Triumphal Entry

Read: Matthew 21:1-11

Hosanna to the Son of David! (v. 9)

As people lined the streets, throwing their cloaks on the ground before Jesus, they cried out, “Hosanna!” which means, “Lord, save us!” As much as it was praise, it was also a deep cry from the gut. A cry for everything wrong to finally be set right, for everything lost to finally be found, for everything broken to finally be made whole. They cried out for a king who would save them.

As Jesus enters Jerusalem to shouts of Hosanna, he both confirms our hopes and defies our expectations. The church’s normal title for this story is the “Triumphal Entry.” Jesus enters like a king and receives recognition and praise. Jesus is King. He is the king who God promised. However, his entry into Jerusalem was anything but triumphant. He came “humble, and mounted on a donkey” (v. 5, quoting Zech. 9:9). Jesus’s arrival in Jerusalem proclaimed him as King, yet not through a display of power, but humility. Jesus is God’s answer to the cry of “Hosanna!” yet not in the way we expect.

Jesus is the king who comes to the people, comes to those crying out for deliverance. But he comes in humility, not as a conqueror. Jesus comes not to drive out the Romans, not to fix the world by force, but to save it by his sacrifice. Jesus entered Jerusalem not to conquer, but to lay down his life on the cross to forgive our sins.

Holy Week begins with shouts of “Hosanna!”—with the cry for salvation. It’s a cry that’s answered in Jesus.

As you pray, ask Jesus to help you receive him as King.

About the Author

Stephen Shaffer is the pastor at Bethel Reformed Church in Brantford, Ontario.

This entry is part 4 of 31 in the series Looking to Jesus