Blessed Be the King

Michael Thompson   -  

Several years ago, my wife and I attended the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. We found a prime viewing location across the street from Radio City Music Hall, and the excitement was palpable. The floats, larger than life balloons, musical talents, and various other participants were thrilling to watch. The millions of spectators on the streets of New York were caught in amazement. As much as I enjoyed the experience of taking in this famous parade in-person, I truly wish I could have experienced the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, to hear the praises of the people, and to see Jesus in the flesh. Looking through Luke 19:28-40, let’s make three observations regarding the Palm Sunday procession.

The Palm Sunday procession showcases the authority of Jesus. Verse 30 tells us that the colt Jesus would ride upon was one “whereon yet never man sat”. It does not take much of a Google search to find pictures or videos of unbroken animals bucking, tossing, and even injuring their rider. That was not the case here. The Lord of all creation, the Word at the beginning, the One by Whom all things consist, mounts the colt, and there is no struggle. There is no word of rebellion from the animal. He exercised His authority over nature. His authority is also highlighted by the praise of the people. As they lay their garments and palm branches in honor, they proclaimed “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest” (v. 38). Matthew records the crowd crying out, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest” (21:9). The Messiah, the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant, was before them, and they cried out praises to Him. Our Messiah is worthy of our praise and adoration!

Secondly, we see the criticism of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were always nit-picking and fault-finding. They were always sticking their noses in everyone’s business. This religious crowd looks at Jesus and tells Him, “Master, rebuke thy disciples” (v. 39). Essentially, they are petitioning Jesus to correct His disciples’ chants of praise. Why? Because they were jealous. Because they were not receiving the praise. They were green with envy. Several times throughout the Gospels, it is recorded that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were put to silence by Jesus’ teaching. Instead of relishing in the presence of the Messiah, they decided to criticize. This Easter season, don’t be a Pharisee. Put away the criticism and religiosity and focus on the One worthy of our praise. For those already praising, don’t let the Pharisees “rain on your parade”. Continue praising and worshiping the Messiah.

The third observation from this event is the admonishment for the worshiper. Following the religious criticism, Jesus responds in verse 40, “I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out”. What a sad occurrence that would be if the lilies of the field, birds of the air, and rocks of the ground were to exhibit a higher level of praise than a living human being. Those who have tasted and seen the goodness of God should never be out praised by a rock that cannot experience redemption. The Lord is worthy of praise and will receive that praise one way or another. He is worthy of glory. He is deserving of honor. He is worthy of all of our praise!

Unless you have a time machine, we cannot go back to that beautiful day in history and join the Palm Sunday procession. We cannot lay our garments and wave palm branches as He passes by. However, we can still sing His praises today. We can lift our hands high in worship. We can sing “glory in the highest” (v. 38) like the crowds did that day. He is good. He is wonderful. He is worthy. Praise Him today!

Today’s Bible Reading:
Zechariah 9:9, Luke 19:28-40, Matthew 21:1-11