Hosanna! the crowds shouted, as Jesus rode peacefully into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The word means “Save!”–both an acclamation of and an appeal to the one who appears to be the prophesied Messiah-King.
I understand what the crowds are saying, but I don’t identify with it. Perhaps I should. But really, I don’t.
I live an economically privileged life in a country in which I have great personal and political freedom. I’m not crying out to be rescued from oppression. The situation of the crowds who spread their cloaks and palm branches before Jesus is not the same as mine.
Except, perhaps, for this: I know what it’s like to cheer and celebrate the God who will bring the kind of salvation I want, and answer my prayers the way I think they should be. I want a God whose plans fit my plans, not one who will disappoint my expectations.
You know how fans can cheer the home team as long as the game is going well, but start booing when things seem to fall apart? I’ve always wondered: how many of the people who hailed Jesus as Messiah on Sunday were in the crowd that called for his crucifixion just a few days later?
Lord, receive both our praise and our confession. You came to Jerusalem to proclaim God’s kingdom. You are the King of all kings. But our hearts are not right. The kingdom you brought, the kingdom we are supposed to seek above all, is not always the kingdom we desire. Too often, we act like enthusiastic but fickle fans, instead of loving, loyal subjects. Give us the eyes to see and the ears to hear, to understand and accept your sovereign will when our plans go awry and our prayers seem to go unanswered. Hosanna in the highest. Amen.