Yesterday was Palm Sunday, the day we commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On that day, the crowds were for Him.
Can you see it? The area was packed with visitors for Passover week. As Jesus rode toward the ancient city on the back of a young donkey (Zechariah 9:9), the crowds met Him. Spreading their cloaks and branches on the road in front of Him, they shouted these words:
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! Psalm 118:25-27
The Jews knew these words well. Straight from the Psalms, they expressed Israel’s hope for God’s restoration of the Davidic kingdom. The people had placed this hope in the carpenter rabbi from Nazareth.
Surely He was the One who would save them from the tyranny of Rome and reestablish the power of Israel. They had waited for this king. They longed for deliverance. Surely Jesus was the One who would give them what they wanted.
But then came Friday. Beaten and bloody, the Hope of Israel hung on a Roman cross. The crowds that shouted His praise just days earlier now called out for His death. If He wasn’t going to give them what they wanted they had no use for Him.
And the disciples who vowed to follow Him anywhere were nowhere to be found. Only John and a handful of women remained to watch His life ebb away.
Why had He come? What was the use of following Him?
While there would be no freedom from Rome that day, a much greater freedom was earned (Galatians 5:1). Jesus’ blood bought our freedom from sin and death.
Jesus is indeed the hope of Israel. Indeed, the hope of the world. He is the eternal King from David’s line that God promised long ago. (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Luke 1:32-33). Hope and salvation are found in Him alone.
But the people valued the temporal over the eternal. They were more concerned with their physical circumstances than their spiritual condition. They praised Jesus when they expected He would reign as an earthly king. They called for crucifixion when they realized He would not fulfill their earthbound desires.
What about us? Probably all of us would have stood on the Jerusalem road, waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” We love for God to fill our lives with “good” things. We acknowledge His goodness when the bills are paid and the kids are well and we are comfortable.
But would we have stood at the cross? Would we have praised God for the spiritual victory won on the cross? Even if it meant pain and grief and suffering?
Are we just Palm Sunday kind of Christians? Or are we Good Friday kind of Christians? The ones that value the spiritual over the physical?
Let’s draw close to Jesus through the difficult times. Those days bring great spiritual victories that can’t be won any other way. Resurrection Sunday always comes after Good Friday.
Are you a Palm Sunday kind of Christian or a Good Friday kind of Christian?