by Pastor James May
Luke 19:29-38, "And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest."
Matthew 21:7-11, "And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee."
After the Normandy invasion Paris waited for liberation. The resistance tracked the slow progress out of the Normandy coast and towards Paris. On August 19, the Communist-led French resistance rose up against the German army commanded by General Dietrich Choltitz. At first the German commander tried to work out a truce with the Free French under Charles de Gaulle, but negotiations broke down and the Germans counterattacked with tanks. Hitler, who had ordered the city destroyed, asked his staff, “Is Paris burning?”
Upon hearing the threat against Paris, General De Gaulle and the Free French threatened to pull out of the Allied plans and make a dash for Paris to relieve the resistance and save the city on their own. The German general did not follow Hitler’s orders to burn the town. He did not want to go down in history as the man who ordered the destruction of Europe’s favorite city, the “City of Lights”. General Eisenhower had decided to bypass the city, but de Gaulle convinced him that little resistance would be met if the Allies took Paris.
The resistance and the advancing Americans wiped out the few remaining collaborators and German pockets of resistance and by August 25th Paris was free.
General De Gaulle entered the city the next day as a conquering hero. After four long hears of suffering under the occupation of German SS Troops and the Gestapo, Paris could finally breathe freely once again. He addressed Parisians and the world: “Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated!”
Today we that are Christians observe the entrance of another conqueror into a city that was under occupation of foreign military troops.
Jerusalem was celebrating the Triumphal Entry of our Lord Jesus Christ into the city. Jesus came riding into the city on a donkey early on the first day of the week. As he rode down the path to the city gates, passing under the massive stone gate and walls of the city, and into the street, multitudes came out to greet him and to make him welcome to their city. Their cry to him was Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest. !
The earthly ministry of Christ was at an end. The plan of God for the salvation of mankind was nearing its completion. We all know that Jesus would soon be going to the cross to die but it’s hard for us to imagine how that the same crowds who praised and looked to Jesus as their Messiah on Palm Sunday would so quickly turn into the mob that demanded his crucifixion less than 5 days later.
What brought about such a huge change in their attitudes? What was it that caused them to change their minds so dramatically?
Let us begin by remembering just a few events that had happened in the short period of Jesus’ public ministry prior to his riding into Jerusalem on the donkey.
Jesus had performed many miracles of healing and deliverance during his 3 ½ years of ministry. He had turned the water into wine, cast out the demons of the man of the Gadarenes, raised the widow of Nain’s son from the dead, and just a few days before he came riding into town he had raised Lazarus’ from the grave. Of course there were many more great miracles that were performed, too numerous for us to innumerate here, but suffice it so say that he had gained a large following of people who began to believe that he was their promised Messiah, the one who would come to deliver them from bondage.
As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the colt that day, he entered the city as a King, but he rode in as one who would enter to signify that his was a peaceful entry.
When Kings entered as conquerors, they would enter riding upon a prancing stallion at the head of their military entourage. But when they entered in peace they would ride upon a colt. No matter how the king entered the people were obliged to turn out to praise them as they rode through the gates.
Jesus, being the very Son of God, could have chosen to enter Jerusalem that day on a prancing stallion, but this was not God’s plan so Jesus did not ride into Jerusalem as a conqueror. He came in on the colt to signify that his reign would usher in a time of peace. His kingdom was not to be a kingdom that would be taken by might of man, to cast out those who reigned over Israel. His kingdom would be a kingdom of peace that would be established in the hearts of those who believed upon him.
Along with Jesus came the 12 disciples, walking behind him. Then followed the crowds who had gone out to meet him as he approached the city. His disciples had thrown their coats over the colt like a blanket or a saddle and the crowds were casting their coats upon the ground and throwing palm branches along the path for him to ride upon.
Placing their coats and the palm branches upon the ground was a symbol of honoring the King with their own support. It was as though they were saying, “We will help you, support you, fight for you, serve you and you may reign over us as our King.”
Then they would cry out those words over and over again, “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.”
What were they saying by shouting these words? I have always thought that they were shouting praises to Jesus for being a prophet of God and because they believed him to be the Messiah and that is true but that’s not all they were saying by shouting Hosanna!
You see, there is a double meaning to the shout of Hosanna!
