The next day the great crowd that had come to the festival heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, shouting,
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord—
the King of Israel!’
Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it; as it is written:
‘Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion.
Look, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey’s colt!’
His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written of him and had been done to him. So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify. It was also because they heard that he had performed this sign that the crowd went to meet him.
Jesus’ idea of glory and the worldly view of glory were different two thousand years ago as they remain today. For the worldly view of glory across the centuries has been about power and recognition; it is about having more: more money, more prestige and above all more power. You only have to look at the reality shows where people are falling over themselves to receive more, more fame, more money, more recognition to see that we still have a vision of what glory is that is diametrically opposed to Jesus.
John’s gospel is divided into two. The ‘book of signs’ are the miracles (the wedding at Cana, the raising of Lazarus) which reveal Jesus as the Word made flesh and The ‘book of glory’, the account of the events leading up to and including the crucifixion. This is about Jesus’ view of glory – not about receiving more, but about giving more, about loving more, about sharing more. Jesus expresses this in washing the feet of his disciples, which churches will be re enacting in just a few days time. Jesus gives himself to his disciples, and he gives himself to the world through his crucifixion.
The shouts of the crowd in those bustling Jerusalem streets on that first Palm Sunday were of ‘Hosanna’ but they quickly turned to ‘crucify’.