Psalm 118:1–2, 19–29; Mark 11:1–11; John 12:12–16
HOSANNA! The cry of the people before the gates of Jerusalem was filled with this word. Hosanna is a Hebrew contraction meaning, “save, we pray,” which you just read in Psalm 118:25. Hosanna is used as part of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, which was a commemoration of Israel’s 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Part of the commemoration even involves going around the altar waving palm branches.
Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was more than the coming King sitting on a donkey, which represented conquering in peace. By using hosanna, the people were putting Jesus where we understand he belongs (as God), but the religious leaders saw it as blasphemous. The palm leaves were part of a celebration. From the perspective of those in the religious seats of power and influence, this was completely wrong.
John was a little harsh on the Disciples, John described them as clueless. They seemed unable to see all the symbolism that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem included, and what it portended.
We could dismiss the disciples as ignorant. They were. John notes something significant, though, once they witnessed Jesus glorified, the pieces came together. The difference between the well-educated and those who were not is very apparent. Those that had the education saw the signs, put the puzzle together, and denied the truth in front of them, and then denied the greater Truth. Those that had the lesser education (if any at all), saw the signs, couldn’t put the puzzle together, yet, in the end believed the Truth.
This is not about the education, but the blindness of heart that often goes along with it. There is a dark reality to the internet, and that is an answer is only a search away. Similar to education, the internet often blinds us to the Truth, even Christians. Savior and King (and God) entered Jerusalem. The Truth would set them free, eventually, if they accepted it. That’s where this story continues to be told with imagery. Entering on a donkey, meant that Jesus was coming in as the King in peace. Jesus then left the city. There was a mass celebration, but no similar acceptance. Jesus came in glory but left in quiet.
- Palm Sunday (Liturgy of the Palms) usually focuses on the triumphant entry. Why do we not talk about Jesus’ much quieter exit that same day?
- How does education and/or knowledge often blind us to the presence and handiwork of God?
- Do you think Jesus’ loud entry contradicts Jesus’ quiet departure?
Lord, we are drawn to the dramatic. Help us to be sensitive to your quiet workings that we all too often are blind to. Amen.