Lent Day 35: They Wanted Control

Here we go into Holy Week.  Today is actually called Holy Monday in some traditions.  The day after Palm Sunday, the day the mood began to shift from, “Hosanna,” to “Crucify Him!”  What caused such a drastic change in response?  I wonder if it had something to do with control?

In Matt 21 we get the full story the first Palm Sunday.  What we do not really see in the text is the significance behind this seemingly bizarre afternoon. The palm branch was a symbol of triumph and victory in Jewish tradition.  The people greeted Jesus that day not as the spiritual Messiah, but as a potential political leader who would overthrow the Romans. Their shout “Hosanna” meant “save now.”  These people wanted Jesus to save them from the Romans, and become their King.  I believe the shift from Hosanna (save now) to Crucify happened when the Pharisees finally realized that political leadership was never Jesus’ intention.

By the end of the day on Holy Monday the chief priests, teachers of the law and the leaders among the people we trying to kill Jesus.  These three groups of people had all of the power and control in the Jewish community.  They thought Jesus was going to fulfill their plan by rising to political power.  His true plan was going to threaten their current stature to the core.  They did not want to release the influence and control they had over the people.  In their minds they had to kill Jesus.  He was going to get in the way of the system they had created to control others.  These men had only two choices: change the way they lived their lives or kill Jesus. And because they wanted control, they chose the latter.

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