Firstly, it was a shout of praise, of glorifying the Son of God. There were many present who believed that Jesus was the Son of God. All of his miracles had convinced them that he was who he claimed to be. These were shouting an exclamation of praise when they screamed “Hosanna to the Son of David”. This was their way of saying that we know that you are the Messiah and so we praise you.
Can you imagine what this scene must have looked like? As he came nearer and nearer to the city the shouts of the people who followed him and those who lined the streets would grow ever louder. When he entered the gate, the crowds waiting inside joined with those who followed and together their shouts began to build into a deafening roar. The sound of their praise carried through a large part of the city and even those who did not know what was going on began to run to see who this was that was causing such an uproar.
When things are happening and crowds begin to gather, people will often run to see what’s going on. We are all naturally curious.
While the crowds and the disciples shouted the praises of their Messiah, the religious leaders were greatly troubled and offended. Who does this Jesus think that he is to enter Jerusalem as a King? Their authority was threatened and so they demanded the crowds to stop shouting. That’s when Jesus said that if the people didn’t praise him that the very rocks would cry out!
This was his moment of recognition for who he was. Jesus was the Son of God. He was the Messiah of Israel. He was their King. But, they would never understand the fullness of just who he was because he was not coming to establish his kingdom upon the earth.
Yes, they cried Hosanna – Praise Jesus, the Son of David, praise Jesus, the Messiah, Praise Jesus, our deliverer, but they really didn’t fully know who Jesus was.
Now there is a second meaning to this word Hosanna. It also means “save now, or save I pray!”
As the crowd shouted Hosanna, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest”, and “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest,” they were actually crying out to Jesus to begin the revolution that would free them from Roman rule.
Now we can begin to understand why their attitude would change so quickly in the coming days. They fully believed that Jesus was their Messiah who would come to usher in a day of freedom, peace and prosperity for the nation of Israel and that they would be free from slavery and oppression of the Romans and that they would finally know the peace that God had promised.
That’s the kind of Messiah that mankind is still looking for right now! People don’t want to serve a God who will establish his kingdom of peace in their hearts with a promise of an eternal reward to come. They want a Messiah that will give them a perfect life on this earth and give them a kingdom here and now.
We forget that Jesus says in Matthew 10:34-36, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household."
Jesus didn’t ride in Jerusalem on the colt that day to signify that he would establish an earthly kingdom of peace and prosperity. He was riding in as the Messiah but he would bring more of a division than deliverance.
His provision for the deliverance of Israel would not be acceptable to them. The Jews didn’t want a sacrifice for sin; they wanted a King. They didn’t want a spiritual deliverer; they wanted an earthly deliverer. They didn’t want a Messiah that would be a lamb led to the slaughter who would die on the cross for them; they wanted a Messiah that would lead them in battle and live for them as a conquering hero.
That is ever man’s trouble. We keep our focus only on what is visible to the eye, or that can be touched by our hand. Our vision is earthly and physical, not eternal and spiritual.
Most people, even those who call themselves Christians, are just as blind to what God is doing in our day as those Jews were on that day. We must remember that this life is only a preparation time and that our Messiah is a deliverer of the heart, the soul and the spirit – not of this earthly existence. Jesus cares for us, provides for this earthly body and meets our every need but this earthly body is not what he died for. It’s only temporary.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "… For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."
In another passage of scripture we can see that this body of flesh that we live in like a tent right now, cannot enter Heaven because of the corruption that is upon it. This body of flesh is under the curse of sin, but thank God I won’t have to carry it around forever! I’m going to get a new body, without the power of sin upon it. It will be a body that doesn’t need blood to survive, for it will be given live by the power of the Spirit.
1 Corinthians 15:51-54, "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory."
This is why Jesus rode into Jerusalem that day. It was a Triumphal Entry in the greatest sense of the word. He rode in as the King who was coming to conquer death, hell and the grave. He was coming in as the conqueror of Satan and every power of darkness and evil. He was coming in to establish his victory over sin once and for all, but he was not coming in as a liberating King to set Jerusalem free from Roman rule!
A conquering king was what Jerusalem wanted, but Jesus was not be that king that they desired and so we can see that the same crowd who waved the palm branches and threw them and their clothes in the street for Jesus to ride upon would be the crowd who would turn against him so very quickly.
Their shouts of praise would turn into shouts of anger! Their palm branches would become torches, signifying the hatred that began to burn within them because they felt betrayed and misled. This man who claimed to be their Messiah was nothing more than a liar as far as they were concerned. The only remedy to his treasonous behavior was death and that’s what they shouted for. It didn’t take much encouragement from the religious leaders to stir up the people.
