“Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.’”
- Matthew 21:1-11
Here we catch a glimpse of a type of Jewish parade given to the Son of God. Homage. Honor. Praise. The crowds had a type of understanding of this Jesus. They knew that he was a prophet and where he had come from, Nazareth. Surely the word had spread that this was the Messiah when he started into the city on the back of a colt. And in turn? Excitement! Jesus was the great liberator, coming toward his people to save them. Cloaks, a very revered garment for this day, were being cast to the ground, palm branches symbolizing peace.
But did the crowd really know to whom they were giving honor? Not everyone there even knew who Jesus was. This is why, “The whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” What exactly is this prophet going to do? That was not on the forefront of the crowds mind, only a excitement for the fact that someone was going to save them. Sadly the same crowd that cheered for the coming Jesus would cheer for his death only days later when He is not the political candidate that they had hoped would push Rome from their nation.
Today most of us are not excited about Jesus. Maybe you have a ritualistic form of worship where you include Jesus into your schedule once a week. But there are plenty of things that we have scheduled that we are in no way excited about. Jesus is worthy of our excitement and if it is not to be given to Him then he says, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
The praise of the people was an accurate response to Jesus. But the same people that praised him in the parade were very possibly the same ones that praised His death. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”
We must be careful that we are a people that truly get excited at Jesus’ arrival in our lives, even when it is not convenient for our self. When Jesus confronts our sins, moves us to love difficult people, or calls us toward a difficult ministry will we get excited when we are used to serve him? We must be careful to enjoy the same Jesus on the colt, and the Jesus who cleanses the Temple of its sin.
There are dreary days ahead of us as we walk through this Holy Week together, but the good news is to be received with thanksgiving, joy, and praise just as Jesus was welcomed into the city of Jerusalem. Prepare your mind, spirit, and soul to adore Him.
Talk about it
What would it look like for Jesus to walk into your church today?
Why was everyone so excited to see Jesus come into Jerusalem?
Caleb Rawls is the pastor at Pleasant Home Baptist Church located in Laurel Mississippi. He and his wife Taylor work lead the church to love God and reach out to their community with the good news. They also have a golden-doodle named Tiglath-Pilesar IIII.