“Saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’”—Luke 19:38
People love parades. No matter the occasion, scores of people will line streets for parades of all types. Whether it be for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Mardi Gras, or some other reason, the joy, excitement, and anticipation of a crowd surrounding a parade is an amazing sight to behold. Those feelings of joy, excitement, and anticipation are multiplied when the parade celebrates a victory. This past fall, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time 108 years. The response for the victory parade was tremendous. Schools were cancelled. A river was dyed blue. And, a reported 5 million people attended, making the Chicago Cubs victory parade the 7th largest attended gathering of any kind––ever. Read Luke 19:28-40. Scores of Jews had gathered in Jerusalem for the quintessential Jewish holy day: Passover. This was the time in the Jewish year when people traveled to Jerusalem from all over Israel to participate in the holy week festivities that would culminate in a lamb being sacrificed for the sins of the nation and to symbolize a renewal of Israel’s relationship with God. This year, the presence of Jesus had ratcheted up the level of anticipation. His fame had spread throughout the country. Reports of the miracles He performed left people desperately wanting to see Him. And there was no getting around the rumors that this Jesus might be the Messiah, the long-awaited king who would deliver them from their oppressors. The excitement of the crowd that day must have been electric. Finally, their deliverance was coming! Finally, God had remembered His people! Finally, their hope had a name and a face! In their excitement and joy, they exclaimed praises to God. If there had a river nearby, they probably would have dyed it. The people in the crowd that day didn’t fully understand the nature of Jesus, the person who prompted their praises. All they knew was they had hope. And that hope prompted praise.
1. What is the largest celebratory gathering you have ever attended? How did you feel being among that group?
2. When was the last time you saw a group of believers truly celebrating? What were they celebrating?
3. The crowd celebrated Jesus for who they thought He was. How should knowing who Jesus truly is impact our celebration of Him? Why do we seem to find it difficult to celebrate Jesus with a similar enthusiasm to a crowd that didn’t truly know Him?