For the next week, we’ll be walking in Jesus’ footsteps to the cross and beyond.
Jesus came to town today. Here’s the picture painted by eyewitnesses:
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the King of Israel!”
Another witness reported:
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered,
“This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Another added these details:
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied,
“if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Get the picture? The crowd’s whooping it up. It’s a raucous, almost-out-of-control celebration. God’s here — let’s party!
But look a little closer and you begin to see some sobering details and perplexing contrasts. The very center of all the commotion — Jesus — is described as “gentle” and “humble.” He didn’t come swooping in Hollywood-style with loud music and fireworks and riding on a diamond-covered Harley. (That’s how I would have done it.) Instead, he came in riding on a little donkey (Matthew 21:5). And he wasn’t exactly celebrating: witnesses reported seeing him weep. (Luke 19:41)
Why would Jesus weep? Maybe he knew what was coming. Today, he’s surrounded by adoring crowds. But just a few days later, it’ll be down to him and his 12 disciples. Then the 12 will become 11. Then even the 11 will desert him, leaving him alone and dying on a cross.
How — and why — in the world could that happen? Let’s follow Jesus these next few days and find out.