Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. Ps 24:7
The Roman soldiers were in place and put on a brave face. The Temple guards were posted in preparation for a solid week of Passover festivities in Jerusalem. It was a security nightmare. A bustling city of 50,000 was busting at the seams with up to 400,000 visitors from all around the known world.
What was on the mind of the visitors? Celebration and Anticipation.
The Jewish crowds from the countryside poured into the Roman occupied city with news of a king, Jesus.
The people having been purifying themselves for their holiday celebration of the Exodus and hearing stories about Jesus who claims to be greater than Moses.
This is their Independence Day, the birthday of the nation of Israel, the commemoration of freedom from slavery, bursting the bonds of the oppressor, and the anticipation was mounting as they dreamed of a new deliverer.
Roman soldiers stand at attention ready for anything. They’ve been called on before to stamp out rebellion, to crush the resistance in Jerusalem.
City leaders rarely feel good about these situations and prefer to keep the rabble outside the gates.
But coming through the gates and down the streets is a swelling parade of people hailing a redeemer. They are singing the usual songs as they go up to Jerusalem and are asking God to deliver them, to bare his arm and save them from the hand of the oppressors.
Men and women are shouting and singing and children are dancing. Then coming into view, Jesus appears meek and mild on the colt of a donkey (Zech 9:9). This Jesus whose very name means "Yahweh Brings Salvation" is being escorted by the throng.
HOSANNA! God Save Us!
Where is the war horse? Where is the militia? Jesus comes as the king of Peace. His kingdom has been advancing and new creation has been springing up all around him; the sick are healed, sins are forgiven, relationships are restored, the dead are raised.
The City leaders try to shut it down. They tell Jesus to quiet the crowds, to crush their enthusiasm. This will not happen. The collision course, this clash of kingdoms is underway.
His life and message, death and resurrection will fulfill this festival. They will be offered their new birth as a nation and this is the time.
Is the City ready for Jesus? Are we ready for the King of Peace? Prepare him room!
Take a few moments to read and reflect on Psalm 24 in preparation for this Holy Week.
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Ps 24:7
- Aaron Bauer
Senior Pastor, Issaquah Christian Church