12The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. 13So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” 14And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!”
16 His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had been done to him. 17 The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness. 18The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this sign. 19So the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you are gaining nothing. Look, the world has gone after him.”
Did you wave a palm frond on Sunday? Did you sing “All Glory, Laud, and Honor!” and march into church behind a cross? Did you feel a little strange doing that? Did the procession bunch up at the door as people negotiated their way into the pews? It often does. I wonder if the pilgrims who greeted Jesus felt any of those things. I wonder if the parade bunched up when it got to the gates of Jerusalem. Probably it did.
John says that the disciples did not understand what was happening that day and only later remembered that the prophets of old had written that this would happen. John is referring to the verse he quoted. It comes from the prophet Zechariah 9:9. If you found yourself uncomfortable with a palm frond in hand, wondering why you did this thing, that is not unexpected. Disciples have been flummoxed by this day from its inception. In a great mystery which transcends our understanding, somehow, your voices were added to the songs of those pilgrims that day. Worship, especially Holy Week, does that to the Christian. We don’t just remember events, but we relive them. Later this week will sit at the table with Jesus as he institutes the Lord’s Supper. We will go to a garden, endure his arrest and trial with Peter in the garden. We will follow with those women to the cruel summit of Golgotha. We will watch Him die and go to his tomb to anoint His body and hear anew the message of the angels who have greeted Christians every Easter for nearly 2000 years. We are there.