March 28 I Sunday
“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!’ When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred…” —Matthew 21:9-10
About 25 chapters of the Gospels, which is nearly a third of the entire Gospels, record the days leading up to Jesus’s death. As we enter into Holy Week—some call it Easter Week—it begins with Palm Sunday. Jesus rode triumphantly on a donkey into Jerusalem with people shouting “Hosanna! Hosanna!” Holy Week concludes on Good Friday, when Jesus was crucified as a common criminal. Jesus begins our week as a hero and ends as a criminal condemned to die by the legal processes of the Roman authority in Judea. In the span of six days, we see Jesus going from triumph to tragedy. There has been no other week in world history to compare with it.
Even though Jesus made a few visits to Jerusalem, by and large, His ministry was in Galilee. Luke 9:51 says, “Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem.” But it took Luke about ten chapters to record Jesus arriving in Jerusalem. “When He came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Luke 19:37-38). All four Gospels recorded the euphoria that was experienced and celebrated as Jesus went into Jerusalem. From this glorious scene, some of Jesus’s disciples might have thought, “At last, we’ve made it! We’ve got the attention of the people! Jesus can set up His kingdom!” Jesus’s disciples were anticipating a physical kingdom, but that was not God’s plan.
Within five days, the same city was no longer reverberating in triumph but in anger, as they demanded the crucifixion of the same person they had hero-worshipped a few days before. Luke 23:23 tells us, “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that He be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” In the following days, Jesus would be betrayed, denied and die alone. How could a hero on Sunday be crucified in response to mob demand on Friday?
Jesus performed many miracles and saw many lives changed. It is easy for anybody in their right minds to praise God when there are clear benefits that they will receive from Him. Perhaps some of us reading this devotion may have been more interested in being a consumer of Jesus, having the mentality of wanting to benefit from this and that, than yielding to Jesus.
As we prepare our hearts for Holy Week, may we begin by examining our relationship with Jesus and who He is to us.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I confess of times when I am caught up in a consumer mentality, only wanting benefits from You. Set my heart in a right relationship with You. Thank You, Jesus.