The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem.
Look, your King is coming,
riding on a donkey’s colt.”
His disciples didn’t understand at the time that this was a fulfillment of prophecy. But after Jesus entered into his glory, they remembered what had happened and realized that these things had been written about him.
Many in the crowd had seen Jesus call Lazarus from the tomb, raising him from the dead, and they were telling others about it. That was the reason so many went out to meet him—because they had heard about this miraculous sign. Then the Pharisees said to each other, “There’s nothing we can do. Look, everyone has gone after him!”
Some Greeks who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover celebration paid a visit to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee. They said, “Sir, we want to meet Jesus.” Philip told Andrew about it, and they went together to ask Jesus.
Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity. Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.
“Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came! Father, bring glory to your name.”
Then a voice spoke from heaven, saying, “I have already brought glory to my name, and I will do so again.”
It doesn’t take much imagination to picture a king riding into battle, galloping in on a white horse, sword ready, armor gleaming. Yet Christ’s triumphal entry described in John 12 shows us a true king doesn’t need fancy props.
On what we now call Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem riding a humble donkey. Yet He received a royal welcome. Cloaks and palm branches rolled out on the road before Him like a red carpet. A crowd gathered, waving branches and cheering.
The Jewish people knew by heart the prophecy of Christ’s coming. Their shouts of “Hosanna” were a hope-filled cry for help. Jesus’ entry into the city staked His claim on both His throne and His people. It was a public declaration of who He was: Messiah, Savior and King.
But King Jesus wouldn’t rescue them as they expected — sword in hand, ready to violently overthrow a political empire and deliver His people from the pressing Roman authorities. Instead, He would lay down His sword — lay down His own life — to deliver them from a greater, hidden oppressor: their own sin.
Sadly, the crowds would turn on Him in a few days’ time, blinded by the bonds of sin that truly held them.
But these bonds hold us no longer because of the sacrifice only the one true King could make.
Our souls still cry out, “Hosanna!” King Jesus responds as only He can: defeating our enemies — sin and death — and making us free forever.
To whom or what are you looking for deliverance? What is one way you need Jesus, the true king, to deliver you today? Is there a sin you can’t seem to escape? Envy, anger, control or addiction*?
Make no mistake: If you’ve invited Jesus into your life, you are His. He is your King and Savior. Ask Him to free you of any sin holding you back today. Then choose to follow Him moment by moment, knowing that He will always lead you to freedom.
Is Jesus God or just a good man? Explore more about Jesus here.
What is the gospel? Learn more here.
* This devotional addresses mental health issues that affect people from all walks of life. While addressing parts of these issues within the context of Christian community is important, there are times when further professional help may be required. It is OK to ask for help! If you are in this situation, please seek out a mental health professional. A tool to find a professional in your area, along with other resources, can be found at https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/life-and-relationships/emotions/mental-health-resources.html.
Lisa Lakey is a wife, a mom of two, a writer and the lead editor for FamilyLife®. She writes from her kitchen table in central Arkansas with a cup of coffee in one hand and kids and pets circling at her feet.
As a follower of Jesus, you can have confidence through His resurrection that your sins are forgiven. Everything Jesus promised in His teachings you can trust to be true. You are a child of God, and you will live forever with Him.
If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve experienced dark moments when you’ve felt alone. When the power of death felt present in your life. When you’ve been without. Easter Saturday, and the words of Isaiah, remind us that Jesus, too, experienced what we do.
Reflect with us on what Jesus endured and why He died.
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