21 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 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. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” 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.’ ”
6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8 Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 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!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Jesus. Riding through Jerusalem on a donkey. Crowds pushing their way to him, cutting branches and laying them on the road before Jesus and the donkey.
And the cries of the crowd: Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!
This is a story that perplexes me. The joy and sense of anticipation is nearly palpable. Here was Jesus, whom the crowds referred to Him as the “….. prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
And yet, in just a few short hours, this mostly likely will be the same crowd that turns on Christ and shouts “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
So what happened? Why the change from the triumphal entry to the crucifixion? What happened when hope turned to anger and rage–and despair and disappointment?
They are a fickle people. They are a people that want a Messiah–a Savior—but one that will impact the current political and religious cultural norms. A leader that they can follow and shout Hosanna! about, and wait with anticipation for what Jesus will do. Will he lead an uprising? Will He lead them into change, into power?
Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
But things quickly changed. The crowd turned. What they had wanted to have happened did not happen they way they thought it should. And crowd mentality overtook them. While writing this, I’m watching the OSU/KU game, and I’m reminded again what a powerful entity a crowd can be, when they are united behind one common cause. And this is what we find when we look at the crowd welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem, then calling for his death shortly thereafter. Crowd mentality. Powerful.
But aren’t we a little bit like the crowd? I believe that we are. I know that I am. I can praise my God with words of worship and thankfulness, and yes, even anticipation, in one moment. And then my heart can turn so quickly to doubt, even to anger when things don’t go the way I expect or want them to. When Jesus doesn’t act in the way I disrespectfully tell Him He should. O my soul, I can be just as fickle, my soul an turn just as quickly as the crowd’s attitude during the final day’s of Christ’s life.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. It’s a day to refresh my memory that my soul belongs to my God, regardless of what my mind may think or do. And I must be on guard to prevent my heart from turning cold, from turning to stone, and to be humble myself to pray to God “I believe, Help my unbelief!” in those moments of weakness and doubt, and those times when I worship Him one minute and turn my back on Him the next.