Matthew 21:8-9 – 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!" (NIV)
I admit it: I love parades — especially the drum lines and the bagpipes. When I was growing up in Toronto, Canada, my family went to the annual Christmas parade and it was a big deal. Here in Rabbit Lake, we don't have that kind of sophistication though. At last summer's Rabbit Lake Days parade, the joke was, "We tell folks our parade is two hours long; we just don't say that the same people went around the town over and over again."
That got me thinking. Even in Rabbit Lake, population maybe 60, the people in the parade and the people watching it had to get ready for it. Even for Palm Sunday — when we usually gather in the church — somebody has to order the palm branches, and the congregation is told ahead of time about waving palm branches to celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem! So, why were the people in Jerusalem ready with palm branches when Jesus made His entry? How did they know?
Exodus 12:3,6 – Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. (NIV)
You see, on the tenth day of the month of Nisan, the day that we celebrate as Palm Sunday, the people of Jerusalem traditionally gathered with palm branches at the ready, because the high priest would return from Bethlehem, where all the temple lambs were raised, with the flocks for the Passover lamb selection day. The crowd would then wave their palm branches and shout, "Hosanna to the lamb of God who has come to take our sins away!" as the high priest went by.
On the day that Jesus came to Jerusalem, He may have followed the high priest's procession closely enough that the crowds would not miss the connection that He was the Lamb of God, as John the Baptist had called Him.
The amazing thing is that the crowd recognized Jesus for who He was: the Messiah. They called Him "Son of David", a Messianic title, and they shouted "Hosanna", which means "save now" — taken from a Messianic psalm. The Lamb of God was greeted as Messiah, high priest, and king by the people — the true sacrificial Lamb who would save, not only them, but everyone who trusted in Him, from their sins. They had watched as the high priest, the representative of the old covenant that God had made through Moses, went by with the sacrificial lamb, and then, they greeted the Representative of the new covenant that God was about to make through Jesus, the final sacrificial Lamb. And they were ready for Him.
Our powerful, loving, caring God sent His Son because He so loved the world, the Son who willingly died for us as our sacrificial Lamb, and who is now at the right hand of the Father, interceding as our high priest. Are we ready for Him? Are we ready to give Him all the praise and honour that is due Him?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are so amazing! Thank You for showing us in such a meaningful way who Your Son really is, and why You sent Him to this world. Thank You, Jesus, for being who You said You were. Help us always to be ready to praise You and give You all the credit for everything You do. Hosanna! In Your name, we pray. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Ride On Ride On In Majesty" (Lyrics)