#10: “BLESSED IS THE KING OF ISRAEL
WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!”
(Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:7-10, Luke 19:35-38, John 12:9-18, Psalm 118:26a)
Sunday morning, Spring, A. D. 30, Jerusalem
As the festival of Passover approaches, many believe that this years’ festival is particularly important. Thousands of pilgrims gather several days early in Jerusalem and many people are watching for Jesus. Word has spread of the notable miracle he performed in raising Lazarus from the dead in Bethany, only two miles away (John 11:18). Would Jesus come to this feast and teach, preach, and work more supernatural acts?
Three years before, Jesus came to the Passover and cleansed the Court of the Gentiles and worked several miracles (John 2:13-23). About two years before, during another festival, he healed a lame man on the Sabbath (John 5:2-9). Near the time of the Passover last year he multiplied fish and bread and fed a multitude (John 6:4-14). Last autumn he taught openly at the festival of Tabernacles, declaring himself to be the Light of the world. Then he demonstrated that he is the Light by healing a man who was born blind (John 7:2-39). Miracles such as raising a man up who was dead for four days and healing a man born blind were unheard of since the world began.
Jesus stays in control, though his enemies try desperately to stop him. His custom is to go to these festivals in Jerusalem and teach and work miracles and heal the sick. The religious leaders are determined not to let him go any further. They fear that if he becomes more popular, the people will receive him as their Messiah. Excitement builds. Will Jesus show up despite the fact that the Pharisees and chief priests are ready to arrest him? If so, will he again prevail? For centuries the Jews waited for the Messiah. “When he comes he will appear at the time of the Passover” is a popular belief. Will Jesus declare himself to be their Messiah? The Scripture says:
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 698 B. C.)
“’The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem,' says the LORD,
`to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins'”
(Isaiah 59:20, NLT).
On the Sunday before the Passover, Jesus the Messiah rides into Jerusalem on a donkey, as foretold:
Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled:
(Given 487 B. C.)
“Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem!
Look, your king is coming to you.
He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble,
riding on a donkey - even on a donkey's colt”
(Zechariah 9:9, NLT).
The crowd rushes with tremendous excitement to greet Jesus. Their response is spirited and enthusiastic! Some declare, “He showed up! The King of Glory is coming in! He is riding into Jerusalem publicly! How fitting that he come at this time!” The Spirit of the Lord is strong and the people praise and thank God for what He is doing. Many follow Jesus and others go before him spreading their garments on the road and quickly cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them along the road to greet him. It looks like the whole world is drawn to him.
His disciples sense the immensity of the moment. Because of all the wonderful acts of power they saw Jesus perform, thousands shout and sing:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Hosanna in the highest! Lord, save us, Your people!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
The King of Israel!
God bless the kingdom of David, our father that comes!
This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee!”
By proclaiming Jesus as “The King of Israel” the Jews are accepting him as their Messiah! This shocks the religious leaders. It looks like Jesus can now easily move into position as the Anointed Leader of the Jews. These people of Israel believe Jesus can save them from the Romans. They cry out, “Hosanna!” which means “Save us!” That is just what Jesus was coming to do: to save them, but not from the Romans, but from their biggest problem - the bondage of their sin and the consequences of sin.
Comments: Today, just like on the original “Palm Sunday”, many are proclaiming Jesus as King. It must have really hurt Jesus to hear and see his people celebrating him as their King, when he was fully aware that soon, because of the influence of their leaders, they would reject him.
Today many of us will go to church and declare that Jesus is our King. Do we really mean it, will we really make Him King, or is this just something we proclaim at this special time of year? Once this Easter Season has passed, let’s continue to seek and serve Jesus and His kingdom and not be among those who proclaim Jesus as their King this week, and then return to their habits of seeking first and most the pleasures and entertainment of the world.
Note: much of this devotional is from The Life of Jesus Foretold, pages 225-229.