REACTIONS TO GOD’S OFFER OF HOPE! When Jesus appeared on Palm Sunday (Matthew 21:1-11) there were six basic reactions to the Savior on this day. And I think we see the same types of reactions to Jesus in our day as well. The reaction to God’s message and the impact on most people’s hearts has not changed very much over the course of 2,000 years. The first reaction we see to Jesus on Palm Sunday is by the Disciples of Jesus. The disciples by this time in their relationship with Jesus had learned to do what Jesus asked them to do. Many times they did not understand why Jesus asked them to do certain things but they did it anyway. After all why would Jesus need a donkey? And after they responded the things became clear to them. We need to react to Jesus in the same way. When God speaks to us and tells us to do something we need to do it. We may not understand God’s reasons for asking us to do it BUT we need to be obedient to Him. Sometimes God asks us to do things just to test our obedience and see if we will actually serve Him.
These were probably very poor people from Galilee who were following Jesus at this point. To throw their clothing on the ground for a donkey to walk on was undoubtedly a great sacrifice (Matthew 21:8). We don’t think much about that today. We have closets and drawers full of clothes. That was not the case in Jesus’ day. It was a real sacrifice to offer up their clothing. And others spent time and energy cutting and gathering palm branches to throw on the road. They really expended some energy to honor the King. How much do we sacrifice for Jesus today? How much preparation do we make in our lives before we go to the place where we worship Jesus with others? How much have we sacrificed in this past week to honor Jesus? How much are you willing to sacrifice to see people brought into God’s kingdom? Christians are willing to sacrifice to advance in their jobs or careers. Christians are willing to sacrifice to make their homes more comfortable. Christians are willing to sacrifice things in one area so they can have fun in another area. But how much are we Christians willing to sacrifice to honor Jesus the King and advance His Kingdom?
“Hosanna” is a Hebrew term meaning, “Save, I pray.” It is used in the New Testament only in the incident recorded on Palm Sunday. The term had come to be a shout of praise rather than a prayer as it had originally been intended. And that was very appropriate here. The Messiah had arrived. Jesus was being saluted as the King of Israel who had the authority of Jehovah God. It was expected by these crowds that Jesus would set up David’s kingdom once again. Many of them undoubtedly thought that He was the Messiah and would set up the Messiah’s kingdom. But they were expecting a political Messiah, someone who would overthrow the Roman government and restore the nation to power. And many simply recognized Him as the prophet from Galilee. Being caught up in the emotion of the moment they missed the spiritual significance of Jesus’ offer of Himself as Messiah/King. And in that respect the world has missed the significance of Jesus today. Jesus is not just a great teacher, or prophet, or leader, or example. Jesus is not just a great man like George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Moses. Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the World. Jesus is the only way to salvation and eternal life (John 14:6). If you fail to recognize Him for who He really is you miss God’s great plan for the world. So on Palm Sunday we see some reacted with service to the King, some with sacrifice for the King, and some with recognition of the King. But in our next post we want to recognize three other reactions to the King on that Palm Sunday.