna!'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'The King of Israel!" THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD!