Summary: Jesus entered Jerusalem that last week of His earthly life for all of us.
Text: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Luke 19:38)
Praise is a wonderful thing. All of us like to receive praise because it uplifts us, making us feel worthy, important, respected and appreciated. It is also interesting to note that words of praise can come from the same mouth as words of criticism making us feel unworthy, unimportant, disrespected, and unloved.
Palm Sunday is the beginning of the final week of Jesus’ incarnate life upon the earth. He knew what lay ahead, but it appeared the people shouting joyful praises of “Long live the King” did not understand His mission and what He would face as the week progressed.
We are like the people shouting and waving to Jesus in that all we know is what is going on at the moment. We cannot see into the future. We live by the moment. At times, we don’t understand why events are occurring in our life causing hurt and discomfort.
Since we don’t understand and since we can’t seem to help ourselves, we follow the words of the Psalmist who said, “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22).
Our Lord is always ready to bear what we cannot bear. He does not want to see us suffer or feel as though we cannot proceed in life. He gives us the strength to continue and carry on when we place our faith and trust in Him.
At the beginning of the final week of His earthly life, Jesus was on His final journey to Jerusalem. He would celebrate the great Passover festival with His disciples. Since it was Passover time, many Jews came from all areas of the Roman world to celebrate this festival.
The Passover feast is a celebration in remembrance of the exodus recorded in Exodus 12:37-51. The Exodus presumably took place some 1400 years before Jesus appeared incarnate upon the earth.
Passover is a special day set aside to celebrate the movement of the Israelites or the Jewish people from Egyptian captivity to freedom. It is also to celebrate the founding of Israel as a nation brought about by the redemptive action of Almighty God.
The people of Israel waited many years for the Messiah. They visualized their king to be an earthly king like kings of the past. A military type king was more in their line of thinking, but God did not send His Son to be an earthly king. The Father’s intention was that Jesus would be a heavenly king encompassing a kingdom far greater than David or any other king.
Jesus’ kingdom would never end because it would be a heavenly kingdom. Some considered Jesus king even at His birth while others gave him very little recognition. Some people soon realized that Jesus was different.
For example, when Jesus was twelve years of age and went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover with His parents, He failed to join His parents and the caravan on the return trip home.
“After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking He was in their company, they traveled for a day. Then they began looking for Him among their relatives and friends.
“After three days, they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you’” (Luke 2:44-48).
At twelve years of age, the Jewish boys are almost adults. They, like Jesus, did not hang on to the hand of their parents at these festivals. This very thing happens today. Once children reach a certain age, probably around 12 to 14, they want to hang-out with their friends.
They don’t want to be hugged or kissed by mom and dad when their friends are present. Their friends will think they are odd or strange and the young people will become embarrassed. This is probably the same thing that happened in Jesus’ day.
Jesus was a little different. He was found sitting among the teachers in the temple, asking and answering question that had a great deal of depth. He knew the answers to their questions and He also asked question that made them think. In other words, Jesus was not your normal average twelve-year-old.
Jesus became aware He was God’s Son when He said to His parents: “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Jesus knew His real father. Yes, He had an earthly father, but He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Although He knew His real Father, Jesus did not show disrespect for earthly parents.