The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!”
The headings in our Bibles weren’t original to the text. I’m not sure who came up with the name “Triumphal Entry” for the portion of text we’re going to look at today, or when it was so titled, but it begs some questioning.
Triumphal implies the celebration of a great victory or achievement. And while on this day, crowds lined the streets with palm branches and shouted praises to him; within days of the hosannas, the crowd turned ugly, demanding His crucifixion.
You see, the people shouting ‘Hosanna’ had false expectations. They expected Jesus to restore Israel to its former glory, to establish God’s earthly kingdom with them at the top. What they didn’t know was that the true enemies that had to be defeated were not the Gentiles, but rather sin and death. And this could not be done on a white horse and with great armies. Instead, it took humility, a willingness to take the form of a servant and submit to the punishment that God’s people deserve for their sin.
Paul describes this perfect picture of humility in Philippians 2. He says that Jesus, “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave” and that he “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross.”
Throughout Scripture we find that humility is the path to victory and exaltation. We don’t expect to find real strength in those who are humble. But God has a way of turning our expectations upside down. He has a way of showing his glory through things we revile.
As we near our Easter celebrations, let’s prepare our hearts by seeking humility in our own life. Let’s also seek to see Jesus as he really is. Immediately after He ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9, he was seated at the right hand of the Father. He was triumphant over sin and death, he lives in triumph now, and he will return one day to triumph forever over the evil of this world.
That is something to celebrate.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
- Do you ever think about asking God to correct you if you’re wrong in any of your beliefs?
- How can we grow in humility?
- Look up the following verses about Jesus being seated at God’s right hand and discuss: Colossians 3:1, Ephesians 1:16-21