Scripture Reading: John 12:12-50, Psalm 118:25-29, Zechariah 9:9
Today’s passage beautifully shows the full picture of the Lenten study through 1 & 2 Chronicles. During Israel and Judah’s cycles of disobedience, God persistently called them to return to Him in repentance. Although they looked to human leaders, like kings and judges, for temporary salvation, reconciliation with God was the only satisfaction for their true needs. In the reading today, the people declare Jesus as Messiah, but it seems they still had the expectation of salvation from current hardship rather than Jesus’s kingdom He was bringing to reign in their hearts.
Likely many of the people following Jesus into Jerusalem on this day cheered and worshiped Him as they did because of the way they thought He was riding in to save them—yes, they knew He was their savior. “Hosanna,” an exclamation of praise, was their cry, and the overwhelming throng of followers must’ve been a sight to see! The Pharisees even grumbled amongst themselves, saying, “‘the world has gone after him!’” (John 12:19). Surely, with such a following, He was coming to overthrow their Roman oppressors and deliver them a political victory.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, it was a declaration. It was a public statement. He had come to earth to live, and He also had to die. They saw a man with the hand of God on Him and followed with adoration. What they may not have seen was that Jesus didn’t come to ensure His life and overthrow the rulers…He came to give up His life.
This flip of expectations is one of the most beautiful paradoxes in Scripture: over and over, Jesus teaches us how the world’s way is not God’s. Jesus, the King of kings, didn’t enter Jerusalem carried in a golden chariot but alone on a colt. He didn’t come in royal purple robes but was welcomed with the clothes off the backs of people like you and me. He taught that for us to ultimately find our lives, we must lose them (Matthew 10:39)—and more so, He proved it by leading with His example!
Let’s remember how 1 & 2 Chronicles ended: a seed of hope. This story ends the same way. As we start this Holy Week, pray to remember that Jesus brings hope. It’s not an easy week of stories to read, but by following Jesus unashamedly, we see the full circle from our own desperation to eternal life through Christ’s sacrifice. Just as Jesus entered Jerusalem, have you ever thought about Him entering your life? Have you allowed Him to have victory over your own sin and desperation? Has He won your affection and praise? Are you willing to follow Him even when His path doesn’t meet your expectations?
Written by Canaan Chapman