Matthew’s Gospel demonstrates over and over again that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Over and over again He points out all the prophecies that He fulfilled. His genealogy tracing back to David, being born of a virgin, being born in Bethlehem, going to Egypt and then to Nazareth. Being confirmed by the Father and the Holy Spirit at His baptism and His later transfiguration.
He had the correct supernatural message and proved His deity over and over again by demonstrating complete power over all disease, sickness and other physical afflictions, including death. He had absolute authority over both the natural and supernatural. He even had authority to forgive sins. Jesus fulfilled all of the Mosaic Law and taught the true meaning of that Law with an authority that they had not seen before.
So when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, described in Matthew chapter 21, the crowds shout,
‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’
‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
Did the people really understand what they were saying? No doubt what they were shouting was true, but I don’t think that they really fully understood it or believed it. They were still looking for a king who would save them from Roman oppression, not someone who would bring them salvation from the oppression of satan and sin.
What an opportunity for those present that day to say something about Jesus to those who were looking on. You see, those in the crowd praising Jesus and shouting, “Hosanna,” were either from Galilee where Jesus had done the majority of His miracles, or they were the ones present when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. These people had seen so much evidence demonstrating who Jesus was, they had heard Him teach in a way no mere man could teach. Yet, instead of boldly proclaiming Him the Son of David, the Messiah, the promised one, this was reduced to “the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee” (Matthew 21:11).
True, Jesus was a prophet, but He was so much more than that, and they failed to recognise it. The King of Kings was there. The prophecies were fulfilled. The Messiah had come and… they had even shouted that out themselves, yet they still failed to truly discern who He was.
There is not much difference today. People say all sorts of true things about Jesus, but many, including those who call themselves Christian, do not really believe it.
Some call Jesus a great teacher, yet they do not study what He taught nor follow His teachings.
He was a great example, but they do not follow it.
Many people claim Jesus as their Saviour, yet are still busy striving to save themselves through whatever means by which they think they can earn it.
We cannot earn His favour; it comes by His grace:
“Not by works which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Titus 3:5-6)
Some people, convicted of a need for Jesus, claim to love Him, yet they refuse to give up their sin and really follow Him 24/7. Such people are liars because Jesus Himself said in John chapter 14:
Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.’
There are others that may even really believe Jesus is who He claims to be, but out of fear, they will not share this belief with others.
I am sure there were those in the crowd that did think Jesus was the Messiah, but were afraid to say so for fear of the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees.
Do not let that fear control you, if you do, it says a lot about what your really do believe, namely that Jesus is not worthy of your being possibly persecuted and ridiculed.
Jesus gives us a stern warning,
“But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Matt. 10:33).
Particularly at this time don’t be like the fickle crowd that surrounded Jesus that day, proclaiming one thing but not acting in accordance with what you say. If you know Jesus, then boldly proclaim Him to everyone. Don’t forget you are called to be a living Bible.
(Based on a sermon from Palm Sunday, 5th April 2020)