“The crowds went before him and those who followed him acclaimed saying: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
They could not even think that this celebration would be completely and utterly different from the previous ones in their worldly joy. Much less could they imagine that the sacrifice for that Passover was special. It was a donation from God for the salvation of the world.
Jesus entered the Holy City.
How many today, like those Israelites, await the one who will free them from misery and oppression, not from the Roman Empire, as then, but from the slavery in which they are kept by other equally powerful empires, such as drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, homosexuality, consumerism, gambling. That same Jesus is present and ready and within your reach when you want to accept him as Lord and Savior.
Those Israelites pushed, ran over each other, seeking to position themselves in the best place to see Jesus pass, to touch him, and identify with him.
Most of those gathered, including his own disciples, who, although they accompanied him for more than three years and with their own eyes saw and participated in his miracles of healing, resurrection and other miraculous signs, we’re not sure if he was. Although there were many times that He said to them: “I Am”…
The disciples, at that moment, could not even remember that He had entrusted them with everything that was about to happen. Saint Matthew says that when asked by Jesus about who they said He was, Peter had recognized that his Master was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, and Jesus agreed and confessed that he was right. But he asked them not to tell anyone. At this moment, he tells them that he has to die and rise again to save the world from sin.
“From then on Jesus began to declare to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer much (at the hands) of the elders, chief priests, and scribes; and be killed, and rise again on the third day.” (Matthew 16:21).
Jesus confessed to his disciples that he was the Son of God and that he would die to save the world from sin, but that they should not tell anyone so that God’s Plan of Salvation would not be spoiled: Sacrifice his Son, as a holocaust for redeeming the world from sin. However, he recognized that John the Baptist had revealed it when he saw him come to him to be baptized when he said: “Behold the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
At that time, Jesus did not authorize his disciples to testify that they knew that he was the Son of God. That power was still in the hands of the Father, who was the only one who could reveal that testimony.
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. Another (John) bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony he bears is true…I receive no testimony from any man…The Father who sent me has borne witness about me…” (John 5:32, 34, 37)
The Lamb for the Passover sacrifice entered Jerusalem.
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout for joy, daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, humble and riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass.” (Zechariah 9:9).
Thus had the prophet proclaimed about 500 years (5 centuries) earlier.
As was the custom, at the passing of a king, “most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees, and spread them on the road.” (Matthew 21:8). “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:35-38), the Israelis exclaimed jubilantly upon receiving Jesus, with songs of praise, cymbals, tambourines and clapping.
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14), those heavenly beings exclaimed at the birth of Jesus Christ, marking his entry into the sinful world.
Now it was the Israelites who exclaimed: “Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!” A sign that the message of Jesus was planted in their hearts. That was his purpose. In due time the fruits would be seen.
That is also the function of those of us who have been saved by Him and serve Him: to sow in the hearts of all those who hear the seed of salvation that His Word represents, which “never returns empty”, but bears fruit. Today’s disciples of his are obliged to bear witness to what he has meant for our lives.
Massive reception, with drums and cymbals, we would say now.
The kings maintained that their authority came from the divine mandate and that this made them more worthy of respect. The royal authority, the absolute power, over the kingdom’s government, the militias, and the law’s implementation was hereditary. So the kingship, with all its might, passed from Father to son. Including the throne, the sceptre, and the crown represent the symbols of authority.
This King who enters Jerusalem is eternal, he comes with all the power that has been granted to him, he possesses the throne, the sceptre and the crown of the authority of his Father, who is the one who sends him “to save what was lost.” But this King does not arrive in a luxurious carriage, nor escorted by guards with deadly weapons. Our King comes with humility and simplicity. He riding a simple donkey, no-frills. He and his escort carry the only weapon he and his powerful and miraculous Word. “It is not with a sword, nor with armies, but with the Holy Spirit” of him that he came to save and conquer the lost and sinful world.
Still, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was grand. His reception on that glorious day, which we know today as Palm Sunday, largely because of the palm branches and mats brandished by his followers along the road to the holy city, was worthy of what it truly was and still is: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Although practically none of those who cheered him knew it, and his own disciples, who loved him, had listened to him and admired him, were not quite sure that a king with authentic power, authority, and dominion was coming.
