By Blesson Selvanesan
12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13 So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written, 15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!” 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. (ESV)
Jerusalem was busy with hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate the Passover. Most of them have heard about Jesus and about all the miracles He performed, and how He was different from all other prophets. They heard about Jesus’ plan to come to the temple. Although they were there for the festival, they were looking for Jesus. They had questions, could this be our Messiah? Will there be a great showdown between the Messiah and the oppressing Romans during the festival? Instead, Jesus came in a colt in peace.
It was the lamb selection day, and everyone was busy choosing the best one for their family. It was the day to choose the sacrificial lamb that will be slaughtered on the alter for their sins. As they saw Jesus, everyone took branches of palm trees and went to meet Him crying ‘Save us’. Many thought this was a side show and they were there for the main event at the temple. John, the author of this Gospel, reminds his audience about the prophecy that was being fulfilled about Jesus by the prophet Zachariah. His disciples could only connect the dots after it was all over.
Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, but He told his disciples several times that His kingdom is not of this world. As the prophets had prophesied, He came to be the savior of the world. It was during this lamb selection day, later called ‘Palm Sunday’, that this fulfillment of prophecy took place. He came into Jerusalem as a Prince of Peace and as a lamb, ready for sacrifice.
People had to pay for their lamb, and slaughter it at the alter and repent in order to be forgiven. They had to do this again and again every year. And then came Jesus as a sinless sacrifice for all mankind that will once and for all erase the sins of the world. People cried out save us, we are not sure what they really meant. Though, the Prophets mentioned that Jesus will come as a king on a colt in peace, offering himself to be a sacrifice. It took a while for them to realize. Can we recognize God’s doing even when it looks totally different from our expectations?
When we are focused on our daily lives, are we open enough to see what God has for us? Jesus was not the main attraction at the temple, but many saw Him, acknowledged Him, followed Him, welcomed Him, and celebrated Him. God shows up during our mundane lives, but are we open to recognize that this is from our Lord and so focus our attention?
The people in Jerusalem at that time did not realize that the real lamb that is being selected on that day was Jesus, the Lamb of God. Some did recognize that this is the main event and not the festival at the temple. Do we recognize when prophesies are being fulfilled on seemingly routine days? Let’s be conscious that God is fulfilling His prophecies every day, let’s learn to recognize, celebrate, and worship our King.
Heavenly Father, thank you for being our God and Father. Thank you for being our sacrificial lamb and help us to choose you, love you, and worship you. Help us to recognize you and your work in our lives everyday and be sensitive to hear you. In Christ’s Name, Amen.