Two of our sons participated with their baseball teams in a little league tournament this past Saturday. The baseball complex was full of kids in uniforms and their fans, My husband, Brian, is a coach for one of our sons and took both ball players early to the park. Our other sons were with me that morning doing another club activity that involved some competition, but also just learning and fun. We made it to the ballpark a little later, and stayed there the rest of the day. As teams were eliminated, the crowds thinned out. The last teams left at the ballpark were the top four. The energy felt from the crowd was both tired and excited. At least, that was how I was feeling, and I wasn't even one of the players or coaches. We cheered our teams on throughout their games, and consoled them if they lost.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday. It is the day Christians remember "The Triumphal Entry." Jesus and his disciples are traveling to Jerusalem. He sends two of them into a nearby village to find a colt. He assures them that they will be able to obtain the colt. This donkey is what Jesus rides into Jerusalem. As he enters the city, there are crowds of people who greet him by shouting "Hosanna!" and spreading their coats and leafy branches on the road. They are cheering Him on like a parade for a beloved King.
The crowd of people were anticipating that Jesus was going to be their king, He was going to save them from the oppressive rule from both the Romans and the religious hierarchy. He had been throughout the land, performing miracles and teaching with authority. Little did this crowd know they would be shouting very different things at Jesus by the end of the week.
How easily crowds can turn on their anticipated heroes, huh? When our kids' teams make a hit or good play, we are loud and cheering "Way to go!" and "Run, Baby, Run!" When they make errors (yes, 8 year olds make lots of errors), the crowd usually groans or at least shake their heads. Some parents even scold their kids from the bleachers. When Jesus was seen as the Man coming to take over Jerusalem, the people were excited. They were not only going to be healed of their ailments, but they were also going to be freed from foreign rule. Later, when they see Jesus being crucified, they are no longer cheering Him on. He has lost. He is going to be dead, rather than rule them righteously. They thought that dying on that cross was the end of their hero, and their hopes. Even Jesus' closest friends doubted Him when he did not escape that death.
Yet, Jesus did. He died on that cross. His dead body was laid to rest in that tomb. That tomb was sealed and guarded by Romans. Yet, Jesus did rise from the dead. Without first dying, we would not be able to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior. If He had not taken our place on that cross, we would not be able to spend eternity with the Father. Jesus died for all of the people in those crowds, and He died for all the people at the baseball fields too. It is up to all of us, as individuals, to accept who He is and accept his gift. Making Jesus the ruler of my life is the best thing. Hosanna!
Mark 11:1-11 New International Version)
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
1 Peter 2:24 (NIV)
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”