(A few years ago, when I had only one child, wasn’t teaching, and had tons of free time, I attempted what now seems impossible to me: write a post a day during Easter week. For some reason, I’m under the delusion that I can achieve said goal again. So, if I fail, please don’t hold it against me!)
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. – Zechariah 9:9
Today, my church, and churches across the world, celebrated the beginning of Holy Week/Passion Week/Easter Week that is known as Palm Sunday. It’s the day we celebrate Jesus’ fulfillment of the prophecy written above, the day when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (a sign of peace), to shouts of “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!” And I, like so many others, joined in that 2000 year old chorus today, singing “Hosanna” to the One Who died to set me free.
But as I stood with my brothers and sisters in Christ and gave praise to the One to Whom it’s due, I couldn’t help but think of how quickly the crowd turned on Jesus that week. How quickly did the shouts of praise degenerate into the angered chorus of “crucify!” by Friday. How quickly the cries for Jesus to “save now” fell into jeers at Calvary’s tree, when Jesus failed to meet the political expectations of the city’s people. How quickly we turn away.
My students at school commented on this the other day, wondering how could people turn on Jesus like that. Indeed, even His closest friends would betray/desert Him. How can that be? We’d never do that,
But even a cursory look through the Old Testament will show just how quickly our allegiances and praise to God can be turned away, especially when things don’t pan out like we expect/hope. Anyone relate to this in your own life? Just me? Ok.
You see, just like those crowds, I’ve been quick to turn on Jesus when following Him doesn’t line up with what I think it should be. I can still remember the cries of anger (yes anger) when Amanda and I lost our first baby. Very clearly, those days of pounding the floor of my office, crying out to God, still ring in my ears. I assumed that if I did A and B, then Jesus owed me C. I also had succumbed to the “American” Jesus that is so tempting to latch onto, without even realizing it. As if Jesus owed me anything!
I digress. Like those crowds, however, we too can be fickle with our praise. Like the crowds, we can hail Him with our lips, but then deny Him with our lives. He’s worthy of far better than that, folks. As my pastor said today, if all He ever did was die for you, then He’s infinitely worthy of all the praise you have to give!
So let the “hosannas” ring!