Monday, April 15, 2019
Preparing Our Heart For Easter: Surrendering to Our King
From the story of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday), the most significant portion is represented by Jesus’ quote from the Old Testament Scriptures”
Do not be afraid, Oh Daughter of Zion: see, your King has come, seated on a donkey’s colt.” (John 12:14 – referencing Zechariah 9:9)
The terms “come” and “King” represent the most significant part of the reference. Of the two terms, the more significant is, of course, “King.” But, that is not exactly what the crowd thought; they loved the idea that He had come, and they expected Him to do exactly as they had imagined. They were more interested in Him doing something at the moment with no thought of the fullness of His kingdom. The crowd desired national vindication from Roman oppression immediately, for the cry “Hosanna” can actually translate to, “save us now.” And, who could blame them for such a plea as this? But, the question remains: what actually motivated the crowd? Consider how the crowd reminds us of the way many people think today.
The writings of John’s Gospel identify three specific groups within the crowd that day. First, there were those who followed Jesus after witnessing Lazarus raised (John 12:17). This crowd reminds us of the sensationalist – those who live for the experience of the moment. The sensationalists of Jesus’ day wanted to see the miracles, but most of them were not moved to have faith in God. Earlier in Jesus’ ministry, when He had fed thousands with a few fish and barley loaves, the people still asked for another miraculous sign. But when He began teaching the hard truths of the gospel, they deserted Him: “From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” (John 6:66).
Second, there were many traveling to Jerusalem for the Passover; they had seen many of his earthly miracles and were ready to set him up as king (John 12:12). This crowd fits the profile of one who is interested in following Jesus, but only in the framework of his or her religious practices. In other words, the crowd would press toward the Passover with excitement about Jesus, but would not hold their excitement for fear of offending leaders of their faith. These are likened to the religionists – more apt to live in the confines of one’s religion that abandoning all things to follow Jesus.
Third, there were also many who had only heard and came to investigate (John 12:18). This group reminds us of those who are perpetual seekers, but never take the step of faith in a genuine response to Jesus. This group resembles the opportunists: always weighing decisions by thoughts of personal gain.
It is obvious that this story reveals many different reasons for following after Jesus. Yet, all such pursuits are in vain if we do not accept by faith the claim of Zechariah, “your King has come.” Palm branches and coats strewn across the road are not a sufficient substitute for a heart that truly desires to surrender to the rule and reign of Christ. Today, settle your heart, your affections, and your will at the feet of your King – Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Redeemer. As you prepare for the celebration of Easter, worship Jesus in spirit and in truth throughout your day and throughout your week; there is no other way to prepare for such a significant day of worship.