Holy Week has begun. Yesterday in churches everywhere palms were waved and people remembered how Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. I had the privilege of preaching yesterday and as I prepared, one of the things I was aware of was how that celebration was tinged with darker themes. The people shouted and cheered, palm branches and cloaks were laid down as a pathway for Jesus, it looked quite wonderful.
But less than 7 days later, those same people would call for the execution of the one they celebrated, the one for whom they cheered. And now, on the Monday of Holy week, I find I can’t quite shake the echos of that scene. I keep turning the world “Hosanna” over in my head. It is an exclamation of excitement, but it also can mean “Save us now” or “Save us completely.” Did the people know how prophetic their cheers were? Did they understand how desperately they needed a savior?
I don’t think so. I suspect, if they knew…if they recognized their own ugliness they wouldn’t have turned on him at the end of the week. I suspect they would have kept crying “Hosanna!” instead of exchanging it for “Crucify!”
This Holy Week I want to be one who continually shouts “Hosanna!” Both because I know I need a savior and because I am so excited about what Jesus has accomplished on the cross. I need to remember my own need for him, and celebrate the reality of having that need fulfilled.
The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one
who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
John 12:12-19 NLT