Monday, April 18, 2011
"Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord' Blessed is the kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest!" Mark 11:9,10
What exactly was happening in this scene?
Jesus had been healing, casting out demons and teaching with authority like no one had ever witnessed before for nearly three years. The crowds were increasing and hope was growing. For over four hundred years God had been silent, and finally He was on the move again. The people assumed Roman oppression was about to come to an end, since in the past God raised up His prophets to bring salvation. The prophet of the Lord was now coming into the holy city and He brought with him the support of the people.
Well, at least most of the people. You see, He didn't have the support of the religious leaders. They could see through the emotions of the people and realized that this man was not offering freedom from Rome but rather freedom from the religious oppression that the Law plus the religious system had created. They didn't like His message and they really didn't mind the Roman oppression, as long as they could continue in the path of righteousness which elevated them above the common man.
So as Jesus entered Jerusalem, the religious leaders were plotting while the people were rallying.
"Hosanna!" they cried.
What does hosanna mean? It really adds to the story, if you know.
Hosanna in its most literal sense means "Save, help, I pray!" It is a cry for divine salvation - the cheering crowds were appealing to Jesus to save them, to help them by ending the Roman oppression. This cry of Hosanna was a cheer intended to give Jesus the confidence that the people were rallied behind Him and ready to follow Him as He entered their holy city.
They were ready for revolution.
They were ready for freedom.
They would follow His lead, as He would rise up against their oppressors and deliver them from...Rome?
Or their own sin?
Had we been in the crowd, would we have known Jesus' intentions? Would we have cried, "Hosanna!" along with the rest, feeling the movement of revolution and the anticipation that God's salvation was right around the corner?
Or would we have known that the oppression that Jesus was to fight was our own personal death warrant? Would we have understood that the Messiah would defeat the power of sin and break the chains of death before He would ever free us from worldly oppression? Would we have even recognized in the presence of the One True God that we needed Him to exchange identities with us to save us, rather than fight along side us?
I daresay that we all sang "Hosanna" yesterday. This is a cry that was answered 2,000 years ago on the cross - as He hung there, the wrath of His Father was poured out on Jesus Christ because of my sin and in that moment, He did help me. He saved me. He answered my cry for Hosanna by becoming my perfect sacrifice.
Don't miss this picture - those crowds crying for salvation missed that Jesus wasn't an Old Testament prophet but God Himself. Determine today not to cry for salvation to anyone but Jesus. Determine not to cry out for help when life is tough and miss the fact that He's already broken the chains of sin.
Luke 19:41 tells us that Jesus didn't let the crowds sway Him from His goal - when He saw Jerusalem, He wept.
Don't miss this picture...