Monday, April 14, 2014

And So It Begins

And so it begins.

What a mixed day of emotions this was for Jesus. Everything had been pointing to this moment in history. From before the beginning of time, everything Jesus, Father and the Spirit did was moving toward this moment. Now here he was, facing Jerusalem, surrounded by those whom he loved and who loved him, yet knowing the heart of man.

We often talk about the triumphal entry into Jerusalem but I wonder if we ever stop to take note of some of the details. Each of the gospels adds a little bit to the event. It is like witnessing any event; each witness sees a little something that the others didn’t see. It is the reason we have four accounts of Jesus.

Three of the four note that Jesus sent two disciples to procure a donkey for him and two of them note how this was to fulfill prophecy:

“Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’” (Zechariah 9:9)

The king arriving on a donkey signifies peace whereas the king arriving on a horse speaks of war and conquest. When Jesus returns again it will be on a horse, the conquering King. But what about all this singing and proclamation of Jesus? Here we need to look at the sequence of events.

Remember this was Passover time and thousands of pilgrims were coming to Jerusalem to celebrate. Most of these pilgrims were coming from areas where Jesus’ fame was well known. There was a great feeling already as these pilgrims made their way to their destination. Many would we celebrating, singing songs of praise, chatting with other pilgrims. Then they see Jesus with his disciples and the disciples were laying their cloaks before Jesus who was riding a donkey. And other disciples were singing:
Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen, saying:
“ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:37-38)

The multitude of pilgrims could not resist the excitement of the disciples. Already in a festive mood they gladly joined in:
And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:8-9)

Then those pilgrims who were already in the city heard what was going on outside the city and ran to be part of it:
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!” (John 12:12-13)

John gives us a little insight why so many were proclaiming Jesus as king; why so many were so excited:

Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. (John 12:17-18)

But this did not mean everyone was with him. It did not mean anyone understood what he was facing. Not even his disciples understood, even though Jesus had been plainly telling them of late. Even in the midst of this jubilation there was a reminder to Jesus what lay before him:

And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”
But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40)

And just because this great multitude of pilgrims knew who Jesus was and what he had done does not mean the citizens of Jerusalem knew or were for him:

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” (Matthew 21:10)

Can you understand then who would comprise the crowd who, in a week’s time, would call out “Crucify him!”? It was a complicated day as Jesus came into Jerusalem, a day that marked the last week for Jesus.

My question to you is, where do you fit in to all of this? Are you just part of the crowd going with the flow of all the excitement? Are you part of the crowd who asks, “Who is this”? Are you one who plots against Jesus? Or are you one of his disciples, who may not understand everything at this stage but one who trusts him? However you see yourself, I pray this week, as you seek to know Jesus better, you will come to know him as he who died for your forgiveness and who was raised from the grave for your eternal life. I pray you will come face to face with the King of kings and will give yourself fully to him so that you may praise him in all earnestness.

Hosanna! indeed.

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