We have arrived at Holy Week, and I would like to sharpen our focus on the final week of our Lord’s earthly ministry, leading up to the cruel cross on the hill Golgotha. I want to highlight the incredible events leading up to the first Easter Sunday under these three headings: The Prophecy, The Palm, and The Prince. Today . . . the Prophecy.
The great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, “Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:12-15)
What a scene that must have been; a great crowd of people lining the road leading into Jerusalem, waving palm branches and shouting, “Hosanna” (which means “Save now!”). “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” they cried. They believed they were seeing the fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy that the Jewish people had been anticipating for centuries.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)
These teeming throngs of people greeting Jesus with shouts of joy knew Zechariah’s prophecy well. “O Daughter of Zion” was a common title for the people of God, as well as for Jerusalem, the holy city of God. As for “your king,” the crowds were undoubtedly recalling the many times this royal descendant of David had been promised in sacred Scripture.
The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. (Psalm 132:11)
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
But what were they expecting as a result of the fulfillment of this prophecy? Certainly not what they got! They wanted a conquering king who would remove the heavy boot of Rome from their necks. They wanted a return to the glory days of Israel. And over the course of just a few days, we will see that their joyful cries of “Hosanna!” turned into harsh shouts of “Crucify Him!” The people did not understand that the King must first come as a Suffering Servant before He would return as a Conquering King.
There’s a lot more to this greatest story ever told; I hope you’ll come back for “The Palm” on Wednesday!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!