My kids love parades. They love going to the annual Fourth of July parade and other parades that our city has throughout the year. What do they love most about them? Of course they love to see the floats but they especially love the candy.
Now adults like parades too, but for a different reason. They too like to see the floats. Maybe like to enjoy the crowds, they like to see maybe even local celebrities there. Or heroes as well. We like parades.
In the Bible we have the record of a parade that took place with Jesus as the focal point. Fact it took place on a day that we now call Palm Sunday. Matthew writes this concerning that event:
A very large crowd spread their outer clothing on the road. Others were cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them out on the road. The crowds who went in front of him and those who followed and kept shouting, Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed it is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:8-9)
Quite a picture of a parade isn’t it? All those people in great joyous celebration gathering around Jesus, laying down those palm branches and their bits of clothing for him. And why?
Word had gotten out about him. He was a famous miracle worker, one who rose a man from the dead, who’d been in the grave for four days and now was alive because of Jesus.
People shout Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed as he comes in the name of the Lord! The word Hosanna, many people believe, means “help” or “save, I pray.” They call him the son of David referring to him as the Messiah. So what are they asking of him? That he the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would save them. That’s exactly what he comes into Jerusalem to do. To save. Not really in the way that any people would have expected. He doesn’t come in great pomp and circumstance and great triumph and glory to squash his enemies. He comes to Jerusalem in order to suffer and to die on the cross. To save in that way. To save by bearing our sins upon himself and through that we might surely have happiness, rejoicing, life everlasting because of Christ who comes to save us.
So this Palm Sunday remember that Jesus doesn’t just come in great joy and jubilation for the crowds but he comes for that very important purpose to save us. With a hymn writer we confess
Ride on, ride on and majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die. O Christ, Thy triumphs now begin O’er captive death and conquered sin. Amen.