“Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”
There was a positive vibe the morning Jesus entered Jerusalem; the streets were full of cheering people there to see this person they have heard so much about that will free them from the world that has been persecuting them for so long. On Palm Sunday the Christian church celebrates the triumphal entry of Jesus into the holy city of Jerusalem and marks the beginning of Holy Week. It seems odd that there was so much cheering, so much pandemonium, about somebody they apparently knew very little about. They cheered for the “one who comes in the name of the Lord,” yet Jesus was Lord, affirmed by his ultimate resurrection not many days from the time he entered the city. With all that Jesus witnessed over the past year, they should have known… So what if the people really knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, would there be such celebration? One would think if the people knew Jesus was the Son of God and that his empty tomb represented an eternal gift and indescribable joy then maybe the cheers would be more like, “blessed IS the Lord” who has freed us from our sin and has offered eternal life to all who believes. Well, we need to offer grace to those who cheered Jesus along, they had no clue what was to come in the upcoming week. They had no clue that Jesus came among them to free them not from political oppression but from the burden of sin. The folks who lined the streets had great expectations for the wrong thing. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “the peace of Jesus Christ is the cross.” Faith is not built on our expectations of Jesus but on the reality of who Jesus is; the Son of God. Today when we cheer, lets cheer the One who is our salvation, who has freed us from all that burdens our souls, the one, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ IS Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:6-11) Amen and amen.