Approaching Easter with Jesus- The King! or the King?

-by Pastor Jacob Marshall, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church

Jerusalem is bustling this morning. In and around the city, nearly all of Israel is gathering together to participate in the upcoming feasts. You can smell fresh bread baking, you hear the bleating of sheep as they’re being moved up and down the narrow corridors, and as you walk to the east side of the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and Kidron Valley look like they’re covered with a sea of people.

The Mount of Olives and Kidron Valley looking east from the Temple Mount. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands at Bibleplaces.com.

Just as you turn to walk away though you start to hear something, a faint cry in the distance. It’s low at first, but before long it starts to rise and become clear. ”Hosanna!” “Hosanna!” “Hosanna!” That’s strange, you think to yourself. Though Hosanna (which means “O Lord, save”) was a common line of praise to God used during the feasts, you notice it seems to be being directed towards someone in the crowd. Someone who’s just coming around the crest of the Mount of Olives. As the sea of people starts to part, you can just barely see a young man riding on the back of donkey. You decide to walk down and investigate.

Upon reaching the mount, the cry of “Hosanna” is now being accompanied with adoration. As you get closer, onlookers are throwing their own cloaks and palm branches in front of the donkey’s path, but most shocking is the next shout that goes up from the crowd. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Now everyone around is paying attention as the chant grows louder. The king of Israel? Is this Messiah? The long-awaited descendant of David who has come to defeat Israel’s enemies, to restore the nation, and set-up his everlasting kingdom. Surely this can’t be the one Daniel prophesied about or the day of his coming. He’s on a donkey, not a war horse, he looks like a humble laborer. In fact, he’s not even smiling or politicking with the crowd, but strangely, as he passes, you can trace the lines of tears that have recently run down his cheek.

As he enters into Jerusalem, the whole city is stirred up. In fact, you can’t remember the city this on edge since a whole company of magi from the east showed up here a few decades ago looking for the next king of Israel. You can’t help but think though that if this truly is Messiah, then you’ve been expecting the wrong person.

You lean over to the disgruntled looking Pharisee standing next to you and ask, “What’s his name?” He replies gruffly, “Jesus of Nazareth.”

“What do you think of him?” you ask. “Do you think this is the Messiah?”

Turning away he replies, “I think he’s a dead man walking.”

Now go and see it yourself in Matt. 21:1-11 and Luke 19:29-44.