Whether it be in the festival or non-festival season of the church year, we enjoy the high honor and great privilege of hearing truly glorious events that took place in the life of Christ.
Please do not pass over quickly or regard too lightly this “high honor and great privilege,” because we are living in a day and age when people, especially in the Middle East and Far East, are being severely restricted in being able to hear and learn of Christ.
This is not unlike conditions during Jesus’ earthly life and during the time of the early New Testament Church when authorities tried to prevent the good news of the Savior from getting out and being spread around.
Thanks be to God, we still live in a free land in which—whenever the wondrous news of the teachings, life, and work of Christ reaches our ears—our spirits are uplifted with great joy and gladness.
As we listen with renewed interest, who among us hasn’t entertained the thought of being transported back in time to witness firsthand what we are reading and hearing about in the gospel accounts?!
What a joyous experience it must have been to have the high honor and great privilege…
…to see the newborn, incarnate Lord in Bethlehem of Judea;
…to walk and talk with the Light of the world during His ministry;
…to observe the almighty God-Man perform His many and sundry miracles;
…to gaze upon our victorious Savior on the day of His resurrection;
…to watch the Lord of glory ascend into the unseen realm of heaven!
As Christians we know that the culmination of Jesus’ life’s work as our Savior took place during Holy Week which began with Palm Sunday.
Think of the spiritual thrill it must have been to be numbered among the multitude of festival-goers who hailed and escorted Jesus into the city of Jerusalem on that momentous Sunday.
An Even Higher Honor
Recognizing Jesus as messianic royalty, they rolled out the red carpet by paving the road with palm branches and their outer garments. The festival hymn (which the Jewish pilgrims would often use when coming to celebrate the Passover—Psalm 118) took on special meaning as they applied it to Jesus, crying out “Hosanna! [Save, I pray!] ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” (John 12:13)
But now, when Jesus performed mighty deeds and was hailed in this way, listen to the objections raised by the religious officials—and then also hear Jesus’ response. “But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’, they were indignant and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these are saying?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Yes. Have you never read, “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise”?’” (Matthew 21:15-16)
Having been blessed with a childlike faith, we—unlike the disciples who didn’t fully understand until later what Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday signified (John 12:16)—know that Jesus was making His way into the city to lay down His life on the cross to save us eternally.
And so when we sing our Hosannas to the Lord, it is a song of praise and thanksgiving over the accomplished fact of our salvation through Jesus Christ!
While we did not receive the high honor and great privilege to witness firsthand all the glorious events that took place in the life of Christ, nevertheless we shall have an even higher honor and greater privilege of experiencing in heaven the eternal fruits of Jesus’ redemptive work.
In one of John’s visions recorded in the book of Revelation, we find a picture that gives a glimpse of what that eternal day will be like. The apostle John reports, “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, Thanksgiving and honor and power and might, Be to our God forever and ever. Amen’” (Revelation 7:9-12).
In eternity nothing and no one will hinder anyone from speaking of and singing the praises of our Savior God, for everyone in heaven will be glorifying Him forever and ever! Amen.