Summary: The Triumphal Entry ushered in Jesus' final week before his crucifixion. He was gathering a greater following and the religious leaders didn't like that. Jesus was being hailed as king.
“ALL HAIL THE KING!”
1) All hail the King! (Vs. 12-13). “The great crowd”. It was near the Passover and the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread celebration, where the population in Jerusalem rose from about 50,000 to over two million. Even though there was a huge crowd to witness his dramatic entry, Jesus wasn’t concerned about drawing attention to himself; he wasn’t focused on self-glorification. Remember in John 2 when he was in Cana at the wedding his mother prompted him to perform a miracle and his response was that it wasn’t his time. He performed the miracle in obedience to his mother but it was clear that he wasn’t about showing off for the crowd. Then in John 6, after he miraculously fed the 5,000 the people wanted to make Jesus king but he withdrew from them. He could’ve gone along with it and enjoyed the honor of men but he wasn’t about that; he wasn’t about seeking the spotlight. He waited until God said it was time. Now, at this special feast, it was time for Jesus to allow himself to be recognized as Israel’s king. The timing of Jesus riding into Jerusalem was significant because it also fulfilled prophecy. The late Ray Steadman wrote: "In the book of Daniel Chapter 9 we read a prophecy about 70 weeks. It is generally understood that the prophecy talks about "a special 490 years of Jewish history which would begin to run its course when the command was given to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity. When 483 of those years had elapsed, Daniel predicted, Messiah, the prince, would then be presented to his people. Two very interesting books by Sir Robert Anderson, "Messiah the Prince" and "Daniel the Prophet" trace the fulfillment of this prophecy, pointing out that on the very day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem 483 years had elapsed from the time of the issuing of the commandment to the rebuild the walls of Jerusalem." There’s a lesson here for us. God knows what he’s doing when he directs us. What might seem like good timing to us may not be to Him. We are told in Gal. 5:25 to “keep in step with the Spirit”. There’s good reason for that. If Jesus had not entered into Jerusalem when he did prophecy would not have been fulfilled. If we do things out of step with the Spirit certain things will not be fulfilled. Timing is everything. Let your life be directed by God’s timing; not your own. A royal reception (13). What’s the significance of the palm branches? They were considered symbols of peace and victory. This is fitting for Jesus as the Prince of Peace and the one who would be victorious over death. Ps. 118:25-27. “Hosanna” means ‘save us now’. It was a cry of urgency. They were eager for deliverance but deliverance from what? The Jews were under Roman rule. They weren’t the free nation they once were. The Jews were longing for the one who would restore their nation back to the way it was in the days of Solomon. So, in shouting, ‘Hosanna’ they could very well have meant, ‘Save us from these Romans!’ John 6:14-15. Why would they want to do make him king by force? I think it’s the same reason why they’re giving him this kingly reception now. They were eager to have a political Messiah who would get them out from underneath Roman rule and restore the freedom of Israel. In Matthew’s version of the “Triumphal Entry”, it says that some were laying down the palm branches while others ‘spread their cloaks on the road’ (Matt. 21:8). This was a symbol of recognizing and honoring Jesus as king. In 2nd Kings 9:13, when Jehu was anointed as king of Israel, it says that they took their cloaks and spread them under him. So we have three separate indicators that Jesus was receiving a king’s welcome: the palm branches, the declarations of the people and the spreading of the cloaks. Although it may have been politically motivated, Jesus was receiving a royal reception and being hailed as king.