When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Mark 11, verses 7-10.
To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, we hold these truths to be self-evident. So did the crowd on that Sunday morning in Jerusalem. They had heard of this Jesus for years and now He was there in person. Many in the crowd had seen Him, listened to Him, followed Him, gotten to know Him, and realized that He was the long-promised Messiah. And there He was, finally, entering Jerusalem to make things right.
For so long things hadn’t been right. For so long, religion and God had seemed like separate things. And the Romans and their Herodian puppets had ruled over Israel with iron tyranny. The countless laws, rules and regulations required by both the Romans and the religious made life insufferable and poverty unending. For so long, things had been so wrong, so far from the life in the land of milk and honey that had been promised to their ancestors. The Jews of Jesus’ day had been promised a king who would set things right, who would restore the heart of Israel back to what it used to be, what it should have always been.
And here He was: here was the King who had been promised. The people in the streets knew who Jesus was because it was self-evident, because a swelling crowd of followers had been growing since He set himself on the road to Jerusalem. Word gets around in a small town and Jesus passed through many small towns. By the time He got to the gates of Jerusalem, Jesus was fully known and eagerly expected. The city expected Him to become its royal leader who would make Israel great again. The centuries of disgrace and servitude would be at an end.
Yet the crowd also acknowledged the self-evident truth of Jesus’ divine nature. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” That wasn’t something said about the chief priests and Jewish elders. It wasn’t said about the House of Herod, or the Roman overseers, or even the Roman emperor Tiberius (who fancied himself a god). It would only have been said about the Son of God and that’s who the crowds were saying Jesus was. They had heard His words; they had heard how He fulfilled hundreds of prophecies, about how He kept God’s promises and how He lived a life without sin. They had come to know that Jesus was the promised one, seeing how He was unlike anyone else they had ever seen or heard of. They had seen His miracles and heard about the amazing love that He preached. They had fallen in love with His message of forgiveness, patience, wisdom, peace, servanthood, and following God. “Hosanna” they all cried and they gave Jesus the kind of welcome due to an approaching king. They welcomed Him like the King of Kings He was.
And in five days they would want Him dead.
Hosanna to You, Lord Jesus. Blessed are You who was and is the Lord, who came as the King of Kings serving as the servant of all.
Read Mark 11, 4-11.