Save us. They had been crying, save us. I would imagine as Jesus rode down the streets of this otherwise familiar city, now filled with the voices of hundreds, he had to be experiencing the irony of this moment. They did need to be saved, but not from what they were thinking of. Yes, the Romans were oppressive, keeping them from truly engaging or living out their faith. Sure, they had taxes to pay, and laws to follow, but overall their life was not as bad as it could have been. Not as bad as when God’s people had been held captive by Pharaoh in Egypt. Not even as bad as when they had been stolen away by the Babylonians. God’s people were again being held captive and had been stolen, but this time by an enemy they often forgot they had, their sin.
It seemed to be a celebration – the kind you throw for a king when he returns victorious from war – palm branches, smiling faces, dancing, hugs, a parade of sorts, Jerusalem had gone all out. A party, thrown in the honor of the one they thought was there to finally set them free from all they believed held them back – they thought His return alone meant victory was imminent – but if he was the only one, Jesus knew the war was far from over.
“They” were there, just behind the crowds, huddled together in the back, whispering and pointing. The Pharisees. Religious leaders, honored teachers, supposedly on the same team – and they couldn’t be more opposed. Out of range of his ears, he still knew their every word. “He thinks he’s their king! Look how they throw themselves at His feet. It’s appalling, something must be done about Him.” Something would be done about Him, done to Him, and He would be gone like all the other supposed “messiah’s” that had come before. Life would return to normal. He was a blip, a whisper, a momentary hiccup – now entering triumphantly, but soon forgotten. That’s what they were saying.
For His friends walking along side Him, entering like heroes, it must have been exhilarating. They had been to Jerusalem before, but never received a welcome like this. Perhaps this time would be different. Perhaps things were on an upswing. Maybe they were finally experiencing the “kingdom of heaven” they had heard so much about. Finally, everyone else seemed to be seeing in Him what they all did. A man worth following, worth listening to, worth standing behind – a man with the power to change the world – a man who would finally save them.
You and I need saving too. some two thousand years later and we are in the same predicament. Needing to be rescued, if even from what we are not sure. Some of us cry out for it. Some of us point and mock. Some of us even think we arrived early to the party and it’s earned us backstage passes. We are living in a world filled with just as much brokenness and confusion as there was that day. A world in need of change. A world in need of something and someone different. We have tried so many things, and no one and no thing has fit the bill. Might He be different? If we let Him enter into our hearts the way He entered the city that day, might He shake us to our very core? Could He mend our broken hearts?
The streets of Jerusalem were filled with people – all from different walks of life, all with different agendas, all with some thing different on their minds. But one thing about them was the same – they were crying save us. Some of them cried it with their voices, others in their minds, still more with their very lives. They thought He was their King. He knew He was their Savior. The lamb of God, enters Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt – only He knows, He’s come to take away the sins of the world.