Garo Nalbandian

Riding on an ass, with a disciple beside him, Jesus approaches the crowd outside Jerusalem, upper right, in this 11th-century Crusader mosaic from the Bethlehem Basilica. The people greet him by throwing palm fronds before him, reflecting John’s description of the event: “So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him…” (John 12:13). Meanwhile: two children, lower center and lower left, lay their garments in his path. In the background, a person scampers up a palm tree to cut some branches. According to three Gospels, the crowd greeted Jesus with cries of “Hosanna” (Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9; John 12:13), a Hebrew word that the Gospel writers did not translate, leaving us to wonder: What does it mean?