Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed behind cried out, saying; Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest! Matt. 21:9
As many of you know, many Christians will gather together this Sunday to celebrate what we call Palm Sunday. When we celebrate Palm Sunday, we are celebrating a monumental occasion. Jesus rides into the city not on a horse but on a donkey. He comes as the humble King instead of the conquering king. The people wave palm branches in celebration. As all this is happening it’s important to understand the purpose for this day from the perspective of Jesus.
First, Jesus was orchestrating the event because his time had come. It is important to realize that the Triumphal Entry is the first time Jesus allowed the people to praise him as King. Every time before this he had forbidden them to do so because his time had not yet come, but it was now time. In allowing the people to praise him, he was bringing the wrath of both the Jewish and Roman leaders upon himself. He was not being pushed around by the principalities and powers; he was orchestrating them and setting things in motion for the passion week. He was fulfilling prophecy and coming to save us as prophesied by Zechariah.
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. – Zechariah 9:9
Second, Jesus was being selected as the Passover lamb according to Old Testament law. Jesus said he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, and he does this in many ways. One fascinating detail he fulfilled has to do with Passover. Matthew Henry points out, “The Passover was on the fourteenth day of the month, and this [the triumphal entry] was the tenth.” The 10th day of the month was significant concerning Passover. We read this in Exodus 12:3,5-6 “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house….Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” As Jesus was riding in and the people were crying “Hosanna in the highest,” little did they now they were selecting the perfect lamb for sacrifice; the one and only sacrifice that can take away sin and cause death to pass over us.
Finally, Jesus was marching to his death, and he knew it. Jesus was not merely riding into the city, but riding forward to his death. He knew by the end of the week he would be beaten, spit upon, and crucified, but the thought of this torturous death was not the most grueling image he would have foreseen. It would have been thoughts of that final moment when he was to take on the sins of us who call him Lord, and his Father, whom he had obeyed perfectly, would turn his face away from his Son and pour out his justice and wrath. In anguish, he knew, he would cry out “Father why have you forsaken me.” On the way to the cross, the entry must have been bittersweet.
As we consider this moment we know that nothing could have hindered him from reaching his goal. As he rode, his mind would have most likely been directed to those he came to save. Maybe he saw our faces, knowing that without his death, he would have to watch us die. For we were born sinners, hopeless, and condemned already. Maybe he looked at us as a man who would look into the eyes of his bride as disease steals her away. Whatever he was thinking, he was not going to let anything stand between him and those he came to save. His desire to see his Father glorified and his love for us drove him forward, and when the time of the crucifixion came, he reached His destination. Upright, between two thieves, nailed to the cross, and having a spear thrust into His side, the cleansing blood and water flowed. His final cry was “It is finished.” The purchase had been made, and the powers of hell had been broken, and Sunday was right around the corner. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, “no sin of the believer can now be an arrow to mortally wound him.” All of us who have faith in Him and have been saved by His grace, have every reason to sing, Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed Be the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the Highest!
This Sunday at South Side we talk about four reasons Jesus was a different kind of king. Worship begins at 10:45 and we would love to have you worship with us!
South Side Church of Christ