Summary: Could it be that many who followed Jesus into Jerusalem turned away from him when they realized Jesus was not going to overthrow the government? Do we seek our own selfish agenda through Christ or is He truly our King?
King for a Day
The word Hosanna is a Greek word which is translated from the Hebrew word hoshiiah na which means save now.
A few weeks ago we learned Jesus was called Yeshua Hamashia or Jesus the Messiah.
Today we celebrate and remember how Jesus was King for a Day as he rode into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey.
A few days ago my wife and I went out to look at the former rectory of St. Philippe which is for sale. Along the way we passed a farm where I saw several donkeys. It was only then that I realized that the donkey has a unique characteristic in that it wears a cross on its back. I had forgotten that.
The donkey is mentioned many times in the bible and has been around as long as horses have.
From Wikipedia: In Numbers 22:22-41 The Lord opened the mouth of the donkey (vs. 28) and it speaks to Balaam. In Judges 15:13-17 where the hero Samson slays Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Additional references can be found in Deuteronomy 22:10, Job 11:12, Proverbs 26:3 in all 142 references are made to donkeys.
What Jesus did on the first Palm Sunday was impossible. To ride on an unbroken donkey was in itself a miracle. Jesus did this to fulfill a prophecy made 500 years before by Zechariah 9:9
9 Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
It was a remarkable thing that Jesus sent two of his disciples into town to fetch this particular donkey God had arranged for it to be there in order to fulfill the prophecy.
For three years Jesus had been teaching about the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven. For three years Jesus had done miracles and signs and wonders. He had recently raised Lazarus from the dead. Now the people were ready to make Jesus King.
For three years Judas had been following Jesus as well as the other eleven disciples. Judas had been a Zealot. The Zealots were a guerrilla type of fighters who wanted to force the Romans to leave Israel. They were hunted down as criminals but Judas had hoped that Jesus would be the King to lead the revolt and usher in peace for Jerusalem.
The Jewish teaching was that Messiah would usher in a universal peace. That meant that the enemies of the Jews, the Romans would have to be vanquished. Jesus was not the kind of King they were looking for not at this time in history.
When Jesus got near the city of Jerusalem he began to weep over it not for joy of being made its King but for sorrow over its great suffering and sin. It broke Jesus heart to see that the Jewish people did not realize the kind of peace that they needed. Again this fulfilled a prophecy from Isaiah 22:4
4 Therefore I said, Turn away from me;
let me weep bitterly.
Do not try to console me
over the destruction of my people.
Jesus wept in John 11:35 over the death of Lazarus. Jesus brought him back to life just a few days before Palm Sunday. Now we see Jesus weep again over the death that surrounded Israel. Israel was dead in its sin and did not realize it.
What a contrast to see Jesus weeping and the crowd cheering as he entered as King. One might think he was weeping for joy but that is not the case.
The joy of the crowd bothered the Pharisees who asked Jesus to tell them to be quiet. But this day nothing could dispel their joy in fact Jesus said if they were to be quiet even the stones would cry out. Once again Jesus references scripture this time from Habakkuk 2:11 where the stones of the wall will cry out.
Jesus would ride past what we now call the - Wailing Wall or the Western Wall - where Jews to this day pray and cry for the Messiah to come. If only they would have known that Jesus was the Messiah and that he was present with them once already. In fact Jesus had wept for them where they now weep for a Savior today.
In a matter of days the crowds joyful cheers would turn to riotous jeers. Crucify him! Crucify him! They would be heard to shout. Give us Barabbas.
Could it be that many who followed Jesus into Jerusalem turned away from him when they realized Jesus was not going to overthrow the government? The leader they wanted was a man who would take up arms against Rome. Maybe it was for that reason they chose Barabbas. Barabbas was a local hero who like Jesus also had many followers.