Tomorrow is Palm Sunday, the day on which Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of Hosanna! as welcoming crowds spread palm branches before him.
Jews from all over the Roman Empire were arriving in Jerusalem for the Passover. Imagine the buzz as people noticed Jesus coming into town on a donkey. They would have recognized the image from a prophecy in Zechariah that the King would come “lowly and riding on a donkey.” If there were texts and tweets on the streets of Jerusalem, they might have said something like, “Join the crowd gathering to welcome the Messiah!” And the crowd, as crowds tend to do, built in size and emotion.
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
Hosanna was an expression that meant “Save us Lord.” Jesus would do exactly that, but not in the way anyone expected. The Jews in Jerusalem expected Jesus to save them from the domination of Rome, but the first thing Jesus did was to trash the nice little Passover business that was operating in the courts of the temple.
This was not the Savior they had expected.
What kind of Savior do you expect?
Perhaps we welcome Jesus into our lives with an expectation that he will correct all the injustices around us, all of our problems caused by other people or institutions or systems. That sounds pretty good to us, and we wave him in with joyful shouts and palm branches.
But then he starts to overturn the little self-serving businesses we’ve set up in our own hearts. That’s not quite what we had in mind.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem to face a horrendous ordeal of humiliation and death to save us from a far more dangerous threat than that of the dominant forces of his day or of ours.
He came to cleanse our sinful hearts. All of the world’s problems start right there.
As we prepare our hearts for a Good Friday remembrance and an Easter morning celebration, let us welcome Jesus, our Savior, as the only One who can toss the sin out of our own polluted hearts.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16