It’s been said that everyone will experience 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime. Now, this may not be world-renowned fame, but perhaps recognition within your local community. Some of you may have already had an experience in which you received some notoriety. Fame can be great, but it is usually fleeting.
When I was in 4th grade, I brought a game to the school that all my friends wanted to play. They would crowd around, seeking a chance to play Rebound. Then one day, one of my classmates brought in a game that everyone liked better. Just like that, I was yesterday’s news; my stardom was short-lived.
Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, Christians commemorate Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. People laid palm branches in the road before Him. These people, who were coming into Jerusalem for the Passover Celebration, recognized Jesus as the promised Messiah.
All four gospel accounts leave no doubt what the people believed about Jesus that day. Palms were an emblem of joy and victory used by both the Jews and the Romans. They laid their cloaks as well in the road for Jesus to ride over like a carpet. This was an honor that was afforded to royalty.
They shouted “Hosanna,” which means “Save.” They shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” This is in reference to the promise that God made to the Israelites through the prophets that He would place an everlasting king on the throne of Israel from the lineage of David. They shouted, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” They recognized Jesus as the One promised and sent by God.
They had good reason to believe this. The crowds accompanied Jesus because they had seen Him perform many miracles. Most recently, He had healed a blind beggar on His way from Galilee to Jerusalem. Prior to this, Jesus raised Lazarus from death!
Jesus’ reputation for mercy, compassion, and miracles had become very well known. The people had every reason to believe that this was the One that God had sent. No one who had come before could do the things that He could do!
When the people saw Jesus riding a donkey, they recognized this as a prophecy fulfilled. Zachariah prophesied this event hundreds of years earlier so people would know what to expect when the Messiah arrived. It also depicted the kind of king He is: A donkey represented a humble and serving king. It is symbolic of peace and Davidic Royalty. It was by Jesus’ love that the people recognized Him as their coming king.
On this day there were cheers, but in just five days those cheers turned into jeers. The shouts of “hosanna” turned to shouts of “crucify Him.” Jesus, who was recognized for mercy, compassion, and love was shown none of this.
How fickle, cruel and unloving people can be! Thanks be to God that He loves us, in spite of this.
Jesus showed His greatest act of mercy, compassion, and love by willingly giving up His life and dying on a cross for each one of us. Jesus is not Messiah or King because we say He is. Jesus is Messiah, King, because that is who He is.
As Holy week plays out we first see Jesus received by the people. They welcomed Him as their Messiah. In less than a week, however, they rejected Him and killed Him.
The question for us is: How much different are we from the people in Jerusalem that week? Do we receive Jesus as Messiah, praise Him and honor Him, only until things don’t the way we think they should? Do we go along with the crowd when they praise Him, and then turn with them as they condemn Him? Is Jesus truly LORD over your life at all times, or only when it is convenient?
This is something we all have to decide. There will be times when we feel Jesus should be doing more for us. When you face those times will turn from Him, or turn to Him?
Fame is fleeting, but Jesus is not interested in being famous. He didn’t do what He did to impress people; He did it because He loves people. He’s not interested in our cheers and proclamations; He desires our love and devotion. He doesn’t want us to admire Him from a distance; He wants a relationship with us.
People may be fickle, but Jesus is not. He will never change His mind about you. He will not love you one day and turn on you the next. His love for you will never waiver.
Jesus is LORD. He is Messiah. Believe! Amen.