Today marks the start of Passion Week. A point on the calendar when Christians over the past couple millennia take time to remember and reflect on the final week of Jesus before His crucifixion. A lot took place in this monumental week, which was the pinnacle of Jesus’ three-year earthly ministry. From Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, history was forever changed. In the course of one seven-day period, Jesus went from being the people’s favorite to their worst criminal to exalted, risen Son of God. Therefore, let us take some time this week to meditate, study, and remember the journey Jesus took to purchase our redemption—the sacrifices He made, the pain He suffered, and the glory He received when He conquered death.
The week began with a great start. The crowds loved Jesus. They followed Him faithfully and on that sunny day that has since become known as Palm Sunday, they seized the opportunity to tell the world exactly what they thought of Jesus.
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’”
While on the surface the excited proclamations by the crowd looked like praise and worship, it was far from it. The Jews wanted to make Jesus king. They wanted to start a political and social movement that ended with Jesus overthrowing the oppressive government and reestablishing the throne of David. But this was not the purpose for which Jesus came. While Jesus did come to establish a kingdom, it was never intended to be a physical, political one but, rather, one in the hearts and lives of men.
But the people were clueless and only saw one possible purpose to Jesus’ ministry and popularity: redemption from the oppression of Rome. So they shouted until they were hoarse. They hailed Him as king and spent the day wrapped up in excitement, passion, and hype. However, in less than a week, these same individuals used their mouths to condemn Jesus to a criminal’s death.
What must Jesus have been thinking as He rode into Jerusalem surrounded by adoring fans that He knew would later reject Him? As He heard their cries of praise and blessing, did His heart ache?
While Jesus would bring redemption and victory in the coming week, this would not take place in the physical or political realm. Within seven days, Jesus would be lifted up as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and exalted to the Name that is above every other name. However, the journey to that place of victory was marked with pain, suffering, humiliation, and death.
The first-century Jews who shouted during Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem could only imagine one kind of victory and one kind of salvation. So when Jesus took the path of humility and surrender, they abandoned Him. They jumped ship and rejected the Messiah because He didn’t fit their preconceived mold. And therefore, they never got to witness the ultimate victory.
However, as Christians with two thousand years of hindsight, we can easily point fingers and give those first-century Jews a judgmental opinion. However, are we really any different? How often do we try to squeeze God into our personal boxes and try to make Him do and act the way we think best? How many times do we doubt the Lord when He does things contrary to our expectations?
Palm Sunday is a great reminder that God’s ways are not always our ways and His plans and purposes are often far bigger than we could ever dream. Therefore, as we reflect on and remember Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, let’s take some time to give Jesus a different “hosanna,” and praise Him for humbly coming and becoming the King we needed and not the king our fickle hearts wanted.
by Kari Jobe and The Belonging Co
You chose the road that led to suffering
Nothing was spared to prove Your love for me
Oh, the mystery
That Your final breath became eternity
What we had lost forever You redeemed, mmm
In the highest forever
The Lamb who was slain who rose in majesty
There's never a heart beyond Your victory
You are the one that we are welcoming
You are the one that we are welcoming, ooh-oh ooh
In the highest forever
Blessed is He, blessed is He
Who comes in the name of the Lord
Join now and sing, Jesus is King
He reigns forevermore
In the highest forever
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