“And those who went in front and those who followed were shouting: ‘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 11:9-10
When you think about a triumphal entrance of a king, what images come to mind? Perhaps the image of a king adorned in the finest royal apparel, riding in a lavish chariot, accompanied by a fleet of strong, pristine horses and an entourage of courageous, fighting men who serve to protect the royal highness. Or, maybe you think of a king wearing a crown of gold covered in precious gems surrounded by myriad servants to offer and care for anything the king may need.
For centuries, God’s chosen people, the Israelites, had long-awaited the coming of their King. However, on one special Sunday in the city of Jerusalem, that long-awaited day—a day filled with great anticipation and jubilance—finally arrived. The King of Kings rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, fulfilling prophecy (Zechariah 9:9), and He was hailed by the joyous, hope-filled crowd.
As Jesus and His disciples approached the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem, the masses lined the path and laid down a leafy, green carpet of palm branches. They crowned Him with exuberant praise, shouting, “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 11:9-10).
Israel expected a King, and they hailed Jesus as King on this day. When they shouted, “Hosanna,” they were literally saying, “Save us, please!” Their praise was recognition of who Jesus was and what they hoped He had come to do—namely, they wanted the Kingdom of David reestablished and Jesus to take His seat on Jerusalem’s throne. However, Jesus came to Jerusalem to fulfill other plans; He came to fulfill God’s plan.
God’s plan was much different than what the people of Israel had hoped for. Not long after Jesus’ triumphal entry, the “hosannas” ceased and the crowds disappeared. Jesus found Himself abandoned to the stark realization of His calling. Jesus came to Jerusalem not to establish an earthly throne, but to carry out His Father’s plan by way of the cross to make the ultimate atoning sacrifice for their sins, for my sins, and for your sins. Jesus had not come to Israel to be King of the land, but to be King of their hearts.
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem that Sunday afternoon, He began His journey to the cross. The date was Nisan 10 on the Jewish calendar—the day in which lambs were selected for the annual Passover sacrifice. On Friday, Nisan 14, Jesus Himself would become that sacrifice. Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, became the Passover Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of the world.