Focus Scripture – Matthew 21:1-10 (NLT)
As we read today’s lectionary text, we see that many people had gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. We also see that Jesus used this occasion to make his triumphal entry into the Holy City. In doing so, he is symbolically revealed his status as King and fulfilled a prophesy that portended his death on the cross and the completion of his earthly work.
Can you picture the scene? When he made his appearance, the people cheered –
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’[e]
Hosanna in the highest!”
At one point, the people were making so much noise that the Pharisees asked Jesus to make them stop. He replied: “If these should keep silent, the rocks will cry out.”
Triumphal is a word that could be used to describe the scene. Jesus had overcome many obstacles to get to Jerusalem, which was his ultimate destination. He had been rejected in his own hometown. Pharisees, Sadducees, and other religious leaders and teachers had challenged him at every turn. They criticized Jesus and made false accusations against him. They tested him, questioned his authority, and they even plotted to kill him. But he triumphed over it all.
And the people loved it! They probably noticed that he did not sneak into town by way of a back road. He made a grand entrance! A King’s entrance. But he wasn’t riding into town like a conquering hero with pomp and power on a mighty steed leading a Roman legion in a victory parade. No. Jesus was making his entrance into Jerusalem humbly, seated on a colt, an animal fit for burdens and heavy labor. And not only that; the animal on which he rode was borrowed. He made his royal entrance in a manner that was meek and lowly. It prompted people to ask: Who is this?
Sometimes the answer to that question varies depending on who you ask and the stories they recall. It’s interesting to note that all four Gospels include amazing stories about Jesus, but they cover it from slightly different angles and perspectives. Getting a full picture requires putting together all the pieces.