The Jews of Jesus day were not an easy people to rule. They had been conquered and dominated for centuries and now they were under Rome’s power. “Pax Romana” as it was known, wasn’t really peace, it was peace through coercion and violence. That was the politics of Rome.
Each year for Passover, 200,000 pilgrims would travel to Jerusalem from all over the region for their celebration. This made for a tense time in the city as the officials feared riots and the Jews feeling empowered by their celebrations, thereby risking a revolt. So, Pontus Pilate was sent to the city at that time to keep it peaceful and maintain control. The Jews could hold their festival but military force would assure there would be no insurrection. The politics of Rome would reign supreme.
It was into this political climate that Jesus of Nazareth chose to go public.
Although he had traveled all over the region healing, performing miracles, and deeply affecting lives; and although his fame had spread oft-times ahead of him, he insisted on slipping away from crowds and warning many healed to go and tell no one. He refused the accolades, and attempts to promote him.
Palm Sunday, AD 29 was different.
On this day, Jesus chose to unravel the politics of Rome by going public with His right to claims as the Messiah. On this day, he made his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, as King of the Jews. On this day, he once again displayed cornerstones of His Kingdom, The Kingdom of Heaven.
He entered the city: (Matthew 21; Mark 11; Luke 19; John 12)
- riding a donkey and it’s colt
- people put their coats on the animal and the ground ahead of him
- people cut tree branches and spread them on the road
- crowds shouted in front of and behind him
- they shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David”
- they shouted “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”
- the whole city was stirred
- the crowds praised Him for all of His mighty works
- religious leaders told them to be quiet
- Jesus told them if they kept quiet, the stones would cry out
- He wept over the city
- saying, “I wish that you had known today the things that make for peace”
- but you do not know the time of your visitation
- He entered the Temple and drove out the moneychangers
- He reinstituted His House as a house of prayer
- crowds followed Him because they heard of Lazarus being raised from the dead
When Jesus entered the city that day, He was publically displaying the Kingdom of Heaven in its peace, humility, and victory. He was publically receiving and encouraging praise. He was publically allowing a parade of praise, peace and His power to be linked with Him and His Kingdom. He was publically contrasting the politics of Rome with the Kingdom of Heaven.
And the city “was stirred”. The residents took notice that something different was happening. The pilgrims took notice. Pilate the governor took notice. Herod the King too, they all took notice of Jesus’ parade through the streets and His influence over the people.
Jesus was political that day. He was political because He was influencing people on a civic and individual level. He was influencing people with The Kingdom of Heaven. He was showing all of them that heaven is a way of life, it is here and now. Not just a place we go to when we die. He was going public with the Kingdom of Heaven.
With everything in me I can tell you that this is an urgent season, this is a Palm Sunday Season, and it is time for God’s people to go public with the Kingdom of Heaven. Not just for a day or a week either.
These are the days for Christians to go public, when the Kingdom of God is put on display. When Jesus’ miracles and fame fills our cities and neighborhoods. In the face of coercion and violence, of cancel culture and persecution, and in the throws of the politics of our own Rome, we declare HOSANNA – save us! Blessed is the King who is coming.
In our own hostile politics, we can no longer shrink back in fear and allow the Pilate’s and Herod’s to rule over and intimidate us. We cannot allow government to coerce us with peace that comes by violence, for that is the politics of Rome.
We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven!
In humility, true peace and total victory (by the Blood of the Lamb), we will demonstrate heaven on earth by living in alignment with The Word, and setting it as our standard in all things. We will speak up, show up, and stand up. We will declare the Truth of The Word in the hearing of those that spout lies. We will parade His greatness, show off His power, and not be silenced. (Although, I’d love to see and hear rocks cry out.)
We will pray, sing, have faith, see healings, miracles and the Kingdom of Heaven advance. We will be the passionate who advance His Kingdom passionately.
It is time to go public, my friend! The stakes are high and rising. The religious and the real are being sifted. The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
You must choose with which kingdom you will identify – the Kingdom of Heaven or the Politics of Rome.
Happy Palm Sunday,