The day dawned bright just as many other days do in Spring. There was a festive spirit in the air. A crowd had gathered pressing in on either side of the road. A few shouts of “Hosanna” rang out from the bystanders. The people standing closer to the city waited expectantly but could not yet see anything. A glance down the road showed a swirl of dust. Something or someone was coming!
In my mind’s eye, I imagine the scene on Palm Sunday looked similar to a parade. During a parade, people line up to catch each float, band or important person. Anticipation of what lies ahead and excitement over the final entry-the main event fills the air. Music floats in and out mingled with shouts of recognition for familiar celebrities or even family members in the parade as the people shuffle back and forth from foot to foot
But on that day, two thousand years ago, the parade consisted of one person. Even though a festive air permeated through the crowd up and down the road leading to Jerusalem, the people did not know what to expect. Most parades entertain the young ones by throwing candy. On this day, a few people began gathering branches, laying them on the road to honor the mystery guest. A whisper ran through the crowd. “Who is this person? Why are we gathered here to celebrate him”? As the man on the donkey appeared through the dust, a chant of Hosanna began quietly and gradually grew in intensity.
The questions still lingered but word of who, what and where ran through until it reached each person waiting along the road.
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11
[Tweet “One week He rides in as a king and the next week He is crucified as a common criminal.”]
This story of Jesus riding a donkey and being treated as royalty never fails to touch me deeply. One week He rides in as a king and the next week He is crucified as a common criminal. The visual of rising and falling so quickly mirrors how our lives change just as dramatically.
Jesus teaches us how to live well in a few short verses. Let’s see if you find some of the same lessons as me.
Live your life in humility and obedience.
Do not waste the time you are given but live in love for others daily.
Take the gifts God blessed you with and use them fully.
Celebrate who you are and whose you are knowing that God leads you down the road in a swirl of dust to grow closer to Him.
What other lessons do you find in this story of Jesus a week before His death? Please share them in the comments below.