On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.”
– John 12:12-13 (all caps section is quotation from the Psalms)
The event described here has come to be called by many “Palm Sunday.”
What’s amazing about Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was it began the most amazing week in the history of the world. Crowds are cheering Jesus as He enters the city at the beginning of the week, He’s crucified on Friday, and raised from the dead on Sunday! Never did a roller coaster have highs so high or lows so low. There’s no other week like it. Not even the creation week – amazing as it was – could top this one for amazement!
The “feast” mentioned is the Passover which would have brought Jews from all over to Jerusalem. The shouting crowds were quoting this:
O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
– Psalm 118:25-26 (emphasis added)
The word “Hosanna” is a Hebrew expression for the petition to “save.” The Jews at this point in time saw Jesus, being a descendant of David and having a significant following, to be their new king who would lead them in throwing off the Roman occupation of their country.
As the week progressed, it would become clearer that Jesus had not come to save Israel from the Romans but rather to save sinners from their sins. Alas, the people were more interested in the former than the latter. Therefore, when the religious leaders out of jealousy declared Jesus a heretic, and it became clear that Jesus – unlike Muhammad or Joseph Smith – was not assembling an army to lead, the crowds went along. Even when given a chance by Pontius Pilate to pardon Jesus, the crowds chose to pardon a notorious prisoner named Barabbas instead.
What an indictment of human nature that we can be shouting the praises of God one day and giving up hope in Him just days later.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Jesus, let me not be fickle toward You…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)