I can’t even begin to fathom the courage it must have taken to do what He did. To enter the city like He did, knowing full well that the end result was going to be His death…and a most painful, horrific one at that. Such courage. Such focus. Such obedience.
On Palm Sunday we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a young donkey as crowds of people rushed to line the streets and celebrate His arrival, shouting “Hosanna” and declaring Him the “King” that they have been awaiting for generations. What a day of celebration it must have been. What a monumental moment. And yet Jesus knew it wasn’t to last. He knew the excitement and fervour wouldn’t last. He knew the crowd that were celebrating His arrival and crying out for Him to be made king, would all too soon turn on Him and call for his execution. Jesus knew He was riding on to die. Riding on to sacrifice Himself. Riding on…on to the cross. Such Courage.
Yet, how it all could have been so different.
Think about it. All that adulation. All that adoration. To have people shouting your name and clamouring for you to be crowned king. To hear the crowds cheering and chanting, devoting themselves to you with such passion and joy. Who could resist? I know I would find it hard to. You see we human beings are basically an insecure race, constantly needing acceptance and acknowledgement to appease our fragile egos. As much as I am in awe of Jesus’ courage to willingly travel towards the horror of the cross for our sakes, I am also amazed by His self control…His focus. What a moment of intense testing Palm Sunday must have been for Jesus as it seemed like the entire city were in the streets ready to proclaim Him king. The momentum was certainly with Jesus at that moment, and a lesser person may have tried to use this to their own advantage, or at least been tempted to ride the wave of popularity for as far as it would go. But not Jesus.
Jesus didn’t live His life on earth driven to and fro by the fickle and ebbing waves of public opinion. He was in complete control of himself…a true master of life. To be in that moment of extreme popularity must have been exhilarating for the disciples at least, and they must have been thinking to themselves “This is it! This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for and we’re on the inside track! Followers of the new king!” They must have been picking out new chariots for themselves in their minds. But then they glance at Jesus, and instead of looking excited or milking the applause and cheers, He’s bobbing along quietly on the back of a small donkey appearing relatively unmoved if not somewhat unimpressed. Well…that’s how I imagine it anyway.
For me, Jesus can see beyond the fans with their fluttering palm branches and earth bound expectations, to what really needed to be done. Jesus had been preparing for this moment His entire life…the moment when the world would call on Him to stay and be king. They were openly handing Him power, and I wonder if somewhere in the background, the devil wasn’t looking on with intense interest to see if the Son of God would finally succumb to the adoring pleas of those He said He had come to serve, seek and to save…and in doing so, divert from the cross.
But He didn’t.
Jesus passed the test and remained true to His mission to save us, and in a few days time we will remember Calvary, the Cross and then the Resurrection of the One and true King of all kings.
This is why Jesus is my perfect model for life. Why I see Him as not just Saviour of all…but the true Master of life and what it means to live in this world.