Palm Sunday reminds us that we don’t always recognize the prophetic plan of God when our own plans are in view.
The people celebrated a king. Taking palm branches, they rejoiced before the One Who had entered Jerusalem many times before. He taught in the Temple. He healed in the streets. He confounded the wise. He raised up the sinner and the humble.
Taking a symbol of Tabernacles, the people rejoiced before a king, riding upon a donkey. They celebrated a coming conqueror. They expected deliverance in the season of Passover from the Roman occupiers. Yet, that did not happen.
Within a few short hours the cheers of joy turned to jeering and scorn. The king did not do as expected. He did not deliver. He was not enthroned. Rome was not vanquished. “Away with this one!” (Lk. 23:18), the crowds would shout. They would choose the murderous Barabbas. They did not want the humble Son of God, but the rebellious Barabbas, from the Aramaic meaning “son of a father.” The choice was offered, and the choice was for the expected: a violent son of a father.
See friends, Messiah knew as He entered, the triumph was not of the crowds choosing. His entry into Jerusalem as her rightful King was not that of a military conqueror. He did not enter with military might. His choice followers would betray, deny and abandon Him. His ride was not even a mighty war horse. He rode humbled:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zach. 9:9).
He entered to rule. He entered to save. Yet, it would not be as a murderous “son of a father,” but the obedient Son of the Father: Abba! Obedient even unto humiliation, heartbreak, and death. His entry was a means of Him losing power and dying in humiliated agony for our sins (Ro. 5:8).
His triumph was not through strength of number, as He died utterly alone. No, His triumph was through weakness, and in His weakness the power of God was displayed for all who would behold Him.
See, Messiah is King. Yeshua/Jesus did conquer. Christ did deliver from the occupying power. But He did so in this way:
He lost His following. He was wrongfully judged. He was tortured beyond imagination. He was nailed to a cross. Cut off from heaven, He breathed His last at the place of the skull. Prominent men, Joseph and Nicodemus, openly revealed their devotion to Him, and laid Him, wrapped simply, in an empty tomb. Story over.
Yet, three days and three nights later, Jesus emerged from the tomb. Here is the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, as He leaves death behind, and walks out into the holy city. From the tomb were He was laid, to the hill where He was executed, to an upper room where His small, broken-hearted army hid in fear.
Yeshua triumphed through weakness, and His weakness is our greatest strength. His strength is perfected in weakness, as we admit our need, our falling short, our sin, our imperfection. We receive Him as King in repentance:
“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).
Friends, greet Him today. Receive Him, not as you expect, but as He has ordained. Don’t overlook the foal He provides because you anticipate a stallion.
Palm Sunday reminds us that we don’t always recognize the prophetic plan of God when we set our hopes, plans, and expectations above His. If you are hiding in your upper room, fearful of all the unknowns, remember: “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Ro. 8:37).
הוֹשַׁעְנָא רַבָּא/hoshana rabbah! “Hosanna in the highest!”
Be well. Shalom.