According to AAA, the day before Thanksgiving in the United States is one of the busiest travel days of the year. People travel by car or airplane, some going long distances, to celebrate the holiday with family and friends. For Jesus and His disciples, one of the busiest travel days of the year was when the Jewish people would flood into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Our passage today highlights Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem days before Passover. Instead of arriving in an intimidating motorcade displaying His power and might, Jesus traveled on the back of a humble donkey, thus fulfilling the prophecy from Zechariah 9:9. The crowds took notice of Jesus’ arrival and welcomed Him with praise. Some went ahead and others followed, but they all shouted, “Hosanna!” which is a Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” (Matt. 21:8–9). Hosanna is also an exclamation of praise.
Their praise of Jesus caused the entire city to sit up, pay attention, and wonder who was coming (v. 10). The crowds’ response gives us a glimpse into the reason they would later turn on Jesus and approve His crucifixion. They believed He was a prophet from Nazareth (v. 11). The crowds showed their thanks and praise of someone they thought was a prophet. They completely missed who Jesus really was—the Messiah, the Savior of the world.
As you gather with your loved ones this holiday, will your thanksgiving and praise of the Lord cause others to ask, “Who is this Jesus?” If they do, I hope you are able to give them an answer. Jesus is not just someone to be appreciated because of the things He has done, He is to receive thanks and praise because of who He is, the Savior of the world.
If you are welcoming people into your home this Thanksgiving, treat them as if you were welcoming Jesus. You don’t need to treat them as “Savior,” but perhaps you could go above and beyond to make them feel loved. If you are traveling, perhaps arrive with a humble attitude and spirit, looking to serve and not to be served.