Many Christians across the globe celebrate Palm Sunday using palm fronds to recreate the Triumphal Entry of Jesus. Some then knot the palms into small crosses as a reminder that the time of Jesus’ crucifixion would quickly follow.
The miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead continued to produce new believers (vv. 17–18). Word had spread about Jesus, and so great was the celebration of His arrival in Jerusalem that onlookers waved palm branches and cried, “Hosanna!” (v. 13). The Pharisees became deeply concerned: “Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (v. 19).
This was a watershed moment in Jesus’ public ministry. He told the crowd His hour was coming (v. 23), and as confirmation, God spoke in an audible voice from heaven. While each miracle was intended to bring God glory and help people believe, still many did not: “Even after Jesus had performed so many signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him” (v. 37).
How could people who saw Jesus standing in front of them in person, people who heard the voice of God Himself, still refuse to believe the truth about the Messiah? The Suffering Servant had been revealed (v. 38; see Isa. 53:1), but the people were too blind to see Him (vv. 39–41; Isa. 6:10).
Verse 42 includes an interesting tidbit—some of the leaders did believe what Jesus said was true. But alas, they feared the Pharisees more than they trusted the Lord. Rather than sacrifice their access to power and prestige they chose to keep quiet about their faith in Jesus. “They loved human praise more than praise from God” (v. 43). God Himself had spoken and Jesus promised eternal life, but they were trapped by fear.
Why do you believe? Who do you believe? It is easy to be swayed by public opinion or influential voices. We must consistently return to God and His Word, which is our anchor when the storm of life rages around us. No matter who may question or threaten us, we must always keep our eyes, ears, and heart focused on Jesus.