They praised Jesus.
They spread their cloaks on the road, waved and/or lay down palm branches (symbols of triumph and victory in the Greco-Roman world), and shouted ‘Blessed is the king of Israel‘ and ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!‘ and ‘Blessed is the coming of our father David!‘ and, most famously, ‘Hosanna!‘
Hosanna was a cry of praise or adoration to God in liturgical use among Jews at that time, so the use of that word on that day shows that at least some of these Jerusalemites were onboard (at least in the moment, and at least on some level) with Jesus’ divinity. Others were solidly behind Him as a military leader who was going to throw off the Roman yoke and restore Israel’s sovereignty. And others may not have really comprehended what was going on, but they got swept up in the excitement and added their voices to the choir of praise, simply because joy is contagious.
But any way you slice it, Palm Sunday 1.0 was a spontaneous Jesus Freaks Convention.
And I think Jesus, in the moment, was glorified by that praise, flawed or not – even though most of them didn’t have their theology about Him just right. Regardless of the fact their praise was probably half-hearted, self-serving and/or misguided.
Gosh, that sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Yeah, I think our worship of Jesus – even on this side of the Cross, where we know who Jesus is and what He’s up to – is still very far from perfect.
But that’s OK. Our worship doesn’t have to be worthy of Him to be worthwhile. We need to praise God because God is Praiseworthy.
As it’s written in The Gospel According to Tim and Andrew (Jesus Christ Superstar), ‘Why waste your breath moaning at the crowd? Nothing can be done to stop the shouting. If every tongue was still, the noise would still continue. The rocks and stones themselves would start to sing!’
Peace be with you.