One-a-Day...for the Heart: Hosanna to the Son of David!
It was the red carpet treatment, to be sure. Crowds of people filled the area where Jesus would pass by. They had seen and heard of the many miracles He was doing. As His popularity poll was beginning to skyrocket, catching a glimpse of the great teacher, prophet, and healer would be exhilarating! He gave the disciples specific instructions as they prepared for His entry into Jerusalem. The account is described in Matthew 21:1-11 (ESV):
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'"
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds said, "This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
In reading that passage, few people notice that Jesus requested not only a donkey, but also her colt. Kings and military commanders insisted on having horses taller and more powerful than anyone in their entourage or army to be positioned well above everyone else. It is believed that Jesus probably road on the colt while its mother walked beside it. It is likely that His feet even dragged on the ground below the little beast of burden as it plodded along over the branches strewn beneath them. There was nothing pompous about this man; He was humble and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt.
In addition to the branches, excited onlookers also tossed their coats on the ground to honor and respect Jesus. Perhaps they hoped to have Him ride over their coats—even soil them with hoof prints or dirt—to be kept as sacred souvenirs and remembrances of being that close to such a celebrity. I can almost hear the chatter among the followers… “I’ll never wash this cloak. The sandal of Jesus rubbed over it as He passed by! His donkey even sat on it!” We’ve all kept memorabilia from significant concerts and events, and who wouldn’t want a piece of this red carpet?
Scripture says the whole city was stirred up, and the people were eager to greet this remarkable man, Jesus—maybe touch Him or fall under His shadow. Imagine being in that crowd, and suddenly Jesus glanced at you, and you locked eyes with the Son of God! “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they shouted. Hosanna means SAVE NOW! SAVE, WE PRAY! Although it has come to be used as a lyrical term of praise, its original meaning was a cry for help. One can only guess how many sick and needy people were crying out for help in the crowd.
How unthinkable that in five days, many people in this crowd would listen to and believe half-truths and lies about Jesus and shout with the same intensity, “CRUCIFY HIM!” when Pontius Pilate asked them what should be done with the Lord. The condemning words of the rowdy crowd were anything but cries for help from a Savior:
Pilate responded, "Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?"
They shouted back, "CRUCIFY HIM!"
"Why?" Pilate demanded. "What crime has he committed?"
But the mob roared even louder, "CRUCIFY HIM!" (Matthew 27:22-23 NLT)
How quickly the crowd, now a roaring mob, was so easily influenced to turn against Jesus! All it took to sway them from following Messiah were a few tale-bearers and slanderers who were skillful in twisting the truth. They respected and feared the elders and chief priests who actively plotted to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him (Matthew 26:3-4). Ultimately, Jesus’ own disciple was the traitor who ignited the plot.
SAVE NOW, O Lord! Save us from our human frailties that rely on intellect and emotion to accept Your Truth! Put within us such deep conviction of Your Kingship that nothing will sway us from serving and loving and obeying You until we meet You in Paradise! Neither government, threats, disease, famine, or death will change our minds and hearts, Lord Jesus. We are Yours--fully, totally Yours, Messiah. Amen.
Hosanna to the Son of David! We treasure our souvenir of You—Your shed blood that purchased our salvation, and we cherish its power to cleanse and change us into Your image!
© 2022, Chris Werre