The ride Jesus took into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday was a moment vital to our salvation.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, perched up on that colt on the Sunday before His crucifixion, it was the first time since raising Lazarus from the dead that He’d shown His face in the city. The story of Lazarus’ resurrection had circulated, so even those who only heard about it later regarded Jesus as something of a celebrity. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of Him. John tells us that because they heard Jesus had raised Lazarus, they went out to meet Him and received Him like a King (John 12:12-18).
Jesus said Lazarus’ death would end in the faith of many and in the “glory of God—that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4). But the glory He had in mind was even more magnificent than His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In fact, Jesus wasn’t referring to the glory the people gave Him at all. Lazarus’ resurrection would steel the resolve of the religious leaders to hand Jesus over to a death He would freely accept—a death He would ultimately conquer (John 11:45-53). That was the glory He meant.
This Sunday was the hour of Jerusalem’s visitation. Jesus loved this city. He wept over her because what the people wanted and what they needed were so far from one another (Luke 19:41-44). Jesus knew the full extent of the salvation these people required, and He also knew what it would cost. He knew salvation was unfolding before them in that very moment.
The punishment that would bring them peace was about to be laid upon Him (Isaiah 53:6).
Jesus knew the religious leaders would play a role in bringing this punishment to Him because they feared Rome more than they feared God. He knew they would be willing to kill one of their own if it meant preserving the privilege of worship that Caesar had granted (John 11:48-50).
And so it was that He rode on into the city and made His way to the temple while the people of Israel parted like a holy curtain torn, crying, “Hosanna!” which means, “Please, save us now” (Matthew 21:6-9).
As Jesus rode along, the people cried out to one another, “Your King is coming!” (Mark 11:10) and they praised His victory over Lazarus’ death (John 12:17-18). But the irony was that He wasn’t coming to claim His crown on account of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. He was coming to claim it on account of His own.
written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the King of Glory