I want to take you back to Palm Sunday when Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem, entering through the Golden Gate.
He came riding on a donkey (a sign of peace) with his disciples and a large crowd of ordinary people following Him, just as Zechariah predicted in chapter 9 v 9 —“ See your king comes to you righteous and having Salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey”. They were excited and happy, with differing expectations of Jesus. Some saw Him as a political king who would overthrow the Romans and bring back their freedom from slavery, others that He was a man of miracles who would heal the sick, others who were crowd followers caught up in the excitement. They were all on their way to celebrate Passover, an annual Jewish Festival, perhaps similar in one way to something like Glastonbury today!! Jesus was coming in peace to be their saviour (and ours), to die on the cross for our sins and to rise again on the third day. ”What a Saviour”. Meanwhile, on the other side of the city a different procession was entering Jerusalem through the Damascus gate. This was Pontius Pilate, with reinforcements of the Roman army, coming to back up the troops stationed in the Antonia fortress, in case there was any trouble from the crowds of Jews gathering in the city (literally thousands of them).
They came in splendour, wearing their shining armour, riding on magnificent horses (a sign of power), with golden eagles on poles, glinting in the sun. The crowds must have been afraid, resentful, hating the Romans “strutting their stuff”. This was in complete contrast to the way Jesus was entering the city. Which gate are we going through? Are we with the crowds following Jesus, on a collision course with the values of our secular society today? Do we only want to follow Jesus when we think he offers health and happiness, here and now?
Are we cheering our own idea of a Messiah? Perhaps we are a mixture of both. Whatever we think, Jesus loves us and forgives us. Psalm 100 says “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and praise”. Is this what we will do today?