Scripture reading: Matthew 21:1-11
When an ordinary looking man approached the city of Jerusalem, no observer could have told by his appearance that he was unusual or important. There wasn’t any striking military parade clearing the way before him, there were no gold laurels of victory crowning his head, and he had no retinue of royal courtiers demonstrating his wealth and power.
He was just an ordinary man, dressed in the simple clothes of his time, surrounded by his friends. He rode no horse; he had no chariot. Instead, a young donkey, low to the ground, neither swift nor beautiful, carried him up the hill toward the city of David.
Then something extraordinary happened.
People began to remove their outer cloaks and lay them on the road before him, as a sign of humble reverence. Voices began to rise from the crowd.
“Hosannah!” — an expression of worship — “to the Son of David. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosannah in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9)
An ordinary approach to the city was accompanied by a rising swell of worship, of praise-filled anticipation. To the crowds this ordinary man was not ordinary — he came in the name of their Lord, he was God’s own representative to his people. His coming was an occasion for worship, for reverence, for joy, for exultation. This man on a donkey was a Son of David — a title of kingly implications.
Their shouts were expressions of hope — they did not know for certain the future of this man on a donkey, but they hoped he would be the king who was to come. They hoped he would conquer their enemies and raise them up from the dust of their shame. They hoped that he would restore God’s blessing to their nation so that once again Jerusalem would be a place of God’s glorious revelation to the world. They hoped that this donkey ride would fulfill what the prophet Zechariah foretold: that their king-deliverer would come to them in the form of humility, riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zech. 9) They hoped that this ordinary man was great David’s greater Son.
Their hope swelled into a chorus of joyful expectation as Jesus rode up the long hill toward Jerusalem. Hosannah to the Son of David. The Messiah has come to his city. The King is approaching the gates.
Beyond the crowd’s sight, Heaven itself was watching in adoration.
This ordinary looking man has a divine redemption to fulfill, an arch-enemy to defeat, a sacrificial victory to win. His hour of expected triumph is about to be shockingly achieved.
Hosannah in the highest, indeed.
During Holy Week, your pastoral team will share a daily devotion from Palm Sunday until Resurrection Sunday. Christ is risen!