[The following devotional is a part of our 2015 Easter Season Devotional Book “Passion Road.” We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between February 18 – April 5, 2014.]
Palm Sunday by Jonathan Holmes
Read: John 12:12-19
Jesus’ popularity is going viral at this point. A few days earlier Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and it was gaining Him a lot of attention. In the passage before, we learn that a large group of Jews had gathered and were talking with the Chief Priest about how to take care of these two guys, Jesus and Lazarus. The crowd of Jews that gathered to plot His death was nothing to the crowd of people that gathered to welcome Him into Jerusalem.
This Triumphal Entry has the crowd of people stirred up as they wave their palm branches (symbols of victory) and they shouted, “Hosanna!” Jesus makes His entrance on a donkey ,fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. The donkey was a sign of peace and humility. To say the least, this is not what the crowd had expected as their new kings grand entrance. Nonetheless the crowd continues to increase as the news of the miraculous sign of Lazarus spread.
The question that has to come to our minds when we read about Jesus’ triumphal entry is, how can the crowd go from screaming “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!”? The simple answer is… missed expectations. During Jesus’ time in Jerusalem He became the source of more and more controversy. He flipped over tables in the temple, began speaking about His impending death, and the Pharisees fueled it all with their murderous plots. As Jesus drifted further and further from the crowd’s expectations of their king, the tones shifted of radical support for the man who healed to bitter hatred for the controversial figure.
God is a lot of things, but He is not always what we expect…
- We expect a hero to conquer our enemies, but we find a peacemaker who reaches out to them.
- We expect someone who joins established religion, but we find someone who challenges it.
- We expect someone who uses power and wealth to impress, but we find a friend to the oppressed.
- We expect a God who is far off, but we find a God who is closer than we think.
- We expect judgment, but we find grace. We expect extraordinary, but we find ordinary.
- Will your faith stay strong when God shows up in ways you didn’t expect?
- What are areas of your life that you are still not trusting in God’s plan?
Prayers for Lent
- Ask God for greater strength of faith in yourself, your family, and your friends.
- Ask God for greater faith in His timing and plan.