Our kids love going to parades. We plop our chairs on the side of the road and patiently (OK, not always patiently…) wait for the parade to start. Bags are at the ready in case anyone is throwing candy or passing out goodies. Pretty soon, you hear the first sounds of the parade coming our way.
One of the highlights of the parade is when the military men and women head past us. Everyone stands to cheer and clap in appreciation of their service. We get to tell the kids about how these soldiers help protect us and the freedoms we enjoy in this country.
I wonder if people were feeling something similar when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. Oppressed by the Romans for years, the people had been patiently waiting for the Messiah to come and overthrow the authorities and restore freedom and sovereignty to the nation of Israel.
“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.’” Matthew 21:5
The Messiah had indeed come that day, but events would unfold over the coming days in ways no one expected. Cheers would turn to jeers as Jesus goes from honored guest to public enemy number one. People who once shouted “Hosanna!” will chant “Crucify!” just as loudly several days later.
Jesus truly is the Messiah promised long ago. But He didn’t come to abolish earthly authorities and kingdoms, but spiritual ones. He came to break the bondage of sin and bring freedom to His people.
Today, we join those shouting, “Hosanna in the highest!” On Friday, we will see that we also stand among those shouting, “Crucify!” But then Sunday will turn things upside down again, as we join those who proclaim: “He is risen!”