The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:6-9
On Sunday night we will gather at church and watch the Patriots and Falcons play in Super Bowl 51. At some point during the following week the winning city, either Atlanta or Boston, will throw a large celebration party and have a long parade through their city. Just four years ago, Baltimore hosted an event like this celebrating the Ravens Super Bowl victory. I can still see the images in my mind of large crowds gathering on the parade route. It was estimated that close to 200,000 people attended the parade, also another 71,000 were in the stadium to celebrate and hear from the players. It was an exciting time in Baltimore; our beloved Ravens were the champions of the NFL.
In the passage above, Jesus had His own victory celebration in a way. This is the Triumphal Entry into the city of Jerusalem, and is the first event that takes place in Jesus’ final week before the cross. The people had gathered to celebrate what they thought was a coming of their great King, one who was going to save them from the Roman oppression. Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead, and word had spread throughout the area of this great event and now they celebrate their hope for freedom. However, we know that they did not get the hope they were seeking, and a few days later, some people from this joyous crowd would chant for Jesus to be crucified.
Jesus did not stay in the tomb, He rose again on the third day. There was no parade, no celebration. Our beloved Savior took away the punishment of sin — this is certainly something that deserves to be celebrated! This is why we gather on Sundays, to celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is nothing wrong with enjoying and celebrating victory in sports, but let’s remember to keep the right perspective, and remember that Christ is the ultimate victor.