I want you to imagine a scene with me. There is a young doctor who has a wife and three small children. He volunteers to take a dangerous six-month mission assignment to a place where there is an epidemic of a rare disease and a good deal of hostility from the local people toward outsiders. He takes the assignment because nobody else with his special training was willing to go.
The months pass slowly, and the kids really miss their daddy. The wife does a valiant job of holding things together and trying to be mom and dad. Then the day of his return approaches, and the whole family is full of excitement. Mom has butterflies in her tummy, and the kids race around the house shouting, “Daddy’s coming home! Daddy’s coming home!” At three o’clock in the afternoon a taxi pulls into the driveway. The kids charge out the front door followed by mom with her heart beating so hard she can feel it. The back door of the cab opens, and out steps dad, a good bit thinner than before and bearded to conceal his hollow cheeks, but with a big smile across his weary face. He kneels down on the grass and is smothered with six clinging arms and legs. “Hooray for daddy! Daddy’s home!” Each one gets his special hug and kiss while mom waits. Finally he pulls himself loose and they embrace: “Welcome home.” “It’s good to be back.”
Now I want you to look into this young doctor’s eyes, because there is a message there. And if you can see it and feel it, you will know something of what Jesus felt as he rode into Jerusalem to shouts of welcome and acclamation. What you can see in the doctor’s eyes is something he knows that his family doesn’t know: he caught the disease he went to heal and has one week to live….
….Picture him [Jesus] riding toward Jerusalem, the rebel city. A multitude praises him: “Hosanna, blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” He knows the praise is shallow. In a few days it will vanish away. But does he rebuke them? No. He defends them against the criticism of the Pharisees: “‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ . . . ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'” He knew his days were numbered. Like that young doctor, his case was terminal. But there was not a trace of self-pity in him. Isn’t that the kind of king you want for your ruler and defender? O that today you would take his terms of peace! I beseech you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God!