So that we won’t think that the Jews are the only ones to blame for rejecting Jesus and then screaming for his crucifixion, I want to remind you how we react to him in our day and time.
There are many today who will confess their belief in Jesus as their Savior. It’s not hard to find people who claim to be Christian. But it is hard to find people who live as a Christian should live! Why is this so?
Too many people come to Christ, accepting him as their Messiah, their Deliverer, their Savior, with the same attitude that the Jews had. They want a Messiah who will give them a perfect life. They are looking for an earthly King who will give them a life of peace, safety, health, prosperity and happiness. While Jesus can and does give us many blessings in this life, we must never forget that he didn’t die for us to have a good life on this earth. He died for us to have eternal life!
You will see multitudes of people who will shout Hosanna to the Lord this morning, but which Hosanna are they shouting?
Are they shouting Hosanna, praise the Lord, the Savior of the World, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Hosanna to the Lord of my life. Hosanna to the one who died for me and saved my from my sins. Glory to his wonderful name!
Or, are they shouting Hosanna, “save us now, save us”, save us from our burdens. Save us from our troubles. Save us from our sicknesses. Save us from our family troubles. Save us from the storms of life, but don’t try to control my life because I want to be free to live as I please without the interference of God’s laws and his word.
I want us to look back and remember the events of that Palm Sunday long ago and then think of what we are shouting today!
If we are shouting Hosanna for the right reasons, then this Palm Sunday and the Easter that we will celebrate next week will carry such a wonderful meaning for us. We will know that Jesus came as the Messiah for he has cleansed us from sin and given us peace within and established his kingdom within our hearts forever.
If we are shouting Hosanna for the wrong reason, then not only Palm Sunday, but Easter will have little significance for us. What difference does it make that there is a Messiah, a deliverer, a Savior, if we are unwilling to accept the great gift that he has given to us because it doesn’t meet our own expectations or desires?
Let’s shout Hosanna to the Lord this morning. Let’s praise him for being the Son of God. Let’s worship him as the Lord of our lives. Let’s give thanks to Jesus for what he has done for us.
Shout Hosanna! Lay down your life before him! Recognize Jesus as your Lord, your God and your Messiah! He has come to bring peace to your heart and soul and to give you eternal life. He deserves all of our praise!
Jesus desires to enter the doors of your heart right now. He does not come to you as a conquering hero, with his unlimited power to force his will upon you. He comes to your door as a peaceful deliverer. Jesus gently calls to every heart, asking if we will open the door and allow him to become our King and the Lord of our lives.
He is still coming as a peaceful king for now. He enters the heart of every man as though he were still riding on that donkey, coming as the King of Peace and the King of Life. Will you shout Hosanna as you allow him to come in? Will you shout blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord? Even so, come Lord Jesus. Come and establish your kingdom of eternal life within me!
We can either accept him this morning as our deliverer, or we will soon see him coming as a conqueror!
John saw the final “Triumphal Entry” of Jesus in his vision on the Isle of Patmos.
Revelation 19:11-16, "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
In the that great day Jesus will come again, with all the armies of Heaven’s angels and the saints coming after him, every one of us riding on a prancing stallion, entering into this world behind our King, entering in as conquering heros, as heirs and joint heirs with Christ, entering to serve as rulers, kings and priests with in Him to set up his earthly kingdom!
Jesus will enter as King of King and Lord of Lords and every knee show bow before him; every tongue shall confess and cry out, Hosanna; blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Every life shall be cast before him. All the might of man shall fall as palm branches beneath the feet of his white stallion.
In that day, all the earth will know that he had come Triumphant over the powers of Satan!
I want to be riding with him, don’t you? I want to be a part of his conquering army, not a part of the crowd that are forced to shout, forced to kneel and forced to be trampled under his feet as a conquered enemy.
Jesus is coming soon! The way is open for his last “Triumphal Entry”! Will you be riding with him?
Accept him now as your King of Peace and Deliverance from sin. Surrender your life to him now! Or you will face him as your Conquering King in the end but you will never know his peace, only his wrath!
Open your heart right now and let Jesus ride in today. He is before you right now, gently pleading, gently knocking, asking for your permission to ride into your life and to give you eternal life.