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The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
Matthew 21:9 (NIV)
Jesus had been in their midst for three years. They had watched Him heal the sick. They had watched Him feed the 5,000 and the 4,000. They had seen Him send the moneychangers fleeing from the temple, but was He the king they had been looking for?
There were doubts here and there because He did not appear as royalty. He had no kingly trappings. He had not gathered an army to stop Roman domination. Could this truly be the Messiah?
God had used many things to confirm the Old Testament prophecies about Jesus. Somehow doubt lingered, but then on Palm Sunday He gave them another image unlike the others and they quickly responded in their behavior even though days later their hearts would be far from Him.
The ride into Jerusalem on a donkey fulfilled one more prophecy from Zechariah. He came on a lowly donkey, not in a chariot with runners ahead clearing the way and bidding people to bow.
It was a day of great joy and celebration at the outset of what would be a dark and tragic week.
It was also a day that points to the changeableness of the human mind and heart. It paradoxically points to the very reason He would be put to death later in the week and why His death would be necessary to pay for the sinful condition of humanity.
Did they truly recognize Him? Would we?
The crowd saluting Him would be influenced by their priests to deny what they had seen for themselves. It is an important reminder of personal accountability for our relationship with Him and the need not to allow others to deter us from what our hearts have responded to and confirmed.
This pivotal week in the Christian faith stirs many emotions and thoughts. We look back and consider, but do we also take note of the now and the not yet?
Are we tempted to lay aside His principles, and truths for a more popular path?
Would we prefer an easy stroll behind Him rather than walking with Him?
I don’t think that most of us ever plan to do any of those things.
But ANY relationship left unattended falls into disrepair and distance.
As we look back and take note and learn, we also should remember to look forward to the next time He will arrive in Jerusalem in triumph. He will come as risen Lord and King.
Will we be ready to ride with Him?
Will He find us steadfast and unwavering?
Dear Lord, as we look to this Palm Sunday, awaken our hearts to draw close to you with an unwavering devotion. Let us look back and celebrate, take stock of our hearts now, and prepare for the greater celebration yet to come when our voices join in Hosanna to the King! We don’t want to miss you!