Our discussion yesterday focused on Jesus’ triumphal entry as a true story of courage. As the account continues, Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem after raising Lazarus, and He is surrounded by a cheering and adoring crowd that creates a parade. When He enters Jerusalem, they all shout “Hosanna.” It means “Save us.” And they say it over and over as a type of praise, but also as a plea for help. What or who are they asking the Lord to save them from? Essentially, they’re saying save us from Rome.
At that time, the Roman Emperor Herod had constructed the Second Temple, which was the world’s largest. The Antonia Fortress, an annex to this temple, served as Rome’s garrison, and as far as the Jews were concerned, the Messiah was not going to be a sacrificial lamb. The Messiah, according to them, would be a military leader who would expel the Roman occupying force from Israel. In many Jewish minds, the Messiah figure was going to lead them to the Antonia Fortress in order to kick Rome out! But much to their surprise, instead of making a declaration of war, Jesus goes to the temple. He focuses on a spiritual Kingdom rather than an earthly one, and He drives out the corrupt money changers from His Father’s House.
Friend, Israel sees Rome as the problem, but God sees the temple as the problem. The triumphal entry teaches us that Jesus wants to deal with you before He deals with your circumstances. It’s natural for us to focus on Rome —or on our outward situation —, yet the Lord’s first concern is with the temple of our inner life. We say, “Save us, Lord!” But the Lord wants to save us from us! He wants us to learn how to receive His love so it can permeate our souls from the inside out. As He changes us, we’re empowered to make positive changes in our lives, and that’s how the Kingdom of God is built.