The Day Hope Rode into Town

Matthew 21:1–11; Mark 1:1–11; Luke 19:28–44; John 12:12–19

When I think about hope, many things come to mind. One is when I was around 8 years old and growing up in rural North Carolina. I come from a large family by today’s standards – 10 children – and we enjoyed a nice balance of five boys and five girls. My dad was a sharecropper, so we lived on small farms that basically our family members and, on occasion, a few hired helpers could handle.

We didn’t have lots of gadgets, toys, or excesses, so any small “extra” that came our way was thrilling! Christmas was always special, no matter how lean it may have been. I recall an uncle and aunt who always would arrive faithfully on the Saturday before Christmas with a car full of “extras” – things like fruit, Twinkies, hostess cakes, Brazil nuts, and the like. We would watch in anticipation for their arrival, and when we saw the car coming we’d run out to meet them with great excitement!

I know it doesn’t seem like that big of a thing now, but to me, and to all of us kids, then it was BIG. In fact, I remember the expectation that came with that annual visit. It brought me great hope! It brought hope for something I enjoyed, anticipation for something I often didn’t get until that visit. Yes, with that many kids and our varied ages and experiences, we had many “faces” in the crowd. And we had many expectations and anticipations among us. To me, personally, on that day hope rode into town in the back of a station wagon. It was delightful and brought me great joy!

Imagine with me Palm Sunday and the triumphal entry. The day Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem also was a day of great hope. He rode into town on the back of a donkey’s colt just like Zechariah 9:9 predicted He would. The crowds ran to greet Him, to welcome Him, and, yes, to worship Him. They cried aloud “Hosanna!” (“Save now!”) just as Psalm 118:25–26 said they would. It was truly a day of great hope and celebration. Jesus’ entry to the holy city, Jerusalem, neared the culmination of a long journey toward Calvary. Jesus had come to save the lost (Luke 19:10). It was the time and the place for our hope of salvation, announced by Jesus’ arrival as prophesied.

There were many faces in the crowd that day. Many welcomed and honored Jesus with their shouting and praise. “And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). But not all were true believers. This same crowd that on Sunday hailed Him would also cry out on Friday for Him to be nailed to a cross. They praised Him on Sunday and denied Him on Friday. On Palm Sunday they said “Hosanna in the highest” but on Friday they said “Let him be crucified” (Matthew 27:22–23).

Of all the faces in the crowd that Palm Sunday, some of the people could be described as:

• Committed followers – Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 21:6–7; Mark 11:4)
• Confused (Matthew 21:10–11)
• Pretenders (John 12:37)
• Simply curious (John 12:17–18)
• Outright opposed to Jesus (Luke 19:37–39; John 12:42b–43).

The Bible tells us that Jesus mourned them (Luke 19:41–42).

The question for everyone on this Palm Sunday is: Which one are you? Are you a committed follower of Jesus Christ? Has the hope of salvation become truly and personally yours? Or are you like one of the many others on that Palm Sunday…confused, a pretender, simply curious, or someone who outright opposes Him? Is Jesus rejoicing over your acceptance of salvation found only in Him or is He mourning your rejection? Is your worship of Him genuine and true or is it shallow and convenient?

If you are anything other than a true disciple of Jesus Christ, my prayer is that today is the day when He makes a triumphal entry into your heart, that you receive the gift of salvation so freely offered by Jesus Christ, and that you have a Palm Sunday to remember and cherish.

Here’s how to know for sure:

1. Realize and admit you are a sinner – Romans 3:10, 23
2. Realize that a price must be paid for your sins – Romans 5:12; 6:23; Revelation 20:14–15
3. Realize that Jesus paid the price for sin – John 3:16; Romans 5:8; I Corinthians 15:3–4
4. Repent of your sins and ask Jesus to save you – Romans 10:13; Luke 13:3; Romans 10:9

You may want to express your trust in accepting the free gift of forgiveness and eternal life this way:
“Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner and I do believe that You died in my place so my sins can be forgiven. I repent of my sins. Thank you for forgiving me of all my sins. I also believe that You rose again so that I can have eternal life now. Thank you for loving me so much to make this possible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

– by Pastor Greg Joyner

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