What a scene it must have been that first Palm Sunday! The streets were packed with people; Jesus rode in on a donkey; excited people cut down branches from trees and waved them at Jesus. What great cheering! Many people threw their blankets and coats on the street for him to ride over. And their chants! “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of David!” they shouted. The scene was one of excitement with an air of expectation, hope, celebration in the streets.
Why all the excitement? Have you ever heard the saying, A picture is worth a thousand words? Well, in that grand entrance, by riding on a donkey, Jesus was making a declaration without saying a word. Instead of speaking, he gave them a picture with which they were familiar. Zechariah the prophet foretold of a king who would come riding into town on a donkey. God’s people had been waiting for this promised king for a long time Ð waiting and hoping for a messianic king who would usher back in the golden days of King David.
So, when Jesus came riding into town, they got the picture and welcomed him as their conquering hero and king. Even so, they didn’t really understand the nature of his kingship, as we’ll see on Good Friday when they screamed for his crucifixion.
But notice something missing in this Palm Sunday picture that Mark has drawn for us. Thousands of people in the streets Ð a king arriving Ð excitement Ð chaos. Wait! Where is the security? The usual trappings for a king entering a community would be an army of men protecting the king, acting as security. Did you watch the Inauguration Day parade on TV as President Obama made his way down the streets of Washington, D.C.? Thousands of security people were present, and precautions of every sort were used to protect him and keep him safe.
Yet with Jesus there was no security Ð and he was entering hostile territory! The religious authorities had made it clear they didn’t like him or his message. The Romans weren’t taking kindly to this talk of a new king of Israel, either. Yet he went into Jerusalem, with no security for himself. Why do you suppose he did that?
You and I know where this story is going, don’t we? Jesus will be arrested on Thursday and crucified on Friday Ð led like a lamb to the slaughter, as Isaiah predicted. Jesus will tell Peter to put away his sword when he tried to act as security. He will go on to tell Peter that there are legions of angels he could call down to protect him, but he won’t.
Why? Why no security and protection?
The answer is really quite amazing and simple: He didn’t want it! It didn’t fit into the plan! God’s plan.
Three times before this day, Jesus had told disciples what would happen to him. He told them that he must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, and then rise again. They didn’t get it then, but they soon would.
¥ The King will wear a crown – a crown of thorns.
¥ The King will be enthroned on a cross.
¥ The King will rise again just as planned.
King Jesus was born for this moment. That is why there was no security for King Jesus. He came without it, so that you and I could have it. His suffering and death had a purpose, which was to pay humanity’s debt for sin.
All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. There is no way human beings can fix that relationship with God. We need a Savior. On the cross Jesus took upon himself the punishment and wrath for your sins and mine. He took our place and announced, “It is finished,” meaning, paid in full; mission accomplished. And on Sunday God raised him up and said, “Yes!”
God promises that all who place their trust in his Son and what he did for us will be rescued and have security. What security?
The security of knowing that I am a forgiven child of God. I belong to him. And as I go through life, I can leave my sin at the foot of the cross and be assured of the promise that it has been covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. When God looks at me, he sees me as clean because of Jesus and what he has done.
The security of knowing that whether I live or whether I die, I am his forever. Jesus told us, “Let not your hearts be troubled. You who believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms. If it were not so would I have told you that I go and prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I’m going. I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” (John 14:1-6).
The security of knowing that this one who died and was raised will never leave me or forsake me as I follow Him and serve Him in this world. “Lo, I am with you always, to the very end of the age” he promised (Matthew 28:20).
The security of knowing he holds the future. As I hear the bad news of the world around me and wonder if this is a runaway train out of control, I still know he is coming again Ð not humbly on a donkey Ð but in majesty and power. And every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
What a King! Self-emptying, sacrificial, a servant king who lays down his life for his subjects. What love this King Jesus has for you! Jesus even rode into Jerusalem without security, so that you could have it.
We hear a lot about people looking for security in this world: national security and financial security within this economic crisis. I can’t claim to know the future in regard to those issues. But I do know the bigger picture. A songwriter once wrote:
“I know not what the future holds.
Lord, I have no way of knowing.
But I know the one who holds my future.
So I have no fear of where I’m going.”
That is security!
Friend, have you come to know the One who holds your future? If you would like to learn more about him, why not talk to someone who knows him and ask some questions? Also, find a Bible that reads easily, and begin to read the Gospels over and over again. You see, He is not hiding; he is knocking and waiting. Jesus came to ride not just into Jerusalem, but into your life.
Feel free to contact us at Christian Crusaders, and we will do what we can to help you discover for yourself the ultimate security of trusting and following the King who rode into town without security, so that you and I could have it.