There were two different groups of people in the crowd on that day.“Those that went before” were persons who had come out of Jerusalem because of their curiosity as a result of all the shouting. “Those who followed” and “cried out” were the Galileans. The Galileans were the common people who knew Jesus best. The people from Jerusalem were the wealthy and superficially religious leaders.
When we read the account of Jesus entry into Jerusalem we tend merge the two crowds into one and assume it the same people who shouted “Hosanna” that day was the same people that a few days later also cried “crucify Him.”
It was the jubilant Galileans who shouted “Hosanna” and the aristocratic, superficially religious ingrates of Jerusalem who wanted to appease the Romans who cried “crucify Him.”
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Matthew 21:1-11 ESV Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord needs them,' and he will send them at once." This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying, "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.'" The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds said, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."
This last Sunday before Easter Sunday is called Palm Sunday. It's the first Day of Holy Week. It is when Christians remember how Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. It is called Palm Sunday because the people were so happy to see Jesus and knew that he was very important, so they took branches from the Palm and Olive Trees that lined the road. They waved them in the air shouting 'Hosanna' (which means 'God Saves' in Hebrew) and put some of them on the road to make it easier for the donkey to walk on the rocky road.
Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on that day is also called the Triumphal Entry. Which was fulfillment of one of the prophecies of the Messiah fulfilled by Jesus.
Zechariah 9:9 ESV Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
But while this is was a triumphal entry, it was also Jesus’ first step toward His death.
Jesus had become somewhat of a celebrity because of all the miracles He had performed starting with changing water to wine at a wedding
John 2:1-11 ESV On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast." So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.
and ending with the miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead,
John 11:38-44 ESV Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out." The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."
They wanted to see this man. Many were thinking that He is the Messiah who is going to free them from Roman persecution. They wanted to make Him King.
But Jesus wasn’t arriving to be their king based on the fact of all these miracles including the raising Lazarus. In fact the story of Lazarus had the religious leaders in an uproar and they were determined to stop His popularity by putting an end to His life. They wanted to kill Lazarus too.
John 11:45-53 ESV Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, "What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.
John 12:9-11 ESV When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.
Jesus and His disciples had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The Passover was the feast that God commanded Israel to celebrate every year to commemorate there release from slavery in Egypt when God sent the last plague against Egypt when all the first born males of the Egyptians were killed but the death angel passed over the houses of the Israelites who put the blood of a sacrificial lamb around their doors.
The city was filled with pilgrims, visitors, and travelers who had come from many countries to share in the feast. Secular census records indicate there were at least 2,500,000 people in Jerusalem for the event.
An exciting rumor spread through the city: “Jesus Christ is coming!” People had been talking about the miracles He had performed during His ministry and especially the resurrection of Lazarus.
Jesus entered Jerusalem coming from the area around the of towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the opposite side of the Mount of Olives from Jerusalem.
Mark 11:1-2 ESV Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it.
Historians tell us that traditionally persons from various regions all had their special area around Jerusalem where they camped for feast days. The south end of the Mount of Olives where Bethphage and Bethany were had for years been the camping grounds of people from Galilee. Now Galilee was the region, in Northern Israel, where Jesus spent most of His time during His three years of ministry and where He performed most of His miracles. These Galileans were unsophisticated people. They were the ones who, knew Him best. On several occasions they had tried to make Him a king.
One of these occasions was after He fed more than five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish.
John 6:14-15 ESV When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!" Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
These Galileans were the common people Mark was talking about when he said that they heard Jesus gladly..
Mark 12:35-37 NKJV Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’ Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’ ; how is He then his Son?” And the common people heard Him gladly.
These Galileans were the people in the crowd that day that first say Jesus riding into Jerusalem because He started His entry from the area of Bethphage and Bethany.
As He entered the outskirts of Jerusalem those those who camped in and around the city joined the crowd.
In the city of Jerusalem were the wealthy and superficially religious leaders. Jesus had often antagonized them by referring to the “scribes and Pharisees” as “hypocrites”.
