by David Sisler
That’s the only word you would have needed to describe Jerusalem that day. The city was full of people. More were arriving every day. It was Passover. Jews from all over the world were in attendance.
Among the hundreds of thousands who swelled the population of the city for that special week were thirteen travelling preachers – Jesus of Nazareth and his entourage.
In this atmosphere of celebration the disciples borrowed a colt which no one had ever ridden. They just walked up to the animal and untied it.
When the owner of the colt saw them, he asked, rather in amazement I would suppose, “Why are you untying the colt?” And he jerked the rope out of their hands.
Twelve men were stealing his animal. In broad day light and in full view of witnesses, they were about to lead it away. To his question they simply answered, “The Lord needs it.”
The look of surprise and disbelief on his face faded and was replaced with a look of wonder and a smile. That was the password he had chosen with Jesus months before. It was the signal for which he had been waiting.
As he handed the rope back to them and said, “Hosanna. Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
When they brought the animal to Jesus, they threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Perhaps it was just a whisper at first, but then more and more voices joined the chorus. Soon shouts of praise were echoing all over Jerusalem. Waves of praise rolled through Jerusalem like waves pounding on the seashore.
Wherever the Pharisees were and whatever they were doing, these shouts of “Hosanna” soon attracted their attention. In the midst of the greatest day of celebration the city had seen in a long time, they went to the party with long faces.
“Teacher,” they cried, “rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Jesus told the Pharisees that if his disciples stopped praising him, the stones which made up the streets and walls of the city would immediately begin to praise him. This was the day for praise!
We usually think of Jesus as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” We often forget that he was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.” The Living Bible paraphrases that verse: “God has given you more gladness than anyone else.” For one bright and shining moment Jesus would receive all the praise the world should already have been giving him.
Did all of the citizens of Jerusalem praise him? No, the Pharisees did not magnify, they murmured. But “the whole multitude of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices.”
The noise of a multitude of people singing praises to Jesus is exciting and exhilarating. It was a preview of the day when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”
The mistaken idea that Christians should be gloomy and long-faced is broken on the solid rock of these praises. No one has a right to be happy and rejoice as does a Christian.
Paul told the Ephesians: “In Christ we were chosen to be God’s people. We were chosen so that we could bring praise to God’s glory!”
If you are a Christian, start praising! If you are not a Christian, your first offering of praise must be your life. Start praising!
Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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