Log in

Hosanna! Blessed is the One Who Comes in the Name of the Lord: A homily preached by Daniel Love Glazer at Bethany Terrace Nursing Centre March 29, 2015

2015-04-04 3:27 PM | Daniel

Happy Palm Sunday! I am delighted to be here to join you in celebrating one of the most glorious days in the earth life of Jesus. It was on this day, that Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cheers of crowds who shouted “Hosanna” and waived palm leaves. Palm Sunday marked the beginning of what has become known as Holy Week. One day later Jesus would expel the money-changers and the sacrificial animals from the temple precincts. On Thursday, he would eat the Last Supper with his apostles. Immediately following that he would be arrested and crucified. And, as we Christians know, in three days he would return from the dead, on Easter Sunday.

Palm Sunday occurred a few days after Jesus performed perhaps his greatest miracle while here on earth, the resurrection of his friend Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus and his two sisters, Martha and Mary, lived in a village called Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem. On his visits to Jerusalem, Jesus would generally stay at the home of these good friends. It was from Bethany that Jesus started the procession into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

What was on Jesus’ mind as he planned to enter Jerusalem this day? Up to now he had tried to suppress the public acclaim of him as the Messiah, but things were different now. He was approaching the end of his life in the flesh. The Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews, had proclaimed that Jesus must die. What harm could come from allowing his disciples to give expression to their feelings?

So he decided to make a public entrance into Jerusalem. There were various Hebrew Scriptures that prophesied the coming of a Messiah. The passage from Zechariah that we heard earlier seemed the most suitable:

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.



A warrior king would enter a city riding upon a horse; a king on a mission of peace and friendship would enter riding upon a donkey. Jesus would not enter Jerusalem as a warrior on horseback, but he was willing to enter peacefully and with good will as the Son of Man on a donkey.

At this time there were thousands of pilgrims in Jerusalem, Jews from various Roman provinces who had come to celebrate the Passover festival. Evidently, some of Jesus’ disciples went ahead and circulated among the pilgrims, spreading the news that Jesus was about to enter the city. So the crowd knew of Jesus’ coming and provided themselves with palm leaves to waive in greeting him. And they shouted


‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

When Luke told the story of the noisy procession, he reports that ”Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"

Mark ends his story of the procession by saying, “ Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”

Does this strike you as a bit anti-climactic? Jesus has just led this huge crowd to the temple courts and then, what? “He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” I wonder how the disciples reacted to this. Some of the disciples were among those who were hoping that Jesus would lead a military revolution against the old order. I imagine that Simon Zelotes, for example, would have wanted Jesus to lead the multitude in revolt, destroying the Sanhedrin and its followers, and then proclaiming Jesus King to occupy the throne of King David. Those disciples must have been bitterly disappointed.

And I guess that Peter would have been disappointed. Jesus allowed the crowd to dissipate without preaching the gospel of the kingdom or allowing Peter, a great preacher, to do so.

I can think of one apostle who might have been relieved when Jesus allowed the crowd to disperse. I suppose that, in the organization of the 12 apostles, one of them was probably designated the steward, the one responsible to supply food and supplies for the apostles and those who followed them. Perhaps this was the Apostle Phillip. Whoever it was, he must have been relieved that he did not need to feed the great crowd that had gathered to welcome Jesus.

I suppose that the apostle John might have had the best understanding of what Jesus was up to. John was someone who thought in symbols—he would later write the Book of Revelation, which is chock-full of symbols—and the symbol of Jesus riding on a donkey would have been meaningful to him.

And the apostles must have realized that by entering Jerusalem to a cheering crowd, Jesus effectively disarmed the Sanhedrin’s plan to arrest him. They no doubt feared to arrest him while he was being acclaimed by the crowd.

What about Judas? Judas was one of those with a material-minded view of the kingdom. He wanted Jesus, by the supposed miraculous methods of Moses, to overturn Roman rule and restore the kingdom of David. When he saw Jesus fritter away the opportunity to take advantage of the huge crowd, he must have realized that Jesus would not usher in the kingdom according to his material desires. This episode may have been what decided Judas to betray his Master and to make his peace with the old order, which, evidently, was not going away.

You and I know that Jesus was not going to be a material-minded Messiah, for he often said that “my kingdom is not of this world.” Jesus told of a kingdom which God would set up in the hearts of his children on earth. The power of this kingdom does not consist in the strength of armies or the power of wealth, but in the glory of the divine spirit that indwells the minds and rules the hearts of all who are reborn as citizens of this heavenly kingdom, as children of God.

Hosanna! Thanks be to God!


Appendix: Mark 11: 1-11

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”’

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, ‘What are you doing, untying that colt?’ They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,


‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.


[1] This homily is based on two scripture passages: Zechariah 9:9, quoted in the homily, and Mark 11:1-11, appended at the end

Recent Blog Posts

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software