Palm Sunday: Hosanna to the Son of David!
Today marks the beginning of Holy Week. As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, let us slow down with the gospel accounts to see this week in all of its weight and beauty. With the start of Holy Week we begin with Palm Sunday. Let’s read together Matthew 21:1-11.
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 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. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
“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.’ ”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 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!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
For our time today I want to focus in on the words that the crowds were shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Hosanna is a wonderful word. Literally, it means “Save us, please,” but it is also a shout of praise to God. When we see Jesus coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, we see the crowds extolling him with this very word – Hosanna! “Praise be to the Son of David! Praise in the highest!” The crowd is shouting for Jesus to save them, proclaiming him as the one who was coming in the name of the Lord.
At the same time, by his actions in this very moment, Jesus is showing everyone that he is the King that Jerusalem had been waiting for, but not as the king that they expected. He is the Son of David, the eternal King to save and reign over God’s chosen people. But Jesus didn’t come with the type of entry that would be fitting most kings. Instead of having a huge barricade to keep the path clear, countless guards making sure he was safe, and a pristine chariot to carry him to his throne, Jesus instead rides on a donkey with coats as a saddle and his throne would come on the other side of a Roman cross and borrowed tomb. Clearly it’s not what’s expected. However, this moment should cheer our hearts and cause us to shout “Hosanna” for three reasons:
1. Jesus’ humble entry into Jerusalem fulfills Zechariah 9:9.
Zechariah 9:9 says “Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Why should this fulfillment cheer our hearts? Because it was a part of Jesus’ active obedience. What this means is that Jesus intentionally fulfilled what was prophesied of him so that he would fulfill all righteousness on our behalf. Jesus had to be perfectly righteous, having a perfect record of obedience to God’s perfect Law so that his death would be a perfect atonement for us. Apart from this, Jesus isn’t the king prophesied. But with it, we can trust that he has righteousness and salvation for us.
2. Jesus came to Jerusalem on this final week to willingly lay down his life for his people.
Looking a little closer to Jesus’ fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, we can remember that this is the week that Jesus would willingly endure the cross, despising its shame, all for the joy of bringing his people to Glory! In this moment, Jesus is voluntarily coming to Jerusalem on a donkey in order to fulfill these prophesies. It’s not as though he’s being coerced into it, because if he were coerced, then he would no longer be a perfect substitute for us. Rather, Jesus came willingly to be praised with shouts of Hosanna and then a couple days later be abandoned, beaten, mocked, and crucified so that all who trust in him would be saved.
3. Jesus’s humble entry points us to his glorious return.
Finally, this humble entry is pointing us to the glorious return of King Jesus where he will return on a white horse instead of a humble donkey. Where he will come with trumpets sounding and glory shining. Where he will come to judge the living and the dead, and bring his people to a great feast. Where his coming will bring the New Jerusalem, the New Heavens and New Earth. No more death, no more pain, no more sin, but perfect righteousness, joy, and satisfaction for all his saints.
So let us look on Jesus, our humble King, our glorious King, and be reminded of the love he has for us which he displays by coming on Palm Sunday to begin the final week of his earthly ministry before his death and resurrection. Let your heart dwell on his great willingness to enter into the city that rejected him and crucified him all for the sake of securing your salvation.
Pray – Thank Jesus for his great love that compelled him to willingly lay his life down on the cross for you. Thank him for living in perfect righteousness so that he may atone for your sin. Thank him for for his salvation. Then pray that he’d give you greater knowledge of his deep love for you, that he’d grant you greater assurance of salvation, and that he’d lift your gaze up to the throne of grace, to the glories that await when he returns. Pray that he’d come soon, not on a humble donkey, but in his full majesty as he’s promised.
Sing – If you are able, take some time to conclude your devotion this morning by listening and reflecting on the lyrics of O the Deep Deep Love by Sovereign Grace Music.