PASSION WEEK: So It Begins…

“So it begins.”

These were the words uttered by King Théoden, the king and Lord of the Mark of Rohan in The Two Towers, the second part of the movie adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Théoden uttered this phrase as he prepared for a fictional battle between good and evil at Helm’s Deep. About two thousand years ago, a real battle between good and evil was about to begin. But this was not a battle that would be fought with the weapons of the world. This battle would take place in the spiritual realm.

So it begins…

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. (John 12:1-2, NLT)

On the day before the day we now know as Palm Sunday, a special dinner was taking place in Bethany, at the home of Lazarus to honor Jesus. When people heard of Jesus’ arrival in Bethany, they flocked to see Him, as well as to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had recently raised from the dead. This angered the chief priests because they saw the large number of Jews who were following Jesus because of that miracle. The chief priests plotted to kill Jesus and Lazarus, as well.

So it begins…

The very next day, Jesus made His way to Jerusalem. Jesus rode triumphantly into the city, not on a magnificent steed, but on the back of a lowly donkey, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah, which said, “Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt (Zechariah 9:9, NLT).”

As He entered the city, He was met by a great crowd of people who had heard that He was coming. Many of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut down palm branches and spread them on the road. As they did this they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew 21:9-11, NIV)

The crowd was recognizing Jesus as the awaited Messiah, the Son of David. And so they shouted, “Hosanna!” The word hosanna comes from the Hebrew phrase hoshi’ ah na’, which means “save us.” They believed that the Messiah would one day come to save them from their oppressors, who at the time of Jesus were the Romans. And so, as the crowd spread their garments on the road before Jesus, they were welcoming Him and recognizing Him as their king, just as they had done long before when Jehu was their king (2 Kings 9:13). But, in just a matter of a few days, many of those who shouted “Hosanna!” would be yelling “Crucify Him!” as the battle between good and evil, the battle to save the souls of mankind, began.

So it begins…

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NIV are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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