The crowd gathered and shouts of “Hosanna” filled the air. Some in the crowd spread their cloaks along the path, while others cut palm branches from the trees and placed them in the road. It had become custom to cast garlands into the path of a king returning to his kingdom after a long absence, and the people of Judea had waited nearly six hundred years for a descendant of King David to return to the throne in Jerusalem.
Many of those in the crowd had followed Jesus from Galilee, while others who had heard the commotion came out from Jerusalem to greet him. Imagine their shock as they saw their king riding on a donkey and weeping over their city (Luke 19:41). Where was the escort of soldiers? Where was his white horse? Where was his crown? Jesus was not the kind of king they had expected, he was not the kind of king they had pictured, but he was exactly the king Scripture had promised.
Like the people of Judea, our expectations of Jesus don’t always match the promises made to us in Scripture. We want to shape and mold Jesus into our own personal god. A god that protects our finances, our families, and our freedoms. This is a king we can accept, but is it the king we need?
Scripture is always challenging us to see the big picture. Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy…” (Matthew 6:29). He said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul…” (Matthew 10:28). He said, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…” (John 8:36). Jesus challenges us to focus on eternity, to live for the Kingdom of God, and to know that the trials faced in this world have already been conquered.
As Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he wept for people who fail to see the big picture, and as he wept the crowd cheered, “Blessed is the King!” They believed that their struggles in the here and now were about to end. It would take them less than a week to realize that Jesus was not the kind of king they had hoped for, and soon they would chant, “Crucify him,” and crown him with a crown of thorns.
Jesus did not come to restore the wealth of Jerusalem, he did not come to temporarily heal the sick, he did not come to crush the oppressive governments of this world, he had something bigger in mind. With his last breath, as his body hung beaten and bruised on a cross, Jesus said, “It is finished!” With three words he promised permanent victory over sin, death, and Satan. With three words he promised permanent healing and guaranteed eternal life for all who believe. With three words he promised paradise in a Kingdom that will have no end. Jesus may not be the king we expected, but he is the king we need, and he was chosen by the wisdom of God.
Take comfort, and believe!