Sir, We Wish to See Jesus Pt. 1 

This week, often referred to as Holy Week or Passion Week, we celebrate Jesus entering Jerusalem His final week, culminating with His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Today, I want to discuss the significance of His entry into Jerusalem and what was occurring. 

In John 12:12-26, Jesus had just come to Jerusalem riding on a colt to shouts of “Hosanna!”  

The Pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for Passover heard about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. 

They were convinced Jesus was the Messiah (vs. 18). So, they accompanied Him into the city, shouting praises to God and singing the words of Psalm 118:25-26. They were euphoric because they expected their messianic hopes to be fulfilled along nationalistic lines.  

They reasoned, “Our King is here, Roman rule will be removed, and everything will be better”—or so they thought. Indeed, the Messiah had come, but not in the manner they anticipated. 

In Matthews narrative of the story, we read,  

And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying “Who is this?” Matt. 21:10 NKJV 

The Greek verb for moved is often used of an earthquake; showing that the dramatic arrival of Jesus caused a great commotion. The entire city was shaken by His arrival! 

People from all over Israel were gathering for Passover. By now, the rumors of Jesus had spread through the nation, and there was an attitude of expectancy among the people gathered.   

They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” John 12:13 NIV  

The English word Hosanna is a transliteration of the Hebrew expression hôšî-ʿâ (-n)nāʾ, which can mean adoration, a cry for help, request to save, and an imperative to save I pray now. 1   

During Passover week, Psalm 113-118, known as the Hallel (or praise) collection was read. With Jesus coming into Jerusalem, the people were rejoicing, as they shouted and sang these Psalms, for many recognized Jesus as the Messiah. For example, Psalm 118 declares,  

Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. Psalm 118:25 NKJV 

“Save now, I pray,” translates from the Hebrew, An-na Yaveh Hosi na! Which is a cry for help and to save now, and could mean, “God save us now like never before! Send the Messiah!” 

In the same verse, “Oh Lord, I pray, send now prosperity” is from the Hebrew An-na Yaveh, tsâlêach na! Which is a cry for God’s blessing, prosperity and success and could read,  

“Now God, break forth, advance Yaveh, bring it through to completion and success!”  

Imagine the crowd and condition of the people. They are desperate. Why?  

Foremost, the oppression of the Roman government: high taxes caused economic hardship for the people. Poverty and food insecurity were normal. Citizens were routinely harassed, beaten, and imprisoned by the Romans. Suffering was widespread. “God save us like never before! Send us the promised deliverer.”  

Have you ever been desperate for deliverance? Most of us have at some point. God save now! As I shared last week, we pray without anxiety and fear, believing God will answer, and we thank Him in advance for the answer and breakthrough (Phil. 4:6-7). 

Again, as Matthew records, “all the city was moved.” (Matt. 21:10) The blind and lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them (Matt. 21:14). Many are asking, “Who is this?”  

The miracles and rumors about Israel’s Messiah drew them, and caused even the skeptics to think, “Maybe this is the promised Messiah?”  

Jesus permits the large crowd to grow. Why? 

Jesus was not just fulfilling prophecy; He was prophesying what was coming—a house of prayer where all are welcome! 

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. Mark 11:17 NKJV  

Jesus is quoting from the prophet Isaiah, who foretold hundreds of years before God’s intent of gathering people from every tongue, tribe, and nation into His family, His house.  

I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. Isa. 56:7 NLT 

God has a vision of a greater house of prayer where the nations, all people, are welcomed.  

During His most public hour, this was what was on the heart of God. Jesus came lowly on a donkey, not just trying to fulfill prophesy, but prophesying how He would, through His Church, enter cities with humility to expand His kingdom and make His house, one of prayer and authentic communion with Him! 

But what does it mean to be “a house of prayer for all nations?” It means foremost to be a place where all nations, all ethnic groups, and people from all walks of life are welcome and included to pray and worship God in Spirit and in truth.  

It means that those in the margins of society are welcome. Jesus went to the least, the lost, and the last and welcomed them. We should do the same. And by the way, all of us are in the margins! For we are all sinners in need of a savior. 

Culture tends to view the Church as narrow, unloving, and unwelcoming. We should endeavor to love people in nonjudgmental ways, welcoming them. Again, for each of us are sinners saved by His grace and mercy. This is the heart of Jesus. 

We should view people as people in need of a savior. Not as sinners deserving of judgment. 

However, there was a whole different crowd that week yelling to crucify Him, but not the true worshippers. Day after day they wanted to get into the temple. The crowd was so large that the chief priests had to take him by night. The worshippers were hanging on every word, “Hosanna!” “Save us!” 

The religious leaders and others were crying out for Jesus to shut it down! Jesus states, “If they are quiet, even the rocks will cry out!” Why?  

It must happen; this temple made without hands must be established. Nothing you can do can stop this! Through two thousand years of Church history, nothing can stop the enlargement and advancement of God’s kingdom.  

No evil ruler, leader, or government can stop the growth and advancement of God’s kingdom! Keep your eyes on Jesus—always!  

Hope Fuels Expectancy  

The people were expecting a political messiah, one who would restore the Davidic kingdom to Israel. They were expecting an earthly Kingdom, He was pointing to one not made with human hands, where all people are welcome! Hope is powerful.  

Paul said in 1 Cor. 13:13 “And now faith, hope, and love abide …” (NKJV) 

Hope is from the Greek elpis and means “to anticipate with pleasure, a confident expectation of a future event.” Hope undergirds faith. By nature, hope is joyfully expectant.  

It is important for us to live from hope with expectancy. Hope diffused through the church lifts society, brings an awareness of God’s Kingdom that all things are possible with God!  

Hope that is steadfast must be anchored in truth. Jesus is truth.  

The people’s expectation for a political messiah—a governmental savior—to lift them above Roman oppression created a wrong expectation. The wrong expectation caused many in Jerusalem to lose hope that week. Why? 

The people could not see prophetically that He must first come as the suffering Messiah. One who would carry the sin, sickness, and brokenness of humanity on the cross. Jesus wept over Jerusalem that week. His compassion for the people—not His judgment. 

Final Thoughts 

Have you ever had a wrong expectation as to how God would answer your prayer, your cry for deliverance? Our assumptions as to how God will move in our lives often causes us to miss His answer and visitation. We don’t see Him on a colt, coming in humility! God is always good, but He is not always predictable.  

Our reception of the grace of God is often dependent on our ability to let Him use the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confound the strong. God will often offend our minds to reveal our hearts.  

He is with us, riding humbly on a donkey, by His Spirit and in His Church. Today, cry out to Him, Hosanna! Save now Lord, save I pray now! 

Bob Sawvelle

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