Those who shouted "hosanna" later turned against Jesus and shouted "crucify him. " But is this really true, or does this thought simple betray our own assumptions about crowd psychology?
People did seem to expect Jesus to ride into Jerusalem and then gather an army and overthrow Rome. But instead, he cleared the temple and called the Jewish leaders "wicked tenants." He told them to render unto Caesar what was Caesar's. Perhaps Jesus just angered and disappointed too many of the wrong people.
But perhaps the "hosanna" crowd and the "crucify him" crowd were different people. Because we see how the leaders were afraid of the crowd's reaction time after time. When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about his authority, Luke, Mark, and Matthew tell us that these leaders were afraid of the crowd. And Jesus continued teaching in the temple, presumably to many believers, Luke 21:37-38. This crowd's open embrace of Jesus seemed to be increasing. Perhaps, for a while, it served as his protection from the growing crowd of plotters.
Luke 22:1-2 tells us that the chief priests and elders gathered in stealth--secret--to plot against to kill Jesus. Why stealth? Because they feared his followers--the "hosanna" crowd.
So maybe the "hosanna" crowd really wasn't the same as the "crucify him" crowd after all.
Where are you in this story? In which crowd to you find yourself? While we'd all prefer to cheer "Hosanna," sometimes our actions suggest otherwise. Do you praise him or crucify him with your daily living (Hebrews 6:6)?
Do you sometimes succumb to political pressure and fail to proclaim Christ faithfully? Do you claim holiness, but harbor racism or other sin in your heart? Do you scapegoat and mistreat others,--your co-workers, neighbors, spouse, even your children?
Let us confess. For just as Jesus faithfully died on the cross for you, he is faithful and just and will cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
John Marshall Crowe