Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
Think for a moment about Jesus coming to you. Seriously. Spend 30 seconds picturing Jesus coming right to you, looking you in the eye, and saying something to you.
Now, was this experience a good thing or a bad thing? Did the Jesus of your imagination harshly condemn you or did he warmly welcome you?
Some people I speak with are very afraid of Jesus’ return on the last day. They are very conscious of their own sinful deeds and are afraid of Jesus’ harsh punishment. In their fear, they want Jesus to stay away from them.
Other people I speak with cannot wait for Jesus to come back. They picture Jesus giving them a warm embrace, filling them with loving warmth. Also lots of light and overwhelming love.
Because of our sin, we should all fear Jesus’ coming for judgment. But for you who are baptized into Jesus, you should joyfully anticipate the welcoming return of a glorious Jesus. And this joyful anticipation is only because Jesus first came to Jerusalem as a servant.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, some created a raucous party atmosphere. Some became angry and fearful. Still others reacted with confusion. Yet Jesus did not come to create a party nor fear nor confusion. Jesus came into Jerusalem as the servant-king who would serve you by taking away your sin. Jesus was enthroned upon a cross and wore a crown of thorns. Pontius Pilate put a sign upon the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
Through Jesus’ loving service to you—his death and resurrection—all your reason to fear Jesus is gone. Jesus dies on the cross to serve you. Jesus shows you his love by dying for you. Jesus teaches you by his Resurrection that you will rise to newness of life. And Jesus teaches you that when he returns, he comes to give you the riches of his kingdom for all eternity.
Almighty and everlasting God, you sent your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of his great humility and patience and be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.