Gospel Matthew 21:1-11
“This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee”
The crowds who accompanied Jesus as he entered Jerusalem shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’
It would have caused quite a stir. Here comes this bloke, riding into town on a borrowed beast, the requisitioning of which he did so invoking a right reserved to kings, accompanied by crowds shouting, and declaring otherwise preposterous things about him.
“When he entered Jerusalem,” we are told, “all the city was stirred, saying, ‘Who is this?’” The people of Jerusalem, were rightly shaken. And the appearance of Jesus should shake us too.
This is a perennial question, asked by all of us. It is, in fact, a question that demands an answer of us. There is no possibility of neutrality here. His is a presence that demands of us a response.
The week ahead is a unique one in the life of Jesus. His teachings become increasingly apocalyptic and mysterious, he violently cleanses the Temple, causing a tremendous stir. By the end of the week, he has polarised the city, and has few people left to vouch for him. This ‘prophet Jesus from Nazareth of Galilee’ has not found much by way of welcome. In fact, he has so angered the hierarchy, and so disrupted the life of the city that everyone wants him to be gone.
We are often wont to ponder how would this play out in our own day – wondering if Jesus had just been lucky enough to be born into a modern liberal society, would he have avoided this rather ignominious end?
The answer to this can be found in our own response to Jesus – Who is he? What role do I afford him in my own life?