Palm Sunday's Reading: Matthew 21:1-11
Have you ever had a moment in life where you got what you deserved? A time where your efforts were recognized? Your hard work rewarded? Each year we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates. The month of May is a time for caps and gowns, ceremonies and celebrations as we pause to acknowledge our student's hard work. I will never forget watching my children walk across that platform for high school graduation. In just a few weeks, I will see yet another Hannon stroll across that stage, plus we will add our first college graduate. And for just a moment, we will pause and give them what they deserve: acknowledgment, praise, and celebration. There are moments in life when we pause and give people what they deserve.
Matthew 21 was a moment when Jesus got what He deserved. A short moment in time when Jesus was recognized appropriately. A rare moment during His earthly ministry when a proper response was offered to His presence on earth. It occurred as Jesus entered Jerusalem to usher in the last week of His life. A crowd gathered to receive Him, and it was a beautiful moment. Matthew's Gospel captures it well:
"A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
'Hosanna to the Son of David!'
'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'
'Hosanna in the highest heaven!'
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, 'Who is this?' The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'" Matthew 21:8-11
It was a point of reverence and worship. A time of adoration and proclamation. Jesus rode into town on a donkey and the crowds recognized Him as the promised Messiah and Savior. They adorned the roads with a carpet of cloaks and waved palm branches in the air. This was a celebration of the arrival of the One sent to save them. They shouted "Hosanna!" - an expression of praise and acclamation. The crowds were exclaiming the glory and blessing of God.
And check this out: Jesus did not stop them. He allowed them to worship and adore Him. It was a shift from His normal deflection of attention and worship. Why did He allow it? Because it was right and appropriate. He deserved it. In fact, in Luke's Gospel, the Pharisees tried to stop them from praising Christ and Jesus said to them: "if they stop, the stones will cry out." Jesus is worthy of our worship, reverence, and praise. It is what He deserves.
This moment was the beginning of the last few days of Christ's life. Jesus would enter Jerusalem being worshipped by an adoring crowd, but by the end of the week, an angry mob would call for His death. Here He was deemed worthy of the crown, later He would be declared worthy of the Cross. Upcoming devotions will dive into the rest of the week, but for now, let's focus on this moment and let it resonate in our heart. Let's stay in this short moment where the world was in alignment. Here, on Palm Sunday, during what theologians call the "Triumphal Entry," Jesus got what He deserved: Worship, acclaim, adoration, reverence. This is how it should be. This response to Jesus was and is right and appropriate.
Worship can be defined this way: seeing God for who He really is and giving a proper response. The Triumphal Entry paints this picture perfectly. The King is entering the capital city of the Kingdom and His followers are celebrating His arrival with shouts of joy and acclamation. What if we could capture just a whisper of this moment in our hearts today? As we come to meet with our God and Savior, may we jump at the chance to celebrate and praise the arrival of the King. Give Him what He deserves - He is worthy.
For the next eight days we invite you and your family to take a trip with us. Place a suitcase/bag where it can be seen all week and each day we will add a new item to it. For parent introduction and a list of items to be gathered before you begin, visit Journey with Jesus.
Day 1: Journey with Jesus
- What does this tell us about Jesus?
- What does it tell us about ourselves?
- How should we follow Jesus today because of this scripture?
- Who could you tell this story to?
- Pray together.