Hosanna - crucify him! About disappointed expectations.
"The next day, when the great crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 they took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting. Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel! 14 Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written, 15 'Do not be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King is coming, riding on a colt. 16 At first his disciples did not understand; but when Jesus was glorified, they remembered that it was written about him and that it had been done to him. 17 Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead testified to what he had done. 18 For this reason also the crowd went out to meet him, because they had heard that he had done this sign. 19 But the Pharisees said to each other, "You see that you do nothing; behold, the whole world is running after him. (John 12,12 ff)
"My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)
"But there must also be divisions among you, for only in this way will it be seen who is proved in the faith." (1 Corinthians 11:19)
Dear friends, dear women of God,
"Therefore the crowd went out to meet him when they heard that he had done this sign."
Our expectations and hopes are always shaped by what we want to see, read and understand. Then, when signs happen that are undeniably real, we imagine we are seeing.
Jesus had raised Lazarus to life, and this resurrection of the dead was accompanied by something that was obvious to all:
The blind saw, the lame walked, those bound by demons were set free, and now the dead also rose. He was the Messiah, and anyone who knew the prophecies about the Servant of God understood this at the latest now, and rejoicing broke out. Rejoicing, radiant joy, for this could only mean one thing: the kingdom of peace for which they had all been waiting had come! At last the bondage was over, the King of Israel, the everlasting descendant of David, was already riding to Jerusalem, and surely, surely it would only be a matter of days before he began his reign!
They were full of joy, full of hope, full of what seemed to them a logical conclusion.
If one thing happened, the other would happen too! The problem was that they left out what they did not want to see: The suffering of the servant for the freedom of his people. The sacrifice that was also announced, the blind eyes and hardened hearts that were no less reported.
Perhaps, and we can hardly blame them, they did not want to hear it, just as we do not want to hear the prophecies that are still to be fulfilled today: Persecution, death, tribulation. A great apostasy of the Church. Distress that grieves the heart. Sorrow. Darkness.
I have often spoken to people who have said that they prefer "a more positive picture of the end times". "Oh, it won't come that way, and oh, what nonsense that Satan could tempt me!"....
Between the lines of the glorious return, there is a lot about not letting our hearts be shaken, and that it has to come this way. Just as it was written between the lines then, that the servant of God of the world would have to take upon himself guilt and suffer, that he would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, that he would be exalted, killed and glorified for all eternity.
I don't know how many times you've been disappointed in your life, that things have turned out differently than you thought.
We think we know how history is going to turn out, and in our minds we are already throwing the big party, proclaiming the great victory, thinking we have reached the goal, and then everything turns out differently, everything seems to fail, we no longer understand the world.
We are quick to want solutions, and we think very much of our needs:
Our need for security, peace, abundance, beauty, love, undisturbed grazing in lush meadows.
But God's story is full of dangers and announcements that we hope to escape, to be whirled away somehow, because the good God would never allow that. Well, it's just that I don't meet this God anywhere who would never allow trouble, affliction and hardship. You would have to erase about half the Bible to come to that conclusion.
No: He does not take us out of the world, but keeps us here, protected from loss and harm to our souls while we remain in Him, but by no means endowed with all the worldly pleasures and joys for all eternity.
God's aim is always first and foremost our sanctification and then, as we need it, our worldly needs. Above all, however, He is concerned that we seek Him first, that we find in Him the source of that love which we so desperately adore in everything created as a reflection of His glory.
If we do not go beyond this satisfaction of need, if we do not understand that what He gives us is not our "right", nor our own "merit or reward" for our "own righteousness", then we fall deeply when our plans fall apart, when strokes of fate strike us, and when things turn out differently than we imagined.
The Jews of that time thought that Jesus was one of them. When the Jewish Messiah from the house of David came to Jerusalem, the Jewish people would be exalted and all the Gentile nations would be enslaved as punishment for what they had done to the Jewish people. This was what they expected - a reward for their righteousness, a public honour before all the nations as God's chosen people.
But the story of Jesus was higher and far more far-reaching, more magnificent than what they expected:
It was the redemption of the world, the defeat and annihilation of all sacrifices, of the old covenant, of sin. He came to restore, to bear the sin of the world, and thus to disempower the accuser, Satan. And He came not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentile nations, and thus for the vast majority of us.
It was a spiritual kingdom, not a worldly one. It was about an unparalleled forgiveness of sins, an eternal reign, not the establishment of a new Jewish earth.
How great must have been the confusion and disappointment when it became clear that Jesus was not claiming a worldly reign!
You wait so long for something, and then... the opposite happens! All that you had bought and built up in your mind for yourself and your family - gone! It must have felt like losing a six in the lottery, because the ticket is suddenly invalid.
And so they rejoice on Palm Sunday and a few days later they are shouting "Crucify Him!", deeply disillusioned, angry and betrayed by their own dreams.
I have often experienced that paths have turned out differently than expected.
I have often had to completely reorganise myself from one day to the next, and old certainties have been shattered. I have seen what my life had promised me not come true. And I know the anger that comes when we have relied on something - and suddenly realise that it is different, that we are not getting what we had hoped for. Or rather, that we are not yet getting what we had hoped for. The more certain we were, the more it hits us when there is a bump in the road that takes us on a detour. When events seem to rob us of everything we need just to exist.
Anger at God. "Crucify him!"
The crowd fell into such a deep hole that enthusiasm turned to hatred.
How does this happen?
Well, it happens when we are angry at selfish desires. When we are angry at not getting what is "rightfully ours. Our own plans."
What the crowd didn't know then, we know now:
As terrible as what happened to Jesus was - as joyful, final and glorious was his resurrection.
But we, when faced with suffering, with sudden darkness, with those twists and turns that only God understands - we cannot see any further. But what we can do is remember, as Jesus reminded his disciples when he joined them on the road to Emmaus:
5 And he said to them, "O foolish men, who are slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted unto them all things that were spoken of him in all the scriptures. (Luke 24:27)
When darkness comes, we must remember. Of what Jesus has promised us. Insist on what is written about him. All of it. Everything, not just what we want to hear.
For he will come. And he will be glorious. And he has promised to be with us forever.
So: May we not hate him for what is (not yet).
May we trust and say in retrospect: "Here he helped, and now it makes sense. Oh, here he healed me, and look, I suspected it then, and today it has come true. "
Let's find his fingerprints in our stories and let's remember one thing very clearly: prophecy reveals itself after the fact. Not in advance. Prophecy happens when it is real - it becomes concrete, real and alive before our eyes. And then we look with awe at the work of an almighty God, and at the intricate thread with which he has meticulously created wonderful things.
Hosanna, Lord! You, King, have come.
The Prince of Peace, the Anointed One, has begun his reign, and in three days he teared down the temple and build it anew. Just as he said he would. And as the Scriptures have long prophesied.
Why did John stand under his cross? He knew. He knew the scriptures. And so he lay in his arms until the scriptures were fulfilled. No wonder Jesus loved him so, so much.
Sibylle/Daughter of Zion.