Jesus rode in to Jerusalem, 2000 or so years ago, to a “very large crowd” shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
The crowd had thrown their coats and branches on the ground, and they welcomed Jesus with shouts of “Hosanna,” which means “save now” or “save, we pray.” They made such a fuss that the Pharisees asked Jesus to shush up his disciples, and they were told by Jesus that if the crowd kept quiet then the rocks would have to cry out.
Matthew tells us that the “whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?‘”
The crowd likely saw Jesus as the long awaited Messiah, or at least they hoped that was the case. They were correct, but what they expected the Messiah to do and what Jesus actually did were light years apart.
Let’s take a look at three things that Jesus did shortly after arriving in Jerusalem and ask ourselves what Jesus saved us from.
Purifying the Temple
The first thing Jesus logically did was to go to the temple, but what he did when he got there was a shock. He threw out everyone who was selling animals for sacrifice and changing money, and in an outrage, he said, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (Matt. 21:13)
The businesses of these people weren’t illegitimate; their businesses were in the wrong place. There is a place that only God is fit to inhabit, and we get into trouble when we try to fill it with anything else; business, money, family, status, health, anything.
Is there anything taking God’s place in your life?
Questioning Jesus’s Authority
The chief priests and the elders asked Jesus by what, or whose, authority he was teaching and “doing these things.” They assumed that authority to teach and to “do these things” was theirs to give. They were wrong.
Jesus doesn’t need any human authority. Jesus is God; he has all authority over heaven and earth. So, he asked them a question, which they refused to answer for political reasons, and Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” (Matt. 21:27)
Do you question Jesus? Do you wonder on what authority he does what he does? He owes us no explanations or answers, but he constantly assures us of his presence, love and goodness.
The Greatest Commandment
A Pharisee who was an expert in the law asked Jesus, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?.” Jesus’s answer was simple, and yet its implications are tremendous: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Do I love the Lord my God that completely? Do I always love my neighbor as myself? No, I don’t, but in Christ I have a chance.
The people shouting “Hosanna” were probably expecting salvation from Rome, from political oppression, but Jesus had something much more significant to do. During the last week of his life he did a number of surprising things, but nothing was more stunning than his death on a Roman cross and his resurrection.
Jesus saved us from far more than temporary political problems; he saved us from idolatry, from doubt and to love Him for all eternity. That was a much more difficult work, and infinitely more important.