They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13
There were two crowds who greeted Jesus on that first Palm Sunday. The first crowd were Passover celebrators who came out from Jerusalem to meet Jesus as he approached from Bethany (John 12:12). The second crowd was made up of those accompanying Him from Bethany who had witnessed the recent miraculous resurrection of Lazarus (John 12:17). Both crowds loudly proclaimed praises to Jesus as he rode into town on a donkey on the road leading Him to Calvary.
John’s account of this day also indicates there were two types of responses to Jesus as he rode into Jerusalem. One outspoken group “continued to spread the word” about Jesus causing many people to look for Him. It even caused the Pharisees to say, “Look how the whole world has gone after him” (John 12: 19).
A second group believed in Jesus but would not publicly confess their faith because of fear of losing their status in the local synagogue. They loved praise from men more than praise from God, John concluded (John 12:42-43).
Palm Sunday is thus a challenge to us about how outspoken or not we are about King Jesus. Do we continue to loudly proclaim Him as our King or are we so fearful of consequences that we hold back and hesitate, losing every opportunity to make Him known.
A pastor friend of Rev. Joseph Tson in Romania was told by an interrogating officer, “We know that Mr Tson would love to be a martyr, but we are not so foolish as to fulfill his wish.”
Pastor Tson said:
Now that I had placed my life on the altar and decided I was ready to die for the Gospel, they were telling me they would not kill me. I could go wherever I wanted in the country and preach whatever I wanted knowing I was safe. As long as I tried to save my life, I was losing it. Now that I was willing to lose it, I found it…
Jesus taught us long ago: with Him, the road down leads upward. With Him, the path of suffering ends in victory. The road to Calvary does not stop until resurrection.
RESPONSE: Today I commit to joining the group of disciples who “continue to spread the word.”
PRAYER: Lord, help me walk the Calvary road with You right through to resurrection!