googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Palm Sunday – The Triumphant Entry

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Palm Sunday – The Triumphant Entry

"And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee." Matthew 21:6-11

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on what is now known as Palm Sunday, He received a hero’s welcome. After all, He was looked upon as a deliverer, the one who would rescue the Jews from their Roman oppressors. They called Him the son of David and expected Him to take the throne that David once held. As I read the account in Matthew, I’m reminded of a similar scene when David was welcomed after defeating Goliath:
And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick. And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. 1 Samuel 18:6-7
David was their deliverer then and they wanted Jesus to be their deliverer now. His entrance into Jerusalem to the accolades of many is sometimes called The Triumphant Entry. He was the long awaited Messiah. However, Jesus’ plan wasn’t the same as those receiving Him.

The Jews were looking for a conqueror – someone who would break the yoke of Rome’s tyranny over the nation. They wanted the Messiah to overthrow Caesar’s kingdom and establish His own kingdom. It’s true that Jesus will one day return as the Conqueror; One day, He will come as the Lion – but first He had to come as the lamb.

The Bible says there were times that people wanted to make Jesus their king (John 6:14-15, et al) but Jesus rejected the idea. His plan was to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:9-10). He was the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). When He stood before Pilate, He didn’t proclaim Himself to be king; instead, He stood silently as a sheep before the shearer (Acts 8:32).

I can imagine the disappointment of the people less than a week later when they saw that Jesus was a prisoner of Pilate. The one in whom they had put their hope was now standing before them mocked, beaten, and humiliated. At the coaching of the Pharisees, they chose Barabbas (who had led an insurrection against Rome) for clemency over Jesus. Just a few days before, they hailed Jesus as the son of David; now they were crying, “Crucify Him!”

People are fickle. Some people want God to serve them rather than the other way around. They have a picture of who God is and how He is supposed to act. These people wanted God to rain fire down on their enemies but instead Jesus said, “Father forgive them” (Luke 23:34). They wanted Jesus to lead rebellion and Jesus said to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). They wanted the Messiah to be a conqueror – not sometime in the future but now! And when Jesus wasn’t, they didn’t want anything to do with Him. They wanted Him to be their king – next they wanted Him dead.

I hope to live to see the return of Christ. I long to hear that trumpet sound and be delivered from this world. I want to see the Lion of Judah. But I’m more glad for the Lamb! We sometimes want God to do things our way; I like God’s plan better.

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