Ever tried to write something and not really know where to begin? Some people suggest that the best way to write is with the end in mind. Map out your conclusion and then work toward the end. Jesus always had the end in mind and although tempted, never wavered from the goal. It was God’s plan that everything would culminate in Jerusalem – but his disciples had other plans. They had seen Jesus’ popularity rise and wane over three years and they wanted to force his hand, to make him use his power to be the type of Messiah that they wanted; someone who would defeat the Romans and give them their freedom – but that was never on Jesus’ agenda.
Have you ever been in a place where a crowd of people were cheering on someone to do something…like a sporting event or an encore after a concert? Often the accolades of the crowd lift the person to greater heights – to do more – to do better. But sometimes what the crowd wants may influence a person to do something that they had never intended. Crowds can have a life of their own…it’s so easy to get caught up and go along with the crowd. But then you wonder who started the chant…and what was their agenda?
The people chanted ‘Hosanna’, which is a word that is commonly used to express praise of joy. But originally it also had another meaning – ‘save us’! It was a cry for a saviour to come and rescue the people who needed deliverance. Who started the chant? It’s seems logical that some of Jesus’ enthusiastic followers called out ‘hosanna’, ‘blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord’ and ‘peace in heaven and glory in the highest’! They knew the scriptures and saw Jesus entry into Jerusalem as a peaceful coup…the Messiah – the King with God’s authority has arrived…and the people followed with the chant ‘save, save, save’ as if Jesus was entering into Jerusalem as a conquering war hero; but that was furthest from the truth.
The people didn’t realise that everything that Jesus did fulfilled what the prophets had said hundreds of years before – even riding on a donkey and the people shouting hosanna. God had a plan and Jesus was going to finish what he had started. How quickly a crowd can change! How quickly can your own supporters become your biggest critics when you do not meet their expectations. What Jesus’ disciples anticipated and what the crowds hoped for would soon become unfulfilled expectations…because they did not understand God’s big picture.
What the people saw as the fulfilment of Jesus’ messianic kingship was a temptation much like the one the devil gave him in the wilderness; to accept the accolades of the people and become their king – by power and force… but to do that was to step away from God’s ultimate plan – which wasn’t just political freedom for the down trodden Jews; but the eternal salvation of the whole of humanity. Now that is something worth celebrating! Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Jesus saves! Glory to God in the highest – who through his sacrifice has brought peace on earth to all who would accept him for who he is…God’s chosen one!