“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Matthew 21:9.
On this day roughly 2000 years ago, Jesus of Nazareth rode into the city of Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The Jewish holiday of Passover was fast approaching and Jews from all over the world were returning to Jerusalem to make preparations for the holiday, and the population of Jerusalem increased dramatically during this period. The city was buzzing with activity, yet Christ’s arrival changed everything.
Everyone was aware of Christ’s entrance into the city. Matthew’s gospel says that the whole city was shaken from the loud cheers of adoration that the people were heaping upon him. The crowds waved palm leaves and cried “Hosanna,” which means “now we are saved,” to Christ, and called him the “son of David,” which is an Old Testament reference to the Messiah. Christ was being hailed as a king, as a conquering hero. All of these things–Christ riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, the cheers of the crowd, the names they called Christ– were done to fulfill Old Testament prophesies. Yet, the fame and popularity that Christ enjoyed on that Sunday was gone by Friday. By the end of that same week, the people that were cheering and welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem were cursing him and demanding him to be executed. This was done to fulfill prophesies as well.
More often that not, we are no better than the crowds in Jerusalem. We praise God and celebrate Jesus part of the time, yet our actions at other times do not back this up. Instead, we choose to act like everyone else, and we don’t seem to mind that an innocent man died to save us.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he knew he was entering the final week of his life. He knew that he was going to be crucified on Friday; and yet, he still did it, he still willingly chose to endure all that pain and humiliation for us. Why? Because Jesus loves us.