Today is Palm Sunday. In John 12:12-15 we can read the account of Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, and being greeted with an honorific and loud welcome, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!” The residents of Jerusalem could not wait any longer; they were certain that Jesus was the Messiah, the future king of Israel, who would deliver them from the Romans, just like Moses, from the Egyptians. So, they decided to go to the street, to anoint Jesus as their king in defiance to the Romans. “Salvation has come,” so they thought.
But they thought wrong. Jesus did not come to free them from political bondage—the Romans—but from spiritual bondage—sin. Jesus did not come to become king in Israel but to become king in their hearts. He did not come to reign in glory but to die in agony. His throne would be His cross and His crown would His thorns. He was not to be accounted among the nobles but among the convicts.
Recently I have been corresponding with several individuals who are going through serious spiritual struggles. Despite their unique and personal natures, all share one thing in common: They were deeply disappointed in God. Jesus is not as they expected Him to be, and God is not as good and caring as they knew Him to be. As a result, they have become bitter toward God; and want nothing to do with Him. But I know, deep down they are hurting, plain and simple.
In the case of the residents of Jerusalem, it caused them more than hurt: It made them mad, which led them to the unanimous verdict to crucify Jesus on the cross. But Jesus never deceived them; they were deceived by their own expectations. Jesus has never lied to us; He is as He’s always been: A suffering servant and a lamb of God.