Easter: Cheers to Jeers

In Mark 11, Jesus shows strength and endurance through extreme circumstances that surpass what most of us will ever encounter.

This is not to downplay your struggles, battles, or difficulties in life, but feeling the weight of what was before Him, and scripture tells us how He sweats droplets of blood.

Modern medicine explains how the blood vessels in the forehead will burst when someone is under an extreme level of stress. Jesus took obedience and endurance to a whole new level.

His pending pain or discomfort did not cause Him to deviate or stray from His mission or purpose. His eyes were on you and me. You were worth all the suffering!

As Jesus makes His final ascent into Jerusalem, He has one thing on His mind; Finishing what He started.

Before entering, on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem, Jesus instructs the disciples to go ahead and find a donkey tied up and bring it to Him. Then, he gets even more specific, saying that it will be an animal that has never been sat upon, an unbroken beast.

But why a donkey?

That’s like renting a Prius when you could be driving a Mercedes. A donkey does not invoke feelings of strength or power.

Doing so reveals four things.

  1. Jesus truly is the Prince of peace. During King David’s reign, the donkey represented royalty and symbolized peace.
  2. An unridden animal characterized it as sacred.
  3. It demonstrated Jesus’ control and authority by riding an unbroken animal.
  4. His transportation choice fulfilled the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9.

The crowds were larger than normal, with the Passover just days away, the population of Jerusalem would be rapidly increasing with travelers.

Only days before, Jesus’ most mind-blowing miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead would have been the topic of conversation among the travelers on their journey, hoping to get a glimpse of the miracle-working Rabbi.

So when the crowds see Him, they remove their cloaks and place them on the ground before Him. This was a sign of honor, paying homage to a King. (2 Kings 9:13)

This supports the mindset that the people believe Jesus had come to overthrow the Roman government. In their minds, the Roman Empire would be no match for a Rabbi who brings the dead back to life.

As spontaneously as laying their cloaks on the ground, the people begin to sing, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

People sang this familiar song from Psalm 118 during the Passover celebration. But in this instance, their song took on a prophetic meaning regarding Jesus.

The word Hosanna in Hebrew is a compound word, “yasha” meaning deliver, save, and “na” meaning beg or beseech. Combined, it literally means, “I beg you to save us.”

It is a deeply emotional plea for salvation. It is as if someone is drowning and frantically calling for anyone to save them.

Most were looking to Jesus to provide relief from the oppression of Rome, just as in Egypt. And because the crowds misunderstood who Jesus was, they did not understand what He was doing.

What we view as our greatest need in life is how we will define God.

If we view the greatest need as physical, then we will see God as;

  • a promotion,
  • a politician,
  • a paycheck, or
  • a pain pill.

If we view our greatest need as spiritual, then we will see Jesus as the one who forgives sin and makes us a new creation.

Yet, how we view Him will not change who He is or His primary mission, but it will affect what we receive from Him.

I have seen this as people struggle to understand how an all-powerful God would do or not do something they think He should and then reject Him for it. Their rejection is based on a misconception.

God is far more interested in your holiness than your happiness.

“…without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14b

Holiness is required to see God, which is more important than anything in this life we seek to find happiness.

As Christians, holiness is to be the foundation that happiness is built. Otherwise, the things that make us happy may separate us from God.

As a result of their misconception, the crowds who cheered Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem, laid down their cloaks, and sang “Hosanna” would be replaced in days with jeers and condemnation.

This happens when we try to make out Jesus to be something different from who He is.

Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem this last time was for one purpose to bring salvation to all people. He paid the debt our sin accumulated, with no questions asked or excuses necessary.

If we confess, He will forgive, period! He forgives us freely because He desires to spend eternity with us.

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