Where’s the Triumph?
By Ron Gallagher
The episode we’ve come to call “Palm Sunday” will soon be celebrated again by Christianity around the world. All four Gospel writers record the event, but John’s account provides a concise summary:
The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.’ John 12:12-15 (NKJV)
The event was full of profound implications, but the total lack of any public exhibition of supernatural power was no doubt disappointing to many of those converging around Jesus that day. After all, the road they were traveling brought them near the place where He had recently raised Lazarus from the grave. Hoping for more miracles like that or some showy demonstration of divine authority would seem reasonable as they approached Israel’s religious capital at the holiest time of the Jewish year. But though their songs and shouts of praise appeared genuine enough to arouse concern among their religious leaders, the Messiah they saw didn’t fit the triumphant image they were conditioned to expect.
“Save Now” — But from What?
Their shouts of “Hosanna” were literally a collective prayer that means “save now,” and it was a perfectly appropriate request for them to offer. They were under the heavy burden of Roman occupation and wanted to be free of Rome’s oppressive and restrictive demands on their lives. They wanted a revived sense of national pride and spiritual well-being, coupled with an unprecedented resurgence of personal prosperity and security. In spite of the