John 12:13: Jesus comes to Jerusalem as King

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Blessed is the king of Israel!’

John 12:13 NIVUK

This is the moment, marked by Christians as Palm Sunday, when Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, to much adulation. We of course love Our Lord and cherish Him, but something is not quite right about this situation.

The regal welcome is, we know in hindsight, not due to last, but at that moment is the culmination of a series of events which leaves the Pharisees worried: “So the Pharisees said to one another, ‘See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!’” (John 12:19). It perhaps makes them all the more focused on eliminating Our Lord, the great disruptor, from their settled and complacent order.

Although individuals are of course involved and decisions are made freely, the situation is now following its own momentum. The “king” the crowds are declaring Jesus to be is the King of Israel. They shout “Hosanna!” which is a Hebrew word, “Save!”, equating Our Lord to the Messiah of the Old Testament. The vastly high feeling of the people is unstable. As any manic will tell you, deep lows follow great highs and there is no beating the low that is to follow.

But the sacrifice to come, as unimaginably painful and sorrowful as it will be, has been mandated by God. It will be the greatest and most precious gift ever given to mankind, which is there for the taking, if we were but ready to receive it.

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