Matthew 23:13, 15-16, 23, 25-25, 27, 29-30 ESV "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people's faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. "Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous,
Also among them were the Sadducees who had long been plotting His downfall. In order to preserve their wealth and lifestyle, they had associated with the conquering Romans. So they compromised their faith. They had much to lose if they displeased the Romans. These man-pleasing priests and scribes were plotting Jesus’ death.
The poorer Galileans had nothing to lose. The Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees these city dwellers would do anything to please the Romans in order to continue to prosper.
In their eyes Jesus was an expendable. Besides, in the eyes of the religious leaders He was a threat to religious tradition, not the Messiah.
There were actually two different groups of people in the crowd that day.
Mark 11:9 ESV And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
“Those that went before” were persons who had come out of Jerusalem because of their curiosity as a result of all the shouting. “Those who followed” and “cried out” were the Galileans.
When we read the account of Jesus entry into Jerusalem today we tend merge the two crowds into one and assume it the same people who shouted “Hosanna” that day was the same people that a few days later also cried “crucify Him.”
It was the jubilant Galileans who shouted “Hosanna” and the aristocratic, superficially religious ingrates of Jerusalem who wanted to appease the Romans who cried “crucify Him.”
With which crowd do identity the unsophisticated folk from Galilee who followed Jesus shouting Hosanna, or the aristocratic, superficially religious ingrates from Jerusalem who came just because they were curious.
Do you daily put Him to an open shame or is your lifestyle a praise of Him, resulting in people praising Him?
Let me propose to you today five things about Palm Sunday that remind us that Christ is King and that we should be among those in the crowd shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!"
1. God's Word tells us the people cut palm branches and waved them in the air, laid them out on the ground before Jesus as He rode into the city. The palm branch represented goodness and victory and was symbolic of the final victory He would soon fulfill over death.
1 Corinthians 15:55 (ESV)55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
2. Jesus chose to ride in on a donkey, which directly fulfilled Old Testament prophecy
Matthew 21:4-5 (ESV)4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,5 “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’”
In Biblical times, it was common for kings or important people to arrive by a procession riding on a donkey. The donkey symbolized peace, so those who chose to ride them showed that they came with peaceful intentions. Jesus even then reminded us that He is the Prince of Peace.
3. When the people shouted "Hosanna!" they were hailing Christ as King. That word actually means "save now," and though in their own minds they waited for an earthly king, God had a different way in mind of bringing true salvation to all who would trust in Him.
When they shouted "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!"
They were quoting verse 26 of Psalm 118
Psalm 118:26 (ESV)26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
Scripture says that salvation comes when to do what it says in
Romans 10:8-11 (ESV)8 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
4. The Bible says that Jesus wept for Jerusalem. In the midst of the praise of the moment, He knew in His heart that it wouldn't be long that the people of Jerusalem, that we talked about earlier, the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees be able to execute their plans to kill Him They would even get the help of one of His closest followers.
Luke 22:3-6 (ESV)3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
His heart broke with the reality of how much they needed a Savior.
Luke 19:41-44 (ESV)41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
5. Palm Sunday reminds us that the reign of Christ is far greater than any the mind of man could ever conceive or plan. Man looked for someone to fight their battles in the present day world. Yet God had the ultimate plan of sending His Son to fight the final battle over death. This is the greatness of why we celebrate this week. Because of Christ's ultimate sacrifice, we can be set free of death.
This is what Jesus told Lazarus’ sister.
John 11:24-26 (ESV)24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.”25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”We have so much to be grateful for this week.
The enemy knows that, and you can bet, he's going to do everything he can to try and distract us away from the true meaning of what this Holy Week means. Don't let him win.
Let's choose to focus on worshipping our Lord, thanking Him for the gift of His sacrifice, celebrating the power of the Resurrection, and the new life found in Him alone.
2 Corinthians 9:15 (ESV)15 Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!