April 11, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” - Matthew 21:6-11.
This week we have seen the joy of many in Iraq as they welcomed the American and British troops riding into their cities in Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles. The troops were welcomed with cheers, flowers, and the destruction of one statue of Saddam after another. The troops brought with them liberation from the cruel oppression of the Iraqi dictator who has held the country hostage for over two decades. There is still looting but there is also great jubilation over the freedom that they apparently now enjoy.
A week before the crucifixion of Jesus he was welcomed as the Messiah, as the One who would bring freedom to His people. The people rejoiced at the presence of this Jesus who performed miracles and could even feed the multitudes with only a few pieces of bread and fish. The people laid their clothes and palm branches before Jesus so He would not have to walk upon the bare ground. There were people everywhere and they were pushing and shoving - hoping to obtain a glimpse of Jesus, or perhaps even to touch Him as He rode by. The noise would have been incredible with the people shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!”
Jesus is a different kind of Savior than that experienced by the Iraqi people. But the liberators that Iraq is experiencing are the type of liberators that those in Jerusalem wanted. They wanted a leader like the judges of old or perhaps like King David who would lead them in triumphant battle against the Romans winning their independence. But Jesus came not to establish a physical kingdom on earth but a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of all peoples. That spiritual kingdom is still the one we need most of all whether we live in the United States or in Iraq. We need the spiritual liberation that only Jesus can give to us.
Have you welcomed Jesus into your heart and life? If not I would encourage you to do so now. Allow Jesus to come into your heart and life and establish His kingdom and reign.