Palm Sunday

Palm SundayThe next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"  Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written,  "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." - John 12:12-14 Jesus made a radical shift here. He went from a small, private dinner with friends in Bethany (Mary, Martha) to a very public display. The traditional view of this event is that the people of Jerusalem finally recognized Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9: “Your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt…”

But it was NOT the city of Jerusalem that welcomed Jesus that day as their king.

Rather, it was the people from outside Jerusalem who had traveled to the holy city for the Passover Feast. It was not the residents of the city who greeted Him, but pilgrims, outsiders, people from around Judea and Galilee and even foreign countries. Matthew’s gospel tells us that, “When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’ The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”

Lazarus had just recently been raised from the dead, and the Pharisees were not happy.  Jesus made this very public entry to force their hand. They wanted to wait and arrest Him quietly after the Passover, but Jesus forced them to make their intentions public.

A lot of people who waved palm fronds and shouted “Hosanna!” that day, could very well have been in the crowd who cried “Crucify Him!” a few days later. A lot of people want Jesus in their life when it’s exciting and looks like the popular thing to do.

Jesus’ love for us was expressed in a public manner.

He played no games.

He wants our lives to be equally honest and forthright.

"I say to you,” He said, “whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God. But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”

It’s easy to be faithful when the crowds are with you, raising hands, singing, having a good time. 

But when Jesus went to the cross, even His closest friends scattered, unable to handle it. We can handle triumphant, but we can’t always handle dying to ourselves or acknowledging that a relationship with Jesus means everything, every part of our life surrendered and yielded.

“In every Christian’s heart there is a cross and a throne, and the Christian is on the throne till he puts himself on the cross; if he refuses the cross, he remains on the throne…We all want to be saved but we insist that Christ do all the dying.” — A.W. Tozer

[Photo: Daisy Farhat, CreationSwap]