Mark 11 tells the story of the beginning of Jesus’ final week of his life before his crucifixion. He entered Jerusalem on Sunday, and he was crucified on Friday. They shouted Hosanna – Save – to Jesus as he entered, yet he would do it through his death…
7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts.
The cheers on Sunday as he entered were the cheers of people ushering in their earthly king who would reign on the throne of David. The cheers on Friday were to crucify him, and that they have no king except Caesar. How contrary. How telling. The religious leaders did everything in their power to change and manipulate the hearts of the masses. And somehow it worked.
Yet on Palm Sunday, so named because of the branches they laid before him on his route into Jerusalem, they cheered. They welcomed Jesus as the one who would restore the throne of David. After three years of public ministry in Israel, Jesus had demonstrated his identity, his power, and his mercy toward the people. They saw him as Messiah.
And with that they also expected that there would be a physical changing of the guard. They were under Roman rule, and so Messiah would change all that. He would free them. They thought Jesus’ kingdom was physical. It is, yet it is spiritual first. The physical kingdom of Jesus is the last and eternal part of the plan of God. And it won’t deliver in their lifetimes.
There is a lot going on in the back story of Palm Sunday. Yet there is still reason to shout Hosanna. There is good reason to praise the name of Jesus. Hosanna means ‘save’ and Jesus is the Saviour. They correctly attribute salvation to the Lord Jesus. And he came in the name of the Lord. Bless Jesus for coming in the name of the Lord. Praise his name as our Saviour.
In our lives, we need a Saviour. We have established the thrones of ourselves and the world in our lives. We have made earthly things our emphasis. And so when we see Jesus coming, we shout Hosanna, because he comes in the name of the Lord to overshadow and replace the human structures we have put in place.
He rode into town on a humble donkey. We praise Jesus that he was born in humble estate, he lived in humility, and he died the death of a criminal. In praising Jesus for his life here on earth we praise him for humbly taking on his life and death entirely for us. Because we need to be saved.
Blessed be the lamb of God.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna to the King.