Have we made Jesus king for just a moment?
It is estimated there were 2.5 million people in Jerusalem that day. They had returned from all over the world for the Passover Feast. And they had heard about Jesus and the things he had done.
With Jesus in town, this was going to be a Passover to remember. His disciples had borrowed a donkey for his ride into the city. As he rode into the city of Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey, the people crowded the streets to hail him Messiah, “The One who comes in the name of the Lord!” They placed palm branches in his path. But then they melt away as they see that during the week he is not going to fit into their popular image of the Messiah; and by his teaching and action, he calls them to make difficult decisions about himself and about their own lives.
This event begins Holy Week. This week is eventful and revealing. In it, we can see how the tide of popular opinion turns against him as the week progresses. On Monday he cleanses the temple of the money changers. This violent scene provokes the Jewish leaders to intensify the effort to get rid of him. On Tuesday he engages in discourse with the Jewish leaders and curses the fig tree for being barren, a clear message to Israel. Wednesday, he was anointed in Bethany much to the discomfort of Judas. And Thursday, which we call Maundy Thursday, he was preparing for Passover. It was also the evening of the betrayal, arrest in Gethsemane and the beginning of the trials. The crowds call for his crucifixion. Friday was the day of the crucifixion. Saturday was in the tomb and Sunday the day of the resurrection, the day of victory.
The same crowds that cried “Hosanna!” the first day of the week cried, “Crucify him!” at the end of the week.
Because Jesus resisted any attempt to make his message or ministry a handmaiden to the culture, to the government or any other religious group. As this became clear, the crowds began to melt away. They were not much different than we are. A religious commitment that will not support my political view or my economic opinion is not for me.
We live in a day of instant everything, from instant cake mixes to information and entertainment. The fact is there are some things that can only be known by commitment. We don’t know the joy of loving and being loved unless we are committed to the One we love.
The triumphal entry invites us to reexamine our understanding of the mission of Jesus and our commitment to him.
As we see the crowds melt away as the week becomes more difficult and the challenges to commitment become more intense, we must ask ourselves, “Have we made him king for just for the moment, or is he Lord of our lives?”
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is email@example.com.