As Jesus rode down from the Mount of Olives, through an eastern gate into Jerusalem, it was the closest He would ever come to being recognized by the masses as Messiah. The significance of the moment was not lost on them. Astride a donkey, He was fulfilling prophesy and purposefully declaring His kingship. Their only mistake was that they dreamed too small.
They imagined a crown of gold upon his head.
He saw a crown of thorns.
They imagined him lifted high on a kingly throne.
He saw himself lifted high on a cruel cross.
They imagined Him in kingly robes.
He saw Himself stripped and beaten.
They imagined him valiantly leading them to victory amidst the clash of human-wielded swords.
He saw Himself descending into Hades and conquering death itself.
They imagined freedom from their immediate oppression, life under vexing Roman rule.
He visualized their future freedom from the eternal oppression of sin and curse that had shadowed the earth for centuries.
They imagined Him as king until the day of His death.
He knew that His reign would begin on the day of His death.
They imagined Him as King of the Jews.
He knew His destiny was to be King of all mankind.
He looked tenderly across that massive shouting throng of followers, that sea of jubilantly waving branches, the carpet of their wildly flung cloaks in the dusty road, and knew that they were welcoming a kingdom far grander than their wildest imaginations. While this crowd would prove fickle, shouting just as loudly for His death in less than a week, their role that day was not wasted because the truth of their words remained.
He was the son of David.
He was coming in the name of the Lord.
He was coming to “save now” (literal meaning of “hosanna”).
This news was so remarkably glorious, that if they hadn’t declared it, Jesus later said that the rocks themselves would have cried out the news for joy. Why the rocks? Because rocks are mute. Animals have voices; plants of earth bend and whisper; water and sky speak in light, color and wind. But as earth’s very foundation, rock is the epitome of stolid silence, resistance, and expressionless immovability. This makes it all the more significant that, of all the natural world, the very rocks would not have been able to contain themselves in the face of silence.
Don’t you almost wish the crowds would have been silent for a minute or two, just so we could have heard what rock voices sounded like? It gives me chills just to imagine it.“A massive crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
When Jesus had entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds replied, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” (Matthew 21:8-11)
“But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!” “I tell you,” He answered, “if they remain silent, the very stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39-40)