A Radical Shift
The 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
We are getting ready to celebrate Palm Sunday this weekend.
What a radical shift that day was for Jesus!
He went from a small, private dinner with friends in Bethany (Mary, Martha) to a very public display. The traditional view is that Jerusalem finally recognized Jesus as the Messiah, fulfilling Zechariah 9:9: “Your king comes to you… gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt.”
But it was NOT the residents of Jerusalem who welcomed Jesus as their king.
The exuberant crowd was made up of the pilgrims, outsiders, people from Judea and Galilee and foreign countries who had traveled to the holy city for Passover.
Matthew’s gospel says, “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 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.
Some of the people who waved palm fronds and shouted “Hosanna!” that day would likely be in the crowd who cried “Crucify Him!” a few days later.
Jesus expressed His love for us in a public manner.
He played no games.
He wants our lives to be equally honest and forthright.
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 rejoice in the triumphant, but dying to ourselves is hard. A relationship with Jesus means everything, every part of our lives surrendered and yielded. Everything surrendered to a loving Savior who came to give us life “more abundantly,” Who blesses us with everything.
“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. Tozer1
1.Tozer, A.W., “The Root of Righteousness,” Christian Publications, p. 66