The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors 13 took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
“Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel!”
Jesus found a young donkey and rode on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said:
“Don’t be afraid, people of Jerusalem. Look, your King is coming, riding on a donkey’s colt.”
Much can be made of the fact that a few days after this passionate welcome from one crowd, another crowd wanted to do away with Jesus. It illustrates how opinions differ. When it comes to Jesus, there are certainly various opinions.
Some reject him as a threat to the way they live, as someone who claims an authority that they have no desire to respect. Some dismiss him and give him little thought. Others admire his moral teaching and acknowledge him as someone of virtue….while at the same time politely rejecting his claims to be the only way to God or to being God in human form. Which incidentally raises the issue of why a great moral teacher would make such claims if they were not true.
And then there are those who, like the crowds on Palm Sunday, saw him as someone of significance. Someone of authority. Though many still scratched their heads at the sort of authority he wielded. Not much dignity in someone riding on a young donkey! And so there are some who have some idea of Jesus but not the whole picture.
There are those who get caught up in a moment or two of enthusiasm and get very excited about Jesus for a time. Only to get weary of it and move on to something or someone else that grabs their attention. While in a like minded crowd they are embracing Jesus. When the crowd disperses, their embrace ends.
So we can jeer Jesus or cheer Jesus. Or we can take him at his word and embrace him as the one who puts us right with God and who invites us to live for him now and always. Our opinions of Jesus are not just passing thoughts: they decide our eternal destiny.