1Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples . . .6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. 7They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. 8Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” —matthew 21:1, 6-9
Matthew 21:1-9tells us what happened when Jesus made preparations to enter Jerusalem on what we call Palm Sunday: “The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them” (v.6). Notice I underlined two words: went and did. Jesus told them to do something and they went and did exactly what Jesus said. Their obedient actions set in motion the Triumphal Entry of Jesus. In this passage we can see three ways they participated and we can participate in worshiping the Lord.
First, as we have seen, the disciples practiced total obedience (see vv. 1-6). When Jesus says, “Jump,” do we hesitate, refuse, or eagerly ask, “How high?” They obeyed and things worked out just as Jesus had told them. That’s what we need to aim for—obedience.
Second, we see a response of personal sacrifice. “They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them” (v. 7). The disciples made a saddle from their cloaks and off Jesus rode. But the crowd also wanted in on honoring Jesus so they “spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road” (v.8). This was the middle of the Passover rush hour. Thousands of pilgrims were traveling into Jerusalem, and as Jesus approached, the crowd was tearing the branches off the trees and throwing them down in front of Jesus. Have you ever had that feeling toward Christ of “it’s not enough; I have to do more; I have to do something?” That’s what they were fired up about.
Third, we see enthusiastic praise. The people along the road were calling out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (v.9). Hosanna is an English transliteration from a Hebrew phrase hōshi `āh nnā. In Psalm 118:25-26 it means, “Save me, Lord!” But by the time of Jesus, the word “hosanna” had come to mean, “The Lord saves!” As the Lord came into the city, the people were shouting, “He’s going to save!” They were more right than they realized! They didn’t understand what it would cost Jesus to do His greatest work, but they unknowingly expressed what each person must realize in order to be saved—that Jesus does the saving!
Hosanna, Father, Hosanna! You do save! You are going to save! And eternal thanks that You have saved me! May the obedience of my attitudes, the sacrifice of my actions, and the praise of my lips today be an intimate expression to You of my gratitude for Your priceless gifts in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.