“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:
‘Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!’ ” John 12:12–13
Three and a half years of ministry, culminated by the raising of Lazarus from the dead, have served to make Jesus the most talked about person in all of Judea.
His followers are positive that he’s the Messiah and are eager for him to take David’s throne and lead Israel to greatness. And it’s a sure thing that he can do it. With the ability to multiply bread and fish, heal the injured and sick, and raise the dead what nation could stand against him?
His enemies can’t stop talking about him either. Everything he says seems to prove them wrong and diminish their position and authority and everything he does excites his popularity. Jesus is a problem that just seems to grow by the day.
Now as he enters Jerusalem with his disciples to prepare for the Passover celebration Jesus does so in a grand and symbolic style. John tells us that Jesus found a young donkey and mounting it rode into Jerusalem.
Tradition had Judea’s kings riding into Jerusalem in just the same way when they were arriving for their coronation, and the prophet Zechariah foretold that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem in just this way.
The Gospels tell us that the streets thronged with people waving palm branches, spreading their coats on the street before him, and praising God and shouting, “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!’ ”
The Pharisees are beside themselves with frustration; it seems the whole world is going after him. And the disciples are ecstatic; at last Jesus is going to fulfill their dreams and take the throne. But this is not the preamble to a coronation. This is the last great hurrah before his betrayal, arrest, and sacrifice.
John tells us that it would be only after “Jesus was glorified” that his disciples recalled these prophecies and understood the significance of their fulfillment. Sometimes it’s after the fact that we understand, and most of the time in this life that’s okay. It may cost us a little humility, time and money to learn lessons that way but they get learned and we’re wiser for having learned them. But friends, there’s coming a day where if we haven’t learned, and we don’t know and believe, then it will be too late. We must study, and learn, and understand today so that we will be prepared to meet Jesus when he comes the second time. There was time to play catch up after his first coming and crucifixion. But at the second coming there won’t be time to catch up. Time for this world we be completed. We have to be ready when he comes.
The Holy Spirit is working on hearts to prepare them for that day, and those who understand are called to work to prepare others to be ready as well. Will you prepare to meet Jesus? Will you, like the disciples, work to prepare others as well?