The Day Grace Road into Town

Suppose I knew ahead of time that the people who cheered for me one day, would sneer at me five days later. That the people who showered me with praise one day would hurl insults the next. How would I respond to the accolades, applause, and admiration of others on a Sunday…if I knew those same people would turn their backs on me and shake their raised fists at me the following Friday?

That’s exactly what all-knowing Jesus faced when He road into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. It was the first day of what we’ve come to call Holy Week—a remembrance of Jesus’ last days.

Zechariah prophesied about the event: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is He, humble and mounted on a donkey on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (9:9)

That day had come, and as the donkey clomped along the dusty streets of Jerusalem with the King of Kings upon his boney back, the crowd gave Him a royal welcome by waving palm branches and spreading their cloaks on the road. They chanted:

“Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)

“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10)

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! (Matthew 21:19)

Hosanna is from two Greek words: “Yasha” which means “save or deliver” and “anna” which means “please, I beseech.” (Strong’s 5614). The people hoped that Jesus would save them from Roman tyranny, but He wanted to save them from so much more. He was coming to deliver them from the curse of sin and death. But their shortsightedness prevented them from seeing the eternal kindness of God’s greater plan.

For just a moment walk beside the donkey in your mind’s eye and listen to the words Jesus heard. “Hosanna!” “Blessed!” “King!” Now fast forward five days and listen to the mob at his mock trial and again at the foot of the cross. “Crucify him!” (Matthew 27:22-23) “He saved others, but He can’t save Himself!” (Matthew 27:42)

Even though Jesus knew the chant would change from the ride into town to the road to the cross, he continued moving forward. Why? Because of grace—unmerited favor, a gift we could never earn, God treating sinners better than they deserve. Knowing what He knew was going to happen five days after His entrance into Jerusalem…He still rode.

That’s the same grace He offers you and me today. We praise Him one day and put him off the next. We shout, “hallelujah praise the Lord,” one day and cry out, “He didn’t come through for me” the next. And in all the flip-flopping between trusting Jesus one day and turning our backs on Him the next…He still loves us. He still rides into our hearts knowing our weaknesses and waywardness.

He knew we would have times of rejoicing and times of rebellion, and yet, grace still road into town…into my heart and yours. Today, take some time to thank God for His never-ending, overflowing, inexhaustible grace. Leave a comment and let’s praise Him together.

Jesus, I am in awe that You gave Your life for me, even though You know everything I have done and will do in the future. Thank You for Your amazing grace. May I never forget the wonder of sacrifice for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Digging Deeper

I know I shouldn’t have favorites, but When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories is mine. When Jesus gave His life for us at Calvary, He made it possible for us to have a better story. Only He can take the worst parts–the parts we’d love to rip out–and make them stand out as examples of divine transformation and victory. Oh friend, don’t get stuck in the bad parts of your story. Let’s discover together how to turn those difficult pages into powerful stories of redemption that God can use. (Includes a Bible study guide.)

Happy Easter!

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