It was a day to remember; there had never been anything quite like it before. Oh, Jesus had been to Jerusalem before, but not like this, you see, His time had finally come. This would not be like the other times He had been there, He wouldn’t appear on the scene and then slip out of town, let’s not make any mistake about that!
When the people heard that He was coming to Jerusalem for the Passover, there was electricity in the air. They had heard all about what had happened recently when He brought Lazarus forth from the tomb; some had even been there to see it. Nobody had ever done that before!
Everybody knew that their King was on his way, their King who had been promised by God to deliver his people from the Roman occupation, and with God behind Him, how could they lose?
Yes sir, the Messiah was on His way, and everybody went out to greet Him.
He rode in on a donkey, and while that may seem odd to us, for the people who were there on that remarkable day it was the sign of a king who comes in peace; hadn’t Solomon done the same thing? They waved their branches, they put them in His path, some even tossed their cloaks in the road… and they shouted:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
God was about to save them from the Romans and restore Israel to the glory of old. Oh yes, it was a glorious day!
Even His disciples believed this to be true. John tells us that they did not understand what was really happening…
There were Pharisees in the crowd, there always seemed to be Pharisees in the crowd. They were not pleased with what they saw on that great day; something had to be done about it. To be fair to them, the Pharisees and the other Jewish leaders had much to be concerned about with Jesus. First of all, He was a threat to their lofty positions; He didn’t really seem to want to go along with the way things were done. Second, they were in a precarious position with the Roman authorities. The Romans were successful as an Empire because they allowed a certain amount of home rule in their provinces. As long as there were no insurrections, and as long as the locals accepted their authority and paid their taxes, the Romans would pretty much leave the locals alone, but if these conditions were not met, the Romans would crush the locals with a brutality seldom before seen. If Jesus encouraged the people to mount a revolt against the Romans, all Judea would be destroyed, and the Jewish authorities were not about to let that happen.
‘So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!”’ They had tried to be lenient, they had let Jesus slip away several times, but this time they were determined to put a stop to this once and for all.