Lenten Reader | Day 34

Blessed is the King

The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written:
“Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion;
    see, your king is coming,
    seated on a donkey’s colt.”

John 12:12-15
In Hebrew, the word Hosanna means “Save, we pray! or Give victory!” What a beautiful and fitting praise for the one coming to do this very thing. The palm branch had become a national symbol for the Jewish people and by waving the branches, the multitude provided Jesus with the welcome of a king returning home victorious from war. They brought Him into Jerusalem as the triumphant Messiah but did not understand what His kingship would be. Jesus came not on an animal of war, but rather on one of peace. Riding in on a lowly donkey, Jesus would display the character of His kingdom knowing full well that the multitude would soon turn their shouts from “Hosanna!” to “Crucify!” Despite this, Jesus went forward to victory, bearing on Him the sins of us all. 
Throughout the gospels, we see examples of His kingship being misunderstood. The Jewish people were looking for their Messiah to come and free them from the oppression of the Romans, all the while missing the freedom they truly needed. The freedom from sin and death that we were unable to escape. Often, we can be more like the multitude than we care to admit. Just like them, we can find ourselves seeking a savior but wanting him on our terms. Trying to do things our way and failing to realize the need for total surrender to God. We must lay down our lives to truly receive life and must accept the truth that His ways are perfect. 
Despite our shortcomings, Jesus continues to offer us love and grace. It is the same love that caused Him to ride into Jerusalem knowing what lay ahead. The love that caused Him to suffer the full wrath of God. It is in this love that we shout, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! Blessed is the king of Israel! 
Scott Thompson