John 12:12-15 says:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.13 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!” 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: 15 “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
Jerusalem would been crowded for the Passover .The crowd that had gathered would have heard about Jesus, being a great teacher, healer, miracle worker and some would have seen him as a likely person to lead them to freedom. They would had been waiting for a Messiah to come and rescue them from the occupation of the Romans.
So when they heard about Jesus coming into Jerusalem, they lined the road to greet him. Throwing cloaks and the branches of the trees, that were growing along the road, was like a red carpet being put out for someone important today, it showed respect and also helped the donkey to get a grip on the dusty road.
I understand the words that the crowd sang and shouted in praise were taken from Psalm 118: v 25,26 and were chanted in the temple during important festivals like Passover. It was also a custom for the people of Jerusalem to welcome important pilgrims to the city by singing the first verse, with the pilgrims responding with the second. I can imagine on this occasion the words were sung much more loudly and with more celebration than normal, also the crowd joined in all the verses, so this was very unusual and important.
The word ‘Hosanna’ means ‘God Saves!’ or ‘Save Now!’.
And yet others recognized that Jesus was a very important prophet who was popular with the people and special, although they didn’t think of him as the Messiah or Savior.
This week began with huge excitement and great expectations. As the week progressed the people, including the disciples, went from adulation to dejection, from excitement to disappointment and discouragement, from hope to disillusionment and from belief to unbelief.
They began the week proclaiming Him as King and ended the week rejecting Him. From proclaiming Him as King of the Jews to shouts of crucify Him.
It might look like a week in which the disciples dreams were shattered and their belief in Jesus as the Messiah was devastated.
Those disciples who proudly argued with one another about who was going to be the greatest and sit next to Jesus in heaven were now deserting Him.
Peter who had proclaimed Him as the Christ was now found denying Him 3 times.
Their belief in Jesus was so shattered that even after His resurrection they were slow to believe.
Just imagine we had traveled with Jesus that week – we would of started the week with the crowd shouting Hosanna. How would we finish the week in the crowd? Would we be part of the crowd that shouted crucify him?
I have noticed in times of difficulty…trial….how quickly we forget what we have seen, heard and experienced of Jesus. Those treasures can be lost in the moment.
We must be able to boldly confess what we believe.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:13:
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak.
We must speak out, even in the face of opposition.
Stand up and speak out live out the life style we have been called to walk – regardless of the opinion of the crowd.
(The biblical account of Palm Sunday can be found in Matt 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19)