Today is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. On this day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem as a king. Surrounded by followers who glorify God, His Father, for “all the miracles they had seen” (Luke 19: 37). This day was the climax of His ministry that had been building since He had first begun. In Matthew’s account of the event it is said that the whole city stirred as Jesus entered and asked “Who is this?” (21: 10)
Who is He?
“Who do they say I am?” (Matthew 16). It’s strange that this person who has been quietly ministering to the outcasts of society, to the lowest people in communities, all of sudden cares about what people are saying. This is the same man that “ordered His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Messiah” (Matthew 16: 20)
But does He really care what the people say? Because he says to one specific person – He says to Peter, “who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15). When you read this, you can’t help but feel as if Christ is speaking to you. Jesus is asking you.
So what do we believe about Jesus? Like Peter, we proclaim that He is “the Messiah, the Son of the Living God”. But we also proclaim that He is King – King of all creation.
Jesus has always been King. From the moment He was born in a manger in a stable behind an inn in Bethlehem. He was nothing more than a baby with nothing to His name – no reputation, no accomplishments, no miracles. But still the angels heralded His arrival and declared His majesty. Wise men paid tribute and stars shone for him. Jesus has always been King and He always will. Even when mankind turns its back on Him, even when His disciples scatter and His people condemn him, He will always be King. “If they (the followers of Jesus) keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19: 40). He isn’t just King of humanity – He is King of all creation. From the earth, to the wind, to the sea and the heavens above – He is King.
It’s funny how words of praise can quickly turn into critique. On Palm Sunday, we witness as the crowds welcome Him into the city exclaiming “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord”. And yet, a few days later the very same people use the exact same word – “king” – as a weapon that condemns the same man to death.
On Palm Sunday, Christ asks us the same question as He did Peter, “who do you say I am?” He wants us to stand away from the crowd and follow Him as He heads towards the cross. “If you, even you, had known on this day what would bring you peace…” (Luke 19: 42). We know. So what would you choose? The crowd or the King?