The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mathew 21: 9.
Palm Sunday is a day of mixed feelings no wonders it is described as a day of joy and suffering. Jesus himself and those acquainted with him knew that despite the shouts of hosanna, he was matching to his grave. Palm Sunday is the beginning of passion week, the passion week ends with resurrection on the following Sunday. It is a period filled with anguish and heartache for the Saviour. Jesus was not too moved amidst the shouts of the ‘Hosannas’ as he knew that the ‘Hosannas’ of one day would change into ‘crucify him’. This day has been described by Christians for generations as the “triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” But, have you ever asked yourself, “if this was a triumphal entry, then why did they crucify Jesus at the end of the week?”
It is not a new thing for men to praise or exalt their fellow human. Peter was selected by Christ to convey a most important message to Cornelius, a man whose prayers and alms had come up as a memorial before God. “Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshiped him. But peter took him up, saying, stand up; I myself also am a man.” acts 10:25, 26. When an angel was commissioned to convey an important message to john on the isle of Patmos, John said: “I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, see thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God.” the rich young ruler came to Christ saying: “good master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” to him Jesus said: “why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”
Which praises do you love the most? Praises from men or praises from God? Applause from men or applause from God? The same people that praised Jesus at the beginning of the week shouted him to be crucified same week. Let us not be carried away by the praises of men as it is only been heard when the “weather is favourable” we must exercise great care not to unduly exalt or praise those whom God is using to do a good and great work, remembering the weaknesses of human nature and the tendencies of the human heart toward self-exaltation. “the bible has little to say in praise of men. Little space is given to recounting the virtues of even the best men who have ever lived. This silence is not without purpose; it is not without a lesson. All the good qualities that men possess are the gift of God ; their good deeds are performed by the grace of God through Christ. Since they owe all to God, the glory of whatever they are or do belongs to him alone • they are but instruments in his hands. Today, Christians around the world are celebrating Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (which we usually call “palm Sunday,” because the crowd welcomed him by spreading palm branches in his path). Those who greeted him were convinced he was the messiah (or “anointed one”), sent by God to establish his kingdom on earth. It must have been a dramatic sight as Jesus approached Jerusalem on a donkey (which was a sign of his humility). The bible says that “the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices … ‘blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Luke 19:37-38). Even those who weren’t part of that welcoming crowd listened eagerly to his teaching during the next few days.
But not everyone in Jerusalem welcomed him; the very next verse says that “the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘who is this?’” but soon many turned against Jesus and demanded his death: “‘what shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘crucify him!’” (Matthew 27:22).
These weren’t necessarily the same people who had welcomed him—but the reversal is still striking. Were they disappointed because he refused to establish an earthly political kingdom? Probably. They may also have disliked his demand that they repent.
where would you have been on that first palm Sunday? Among the disciples who welcomed him—or among the skeptical crowds? It’s easy to condemn those who condemned Jesus—but would we have acted any differently? We too are sinners, and we too have rebelled against God.
But the central message of Easter is that God still loves us, and because of Christ we can be forgiven. He came for one reason: “Christ died for sins once for all … to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). May you welcome him into your life during this holy season.
Your brother, friend, pastor & archdeacon