“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those following shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!’ As he entered Jerusalem the whole city was thrown into an uproar, saying, ‘Who is this?’ And the crowds were saying, ‘This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.” —Matthew 21:8–11
In these verses we see Jesus in a triumphant and festal procession to Jerusalem. Normally, the Master retreated from such limelight—no earthly pomp and splendor for Him. Indeed, at the height of his popularity John tells us when the people saw His works and wanted to make Him King, He withdrew.
“Now when the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus performed, they began to say to one another, ‘This is certainly the Prophet who is to come into the world.’ Then Jesus, because he knew they were going to come and seize him by force to make him king, withdrew again up the mountainside alone.” — John 6:14–15
The kingdom would be given to Him by His Father only in His perfect timing and not by the world and what they deemed to be the hour of opportunity.
The people in Jesus’ day knew He claimed to be the Messiah and those in our verses for today believed that He was the coming Savior. When we believe something, we act upon it. Our actions demonstrate what we believe to be true. The words the people shouted were from the Messianic Psalm 118 which spoke of the Coming One. They credited these Messianic titles to Jesus.
As Jesus made His way to Jerusalem riding on a colt of a donkey—a symbol of peace, not war—the people spread their cloaks on the road so that He could ride on them. They waved palm branches and shouted “Hosanna!” Palm branches were symbols of victory, liberty, and joy. The word “Hosanna” is from the Hebrew word “save.” It was originally a prayer addressed to God meaning “O save us now,” and later came to be used as a shout of praise as “Hallelujah.” Notice that Jesus did not stop or retreat from this celebration:
Everyone seemed to take notice of Him! Some watched with wonder, some laughed over His humbleness, some perhaps expressed joy, and there were even some (probably the Pharisees) who were filled with envy and indignation.
There were, and still are, many responses of the human heart toward Jesus and His coming kingdom.
“If thou makest a profession of being a child of God, if thou art a believer, and thinkest and believest religion is the best, the service of God most desirable, I do not come to plead with thee because of any advantage thou wouldst get by being holy; it is on this ground that I put it, that the Lord is God; and if he be God, it is thy business to serve him. If his gospel be true, and thou believest it to be true, it is thy duty to carry it out.” —Charles H. Spurgeon
“Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” —Corrie Ten Boom
“Never be in a hurry; do everything
quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything
whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. Commend all to God, and then
lie still and be at rest in His bosom. Whatever happens, abide steadfast in a
determination to cling simply to God … Maintain a holy simplicity of mind, and
do not smother yourself with a host of cares, wishes, or longings, under any
pretext.” —St. Francis de Sales