Today is Palm Sunday. It marks the beginning of the last week in the life of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Matthew 21:1-11 tells us that Jesus was making his way to Jerusalem with his disciples for the Passover celebration. There was nothing extravagant about the way he traveled. In fact, it was just the opposite. He rode into Jerusalem on an animal associated with lowliness and humility. Surrounded by throngs of people from all different villages, I’d venture to say that most of them didn’t understand that Jesus was their Passover lamb. As he rode in, they threw down their clothes and palm branches. It was a coronation. It was a declaration of his kingship. The people shouted out loud, “ Hosanna to the Son of David!” They cried out, “ Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
What an amazing sight it must have been! They praised him for being their “Deliverer.” I’m curious though, how many people quietly pondered the contradiction and secretly wondered why their mighty deliverer was coming upon the scene so gently and humbly. Shouldn’t he have made a more spectacular entrance? He was after all, going to snatch them out of the clutches of the Roman empire. Hosanna means “Save us!” As they cried out, “Save us! Deliver us!” most people believed that the Messiah would deliver them from problems here on earth. They thought he would deliver them from the oppression of Rome. In short, they wanted this Messiah but only on their terms. We see that this is so because later on, in Matthew 27, many of the same people who shouted, “Hosanna!” were now shouting, “Crucify him!” Jesus would be their Messiah but only to the extent that he was what they wanted him to be. And, when he wasn’t they would turn on him.
We can criticize these people and point out their hypocrisy but the truth is, at some level, can’t you relate? I know I can. I’m a Christian. I claim that Jesus is my Lord. I boast in his deliverance! Yet, there are areas of my life where I would rather see him crucified than submit to his Lordship. I make him out what I want him to be and then proclaim “Hosanna!”
Jesus is going to return. But, the next time around He’s coming as the reigning king. Heaven will open up and our eyes will see him. He will be on a white horse, he will be wearing a robe dipped in blood, and the armies of heaven will accompany him (Revelation 19:11-16). The lesson for us: Submit to his kingship now. Bend the knee now. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords will come and, “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” Today he comes as the “Suffering Servant,” rich in mercy and more ready to extend forgiveness than we are to repent. Tomorrow He comes to judge and make war.
Let’s get it right today!