People dream of getting a welcome like the one Jesus received as he entered Jerusalem. Over my lifetime, only athletes who win Super Bowls or the World Series for their city get that kind of hero’s celebration. For Jesus, the excitement and acceptance of the people may have had the same intensity as a grateful city after the big win, but his was a celebration of promise, of victory to come, of hope in what he was going to do as their ruler, their savior, and their messiah.
Jesus entered Jerusalem symbolically and prophetically riding on a donkey in order to fulfill the Scripture in Zechariah 9:9. The coming king would be righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. The donkey was the symbol of peace, not war, humility, not pride.
Jesus had privately revealed to his disciples (Matthew 16:13-20) that he was the messiah, but here he is letting it be publicly pronounced. It looked like the people were for Jesus and were on board with him as their future leader despite the symbolism he presented riding on a donkey. Matthew 21:8-9 says:
“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 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!’”
The palm branches and cloaks were an outward expression of paving the way for his leadership and showing “I’m in,” or “you can count on me.”
What irony that this hero’s welcome would be followed by the same crowd chanting Jesus’ death in just a few days.
LIVE THE STORY
Is there irony in your allegiance to Jesus? Are you presenting your love for and dedication to him one way in front of some people and another before others? Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33, whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. Ask the Lord to reveal any inconsistencies and pray today for the strength to live out your faith before the people around you with consistency and boldness.
By John Riley
Junior High Pastor