Holy Week - Sunday
[ Read John 12: 12-17 ]
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
This is the cry of Jerusalem as Jesus rode into the city of His birth on a donkey, just like His mother Mary had 33 years before. He rode in on a humble donkey fulfilling the prophecy from Zecheriah 9:9 saying, "See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus, the promised king of Israel, could have ridden into Jerusalem with fanfare on a mighty horse, displaying His might as king, but He didn’t. Jesus knew that the Jews wanted Him to be a strong ruler, an earthly king that would free them from the oppressive rule of the Romans, but that was not His purpose. His purpose was eternal freedom --freedom from sin and separation from God. This was a freedom to know true sacrificial love, but it was not what the Israelites wanted Him to be. They were seeking a worldly king, the reinstatement of the line of David on the throne. That was not this King. He came to protect His people, not to be protected; to serve, not to be served; to live a humble life, not a lavish one.
Jesus is the King who came to bear the weight of His people’s brokenness silently when His people cried out with fervor against Him. His favor did not change when the favor of His people did. His constancy of love and forgiveness even under attack from the very people He came to save sets Him apart from any human action. Jesus is the Son of Man and the King of Heaven. He is not constrained by the human definition of what a King should be. Jesus is the King who could have demanded our debts be paid for His lavish kingdom, but instead our King paid our debts with lavish love.
Jesus came to save His people -- all the people of the earth, not just the Israelites -- and to be honored as the King of All. Often we are like the crowds in Jerusalem, looking to Jesus to be the king of our worldly lives, but He came to be the King of every single aspect of our lives, our soul, our eternity, our every moment and action. He is worthy of His name, worthy to be praised with shouts of “Hosanna!” and worshiped with adoration. In a parallel account of the Triumphal Entry (when Jesus enters Jerusalem as King) in Luke 19:28-40, see how the disciples praise Jesus:
“The whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (37c-38)
The disciples responded to the amazing work of the Messiah by praising God for all they had heard, seen, and experienced while following Jesus. The Pharisees in the next verse, however, were outraged; they did not believe in Jesus as the promised King. Jesus, however, makes it clear how worthy He is of praise by saying, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”
Jesus is so worthy of praise that if His people do not praise Him, the rest of God’s creation would cry out to give Him the glory that is due His name. How will you respond to Jesus as King? Maybe you have never considered what it means to allow Him to be King over your whole life. What are you trying to be the ruler of in your own life? How is that hindering you from truly surrendering your life and purpose to Christ? Pray and ask the Lord to help you surrender everything to Him. Take a moment to also praise the King of all kings -- praise Him for how He has been faithful in your life, for all the amazing things He has done, and for His coming into the world to be our true King.
Written by Riley Vincent, FCM Sophomore majoring in Public Health.