When they had approached Jerusalem and had come to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. "If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and immediately he will send them." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
"SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
'BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN.'"
The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats. Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road. The crowds going ahead of Him, and those who followed, were shouting,
"Hosanna to the Son of David;
BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD;
Hosanna in the highest!"
When He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee." Matthew 21:1-11
Today is Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The King of Kings, riding a colt, entered the city where he would prepare to die. Can you imagine the excitement and noise around this parade? People from the market, the traders’ streets, from surrounding homes, all joining to sing Hosanna to the King! I would have loved to have been there.
But, ah, we are there! Jesus walks with us in our city streets yet today. Although He is not with us in the earthly form of a man, His Spirit walks with us. Our hearts that are sore burdened and our feet that go astray can easily be calmed and comforted and led aright by the Holy Spirit’s presence.
Along with the writer of this hymn, I pray that God will give us faith to face the cross – to think on the pain, agony, and betrayal that Jesus felt on our behalf, to rejoice with praise that Jesus completed the work He was sent here to do, and to be faithful in doing the work He now calls us to do. Through that faith we must work to set our city free – free from the sin and shame that binds those who don’t know Him!
Today, our song of “Hosanna!” can mingle with the songs coming from a city far away -where sin has passed away and Christ rides triumphant. We look forward to the day when we will be in that city, and when Christ’s city will be rebuilt on Earth. Until then, we can sing with all the saints, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!”
Outside the Holy City
Words by James Gilkey
Outside the Holy City
Unnumbered footsteps throng,
And crowded mart and streets of trade
Fling back a swelling song.
The voices echo nearer,
In flaming hope they sing:
“Throw down your branches at His feet!
Hosanna to the King!”
Once more beside a city
The Son of David waits,
Once more the children throng to bring
A welcome at the gates.
Within are hearts sore burdened
And feet that go astray;
O Christ of God, come near and walk
Our city streets today!
The branches that we offer
Are no unmeaning sign;
Take Thou the hands we lift on high
And make them wholly Thine.
No songs of shallow welcome
Are these we raise to Thee;
O give us faith to face the cross
And set Thy city free!
A distant music mingles
With all our songs today,
The chorale from a city fair
Where sin has passed away.
There rides the Christ triumphant
And victor songs ring clear;
O God, give us the strength to build
With Christ that city here!