John 12:12-13 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
With a bounty on his head days before his death on the cross, Jesus bravely stepped into the public limelight as perhaps a few million worshippers came to celebrate the Passover holiday in Jerusalem.
The people passionately responded by shouting “Hosanna”, meaning “save us now!”. In short, the people were crying out for Jesus to save them, but what they were asking for was far more political than spiritual. They were quoting Psalm 118:25-26, which was a favorite political Scripture in their day. Think of it this way: much like many will say, “God bless America”, the Hebrew people in Jesus’ day would quote that Psalm.
Furthermore, they were waving palm branches. That was basically their version of flag waving, which people would do to welcome a political ruler coming to provide a military victory over a foreign enemy.
In that day, the nation of Israel was ruled over by the nation of Rome. The relationship was tense as Romans were told to worship their political leader as “Lord”, have allegiance to that man over their God, and revere that nation over God’s Kingdom.
It was in this context that the people rallied to nominate Jesus as their political king hoping he could overthrow the Roman government. They had tried the same thing earlier in John 6:15, “they were about to come and take him by force to make him king…”
Today, things are not much different. People generally, and sadly, care more about the political than the spiritual. Today, it seems like every political party and political issue tries to drag God in on their side and use Him as their king for their kingdom. Above it all, Jesus reminds us that Jesus is a King over all kings, with a Kingdom over all kingdoms. Standing before a political leader in John 18:33-36 we hear this conversation, “So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
How about you? Do you devote more time and energy to the political or the spiritual? Are you more concerned about your nation winning than God’s Kingdom coming?