Today is the beginning of the “Passion Week” (Passion means Suffering). The first day of this week is commonly known a “Palm Sunday.” This term has its root at Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem during the last week of His earthly ministry. The people cut down palm branches and laid them along the way to welcome Him as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was a very significant event as it was recorded by all the four evangelists in their records of the Gospel. Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem was the fulfilment of the prophecies concerning Jesus as the king, prophet and priest.
Matthew recorded that event and noted that “4All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matt. 21:4-5). Matthew could see that Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was a fulfilment of the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. Jesus is the coming King who would establish the kingdom of God on earth. God had promised David that He would raise up his seed in time to come and establish his kingdom and his throne forever (2Sam. 7:12-13). Jesus is THAT promised King. He came to claim His kingdom and to fulfil this prophecy. The people understood this clearly and responded in their praise, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matt. 21:9). The “Son of David” here is an acknowledgment of the kingship of Christ. Though the people recognized the kingship of Christ, yet they did not understand the manner of which Christ would establish His kingdom. During that time, the Jews were under the rule of the Romans. They resented greatly to the Roman rule and were waiting in anticipation that their King would overthrow the Romans and would establish a Jewish state just like in time past under the kingship of David. However, they did not realize that the first advent of Christ was to claim His spiritual kingdom – to rule in the hearts of people. In His trial under the governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus testified clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). When Christ did not fight back but instead chose the path of humility and submission, the multitude changed their tune. Their cries of “Hosanna” (“Save us, we pray!”) were replaced with “Crucify Him!” Here, we can see the shallowness of their praise. When their will and wants were not met, they rejected Jesus as their king.
What about you, my friend? Is Jesus the King of your life today? Do you praise Him in your life? But when the Lord does not seem to work out according to your desire and will, will your “Hosanna” last? My friends, when we declare that Jesus is our King, we have to subject ourselves wholly to His lordship. Praise Jesus not only when life is smooth but also when life is difficult and tough.
Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem was also a fulfilment of His office as the prophet. When He came into Jerusalem, all the city was moved and asked, “Who is this?” The reply they got was, “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matt. 21:11). The multitude clearly recognized that Jesus was indeed a prophet. In fact, He was more than a prophet. He is THE PROPHET as prophesied according to Deuteronomy 18:15-19 – the mightier prophet than Moses. God will put His words in this Prophet’s mouth and He shall speak unto them all that the Lord commanded Him. During His ministry, Jesus testified, “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak” (John 12:49). Jesus is the Word of God manifested in flesh. He is the Living Word who brought the Word of God to the people. Not only is Jesus the Prophet, He is also the Prophecy. The Scriptures are written to point the people unto Him. He came into the world to fulfil them to the jot and tittle. He declared, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matt. 5:17). If you acknowledge that Jesus is indeed THE Prophet, then you should listen and obey His words. Listen to what Jesus says, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).
Third, Jesus also fulfilled His office as a priest. The first place which He visited upon His arrival into Jerusalem was the temple. As a priest, He has to take care of the house of God. He went into the temple and cast out all those who were trading. He overthrew the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold animals. He said to them, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). These traders had made a mockery to the house of God by turning it to a business centre in selling animals and exchanging the Roman coins for the Jewish shekels. Jesus was filled with righteous indignation and chased them out, restoring the house of God, and inviting the blind and the lame into the house of God to be healed. Jesus Christ is the great High Priest who mediates for us, enabling us to draw near to God: “21And having an high priest over the house of God; 22Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith …” (Heb. 10:21-22). Not only is Jesus the Priest, He is also the Lamb of God offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. Jesus came down from heaven’s glory so that He might live as a man. He lived so that He might die; and He died so that we may live forever. He knew the mission of His coming, and He offered Himself wholly as the Lamb of God on the cross to do the will of the Father. Yes, it is only through the precious blood of the Lamb that we are healed. Jesus is the great High Priest who helps us draw near to God through the sacrifice of Himself as the Lamb of God.
My dear friends, as you enter into this holy week, may you meditate upon who Jesus is and what He has done for you. Jesus Christ is the King, the Prophet and the Priest. It is through Him that we can become kings and priests in the kingdom of God. May you praise the name of Jesus both now and forever more. HCL.