Jesus arrived at his great coronation, before a people who acclaimed him as the King of the Jews; in the prelude to Calvary and blood sacrifice that by order and in obedience to the Father would do to redeem this sinful person. The same people that in a few hours would have to change their minds and actions and demand the crucifixion of the one they had proclaimed King shortly before.
It hasn’t stopped happening like this. Many, when in need, claim his presence, praise and glorify him. With his infinite mercy, kindness, and love towards his highest creation, he listens to the requests and responses. This protects us, keeps us away from evil, heals us from diseases, comforts us in painful moments of life. But, once they get him to attend to and satisfy their request — like those who cheered him on his entrance to Jerusalem and then demanded his crucifixion — they also turn their backs on him, reject him, forget him; in short, they crucify him again with his attitude.
Those Israelites ignored that all that assembly was part of God’s Plan of Salvation and Eternal Life for humanity; that the crucifixion would signify the consecration of the Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus Christ. They did not know that the true and royal coronation of Jesus would not be as King of Israel, but as King of the Universe and Lord and Savior of everyone who believes in Him, to the glory of His Name, obtaining forgiveness for sins and the right to the eternal life of those thus redeemed.
All that spectacle and triumphal entry took place at the beginning of the Passover celebration, also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, one of the three pilgrimage festivals of Judaism. Thousands invaded Jerusalem, fulfilling the sacred duty ordained by the Scriptures.
The disciples also fulfilled this religious duty. But Jesus was the only one who knew that it was the beginning of the end of his days as Son of Man or God Incarnate; that the moment of the sacrifice and shedding of his blood was approaching, as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), just as John the Baptist sentenced him and also of becoming “the lamb as slain” of the heavenly vision that the beloved disciple, John, narrates in the book of Revelation.
The end of days in the flesh of this wonderful divine being, who became a poor man to enrich us with his servitude, was rapidly approaching. “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).
It is interesting how every day, as we search the Scriptures, we are surprised by the wisdom of God.
Jesus was to bear the sins of man to the cross. That was the task that the Father placed on his shoulders and He would obediently carry out the task. He knew that his entry into Jerusalem would lead to his death on the cross, to rise on the third day and then reign forever.
But…, it is interesting that, for this assignment, just as he continues to do it to favourably consummate his plans, God makes use of every situation and mechanism within his reach. He even makes use of his detractors, of people who do not love him, of dirty or broken glasses.
One cannot ignore that, just as Jesus said, as we mentioned at the beginning, that “…it was necessary for him… to be killed and rise again on the third day”, Caiaphas, the high priest, his persecutor, expressed almost exactly the same words: You… do not even think that it suits us that a man should die for the people, and not that the nation perish.” (John 11:49-50). God uses Caiaphas, an enemy, for his wholesome purposes. It was necessary for Jesus to die for us to be saved and have the hope of eternal life that He represents. Caiaphas did not know that God was using him, but he would be the one who would see to it that the deed was consummated.
Jesus possessed wonderful attributes not given by man but granted by his Father, the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God and Our Lord. The King to be crucified is adorned with every conceivable virtue. His nature is made up of mercy, peace, kindness, humility, meekness, justice and summarizing all that, love.
This Lamb, white as the soul of God that he is, without spot as the Son of God that he is, and pure as the Holy Spirit that he is, is the one who will enter the place of sacrifice, to take up the cross-loaded with sin for his blood. Shed regenerate, redeem and justify the sinners of Israel.
That is the Risen Redeemer, whom I present to you on this day. The same Jesus Christ who entered Jerusalem amid cheers to later be betrayed and crucified, but who through his sacrifice saved the world from sin, wants to enter your heart, to save you too, regenerating you, through the redemption and justification of your sins, and then sanctify yourself with the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
Every day Jesus is looking for souls to save. It is no coincidence that you are here on this day. The Lord is the one who has guided your steps to this place of adoration of Jesus Christ, do not do as those Israelites, who received him with joy, waving palms and singing psalms, accompanied by loud cymbals and tambourines, but then turned their backs and They refused, asking for his crucifixion. He already sacrificed love for you, and you just need to respond to his call. He took the first step, the most difficult, follow in his footsteps and walk with Him towards your salvation. He awaits you with open arms. He comes closer, and let us pray for you.