Summary: Four faces or people that were probably in the crowd on Palm Sunday and what we can learn from them.

“Faces in the Crowd”

April 1, 2012

Matthew 21:1-9

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Parades are great! In Mount Shasta, probably the high point in the community is our Fourth of July celebration. Our little community swells by 10,000 people or more. Many of them come because of our Fun Run that we have before the parade, but nearly everyone lines the streets to watch the parade. Later, after a day of barbecues and celebrations in varies ways, most wind their way down to the lake to end the day by watching fireworks.

Julie and I always find a spot to watch the parade – mostly because we have so many friends in it. The last few years our granddaughters, Chey and Cassidy rode their horses in it – all decked out in patriotic colors. Often as we push our way through the crowds we will run into old friends. We have to stop and share in the excitement and get caught up on what they have been doing. It’s a fun time. Parades are wonderful!

Can you imagine Jesus on Palm Sunday? The town was teeming with people from all over the world that had come to the holy city to celebrate Passover. All the passionate and dedicated Jews would have been there. Like Mount Shasta on the forth of July, Jerusalem was inundated with visitors. As Jesus slowly rode down the hill into Jerusalem, there were people from all over the world who had come to celebrate God deliverance of the Jews from Egypt. It represented to them freedom from slavery and God’s special love for them, and the promise of future blessings.

There must have been thousands to share in the Passover celebration. And now – they were sharing in the coronation of their King. Only a king comes in the manner in which Jesus did. And Jesus let Himself be received in this way as King. The people shouted “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Hosanna is a Hebrew world translated as “Saves”. The people were recognizing Jesus as their Savior. They were recognizing Him as their king. They were recognizing Him as the Messiah – the Son of David. What a glorious time of celebration it must have been!

I imagine, as Jesus’ eyes swept over the crowd, that many were strangers; at least, He was a stranger to them. I’m sure He had the ability to know each one’s heart – but many of them had never seen Him before. But some He did know. Some He knew very well. Some had received His touch and were never the same again. I want to take a little closer look at four faces in the crowd that Jesus saw on Palm Sunday. Maybe we can see some of ourselves in them.

The first familiar face Jesus saw was Mary Magdalene. Do you remember her? In Luke 8 we learn that Mary Magdalene was one of a group of women in the Galilee area who financially provided for Jesus and His disciples. We also read that in the past, Jesus had freed her from seven demons. Early Church history identifies her as the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair in Simon the Pharisee’s home. It says she was a prostitute with seven demons that Jesus cast out – and she was literally eternally grateful. Scriptures says she, not only helped Jesus financially, but she was the first one to see Him alive after the Resurrection.

Mary is a fascinating person. Some people claim she wrote a Gospel – the Gospel according to Mary Magdalene. I find that pretty ridiculous myself. First of all, they claim to have found it only a little over a hundred years ago. It was never mentioned by any of the early Church leaders or even discussed when they were putting together the cannon of Scripture. Secondly, Mary was probably illiterate. Most women of her day were. If she was a prostitute she was probably one because that was her only way to earn a living. She wouldn’t have had to do that if she could read and write. In Jesus’ day a women was no higher than a dog or a gentile in the eyes of society. So the chances of her being the author of a gospel, in my mind, are zero.

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