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"The crowds that went ahead of him and ... shouted, 'Hosanna!" (Matt. 21:9) 

Palm Sunday ... the last week of suffering for the Savior has begun.

The disciples obtained a donkey on which Jesus rode into Jerusalem, via the suburb of Bethpage. The large crowd of spectators gave Him an enthusiastic welcome. They spread palm branches and garments on the road in his honor. They sang from the Psalter, "Hosanna in the highest..."    

Jesus' response to this course of events was mixed. On the one hand he accepted this honor; when the Pharisees asked him to silence the crowd; he replied that their applause was necessary, lest the stones cry out. On the other hand, he was deeply aware of the blindness of the people. When Jesus appeared to them in the valley, he wept over it, because he knew the unbelief.

How selfish the singing crowd! They saw in Jesus the solution to the problems of the day. They thought his revolutionary armies would drive out the hated Romans and would set up a glorious kingdom. That Jesus came to save them from themselves and restore them to God was the farthest from their minds. The crowds became very disappointed later. Less than five days later, they shouted, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Palm Sunday became the entry way to the place of crucifixion.

We have similar problems with Christ. We want him to change our disagreeable circumstances. He wants to change our disagreeable hearts.


Thank you for the post, Louis.  I appreciate the way you point us to our own failing in light of the failing of the Isrealites.  It is much to easy to think we would have (or do) welcome the Savior much more righteously. 


Perhaps the associated picture is not of your choosing, in which case I direct this comment to the site editor(s): Please consider whether a confessional denomination should violate the confessions on their website(s).  In light of Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 96-98 where we confess in part "God cannot and may not be visibly portrayed in any way", I suggest choosing a different accompanying illustration.  I recognize that representations of Jesus (however inaccurate and unwarranted they may be) are somewhat ubiquitous in our culture and indeed often in our churches, but that does not justify denominational approval and practice of the same given the content of our confession.  I would also suggest that such images may be particularly damaging for those among us who have come out of the Roman Catholic church. 

Did the crowds who praised Jesus on Palm Sunday curse him one week later in the presence of Pilate? Paul L. Maier, former Russell H. Seibert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University, suggested decades ago that two crowds were involved. One worshiped and praised Jesus as King; the other yelled "Crucify him! Crucify him!" (Luke 23:21). Maier argues that Annas and the Sadducees (controllers of the Temple) pressured people to shout down Jesus, because his popularity had soared. 

Let us praise our King exuberantly this Sunday and every day!

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