As the Allied forces rolled into village after village in Holland, they were met with wild exultation. The jubilant people, freed at last from Hitler’s tyranny, wept, danced in the streets, and showered their liberators with flowers and kisses.
Wild exultation also met Jesus that first Palm Sunday as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. Here, at last, thought the occupation-weary Jewish people, is the one who will liberate us from the hated Romans! They paved Jesus’ way with palm branches, a symbol of Jewish defiance against the Roman Empire.
How bitter was the people’s disappointment when they realized, shortly after, that Jesus had no intention of leading them in armed rebellion. In disillusionment, Judas gave his Lord the kiss of death, and the crowds that had so recently hailed Jesus as the royal heir of David howled for His execution.
What the crowds did not realize was that Jesus was not less of a liberator than they hoped for, but far, far more. They longed for an end to Roman tyranny, but Jesus had come to destroy tyrannies of every sort personal, political, economic, social, religious once and for all. They dreamed of their own king in Jerusalem. But the One carried by the plodding donkey that first Palm Sunday would some day reign as King of the Universe! Hosanna!
Jesus, You are our King! Strengthen us for the demands of Your kingdom justice, righteousness, and perfect love. Amen.