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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


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When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:7-10, NIV)

This is the moment we recognize as Palm Sunday, when Jesus came down from the Mount of Olives, across the narrow Kidron Valley, and up to Jerusalem.

Amazingly, He is riding on a colt never before ridden. Just as He had shown His mastery over nature in calming storms at sea (Mark 4 and 6), now He demonstrates again His authority by not only riding an unbroken colt, but riding him through a shouting crowd that is throwing branches on the path before Him.

Matthew tells us that the colt was with its mother — typical of Matthew, who gives us the panoramic view of the whole event, while Mark does the close-up and focuses only on the colt.

In agreeing to enter Jerusalem in this manner Jesus clearly is making a statement, presenting himself as the entering King prophesied by Zechariah (9:9).

Sometimes we’ve heard it said that on Sunday they were shouting “Hosanna,” and on Friday, “Crucify Him.” But that is to misread the situation. The crowd with Jesus on His entry into Jerusalem were pilgrims. The people of Jerusalem would not have walked up the Mount of Olives en masse to meet Jesus — rather, it was a pilgrim crowd coming from Galilee and elsewhere who had made the long trek up to Jerusalem. Sabbath had come, so they rested in the villages atop the Mount of Olives before completing their journey.

Now they were ready — on the first day of the week — to enter Jerusalem and complete their week of pilgrimage. It was a different crowd, composed of Jesus’ Jerusalem opposition, which shouted “Crucify Him” five days later.

The adoring throng with Jesus clearly believed their promised Deliverer was entering Jerusalem that day. You can hear it in the four distinct shout-outs from the group during the procession.

The first recurring shout is one word: “Hosanna!” The word means “Save!” It’s both a shout of praise and a cry appealing for God’s immediate help. Indeed, on that week Jesus will bring God’s help, but not in the way they expect. One week later, on the following Sunday, Jesus will rise from the dead on the third day following His crucifixion. His death and resurrection will open heaven for us because through Him our sins are forgiven and we receive eternal life.

The second and third recurring shouts are, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” Unlike the first shout where we ask for help, these shouts ask blessing on Him and the kingdom He brings.

The final recurring shout intensifies the first one — not just “Hosanna,” but, “Hosanna in the highest!”

Don’t you wish you could have been there that day, to be among those welcoming Jesus into Jerusalem! But we can welcome Him this day into our hearts. We can cry, “Hosanna!” and lift up our voices to call Him “Blessed!” We have so much more now to praise Him for than the crowd did on that day.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, from my heart today also I lift my voice to praise You. I always want to be among those who honor You.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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