This coming Sunday is referred to as ‘Palm Sunday’, for it is the day that Jesus made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. As he rode a young donkey through the streets, a large crowd gathered around him, waving palm branches and placing their garments in the street while crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! The King of Israel (John 12:12-19)!” But before the end of the week, another crowd would gather, demanding his crucifixion.
The triumphant entry was a fulfillment of prophecy, found in Zechariah 9:9, concerning the Messiah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” John tells us in verse 16 that the disciples did not understand these things, they did not see how Jesus ‘fit’ that picture of the Messiah. How could that possibly be? Didn’t these men know who Jesus was? Didn’t they understand the many claims that Jesus had made about himself? Hadn’t they seen the miracles? Hadn’t they been part of miraculous feedings of great multitudes? When they are presented with the exact image found in the prophet’s words, how could they not recognize it?
They missed seeing Jesus for who he really is for the same reason that we do; Jesus didn’t do it the way we would do it. A few days after Palm Sunday, these men will be distraught and most of them will flee in terror. They will do these things for the same reasons that we often become distraught and overwhelmed in this world. We don’t recognize Jesus’ plan because it doesn’t match our plans. I suspect that, had they realized the fulfillment of that prophecy, they would have more easily obeyed the command to ‘fear not’. But they didn’t get it. I’m sure that Jesus appeared less than “kingly” as he rode that donkey. In the same way, his plans for our lives don’t always look quite like what we imagine them. But, haven’t we experienced the great salvation that is found in Christ alone? Haven’t we seen him work in our lives in the past? Haven’t we known the peace that passes all understanding? Don’t we know that we have the Holy Spirit living and working in us? Don’t we know that it is still true that our King is coming? Then fear not!
I hope that you are planning to worship the Lord on Palm Sunday. If you do not have a church home, you will be welcomed at Antioch West Baptist Church in Magnolia!