Today’s Reading: John 11:55-12:19
Imagine yourself in Jerusalem over 2000 years ago. There was a great crowd there that day that had come to celebrate the Feast of the Passover. Josephus, the notable Jewish historian, estimated that over two million people were involved in the great Passover Feast. It is known that 256,500 lambs were slain at one Passover and that each lamb represented at least ten worshippers. Teeming thousands from all over the world were flooding into the city to observe the Passover. The mass of people and the necessary housing and food arrangements to handle such a mass of people can hardly be imagined.
An excitable carnival-like atmosphere was bound to prevail over such a mob of people. Lots of people jamming the streets of the city, getting ready to celebrate. But as they prepared to observe one of the most important feasts that the Jewish people celebrated all year, word came that Jesus was on his way into the city.
It is a rare thing that all four gospels record the same event in Jesus’ life. Sometimes one or two gospels record an event; some events in Jesus’ life are recorded in three gospel accounts. But what happens on this day in Jerusalem is recorded by all four of the gospel writers. For that reason alone, we should consider what happened here to be important.
The crowd gathers as Jesus rides into the city on the colt of a donkey and they begin to wave palm branches and shout their welcome to Jesus. The crowd that day were shouting something that was far more significant than they realized. Hosanna, they shouted. Hosanna. This Hebrew word means “he who saves.” They were welcoming their King. But this was not a king that would reign over Israel. No, this King was far more important, far more powerful than any king on earth.
For although they didn’t realize it, they were honouring the King of heaven. They were honouring the King of kings and Lord of lords. They were honouring the King that would triumph over death. They were singing praises to the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.
Shouldn’t we be doing the same thing today?