Waves Of Praise
12 “The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!” John 12:12-13 NKJV
The description above is one of the most triumphant images we have in the Bible, the picture of Jesus as He is about to enter Jerusalem in the final week of His life. As He makes His entrance the people gather to Him and praise Him with their words and with palm branches that are lifted to Him in praise and laid before His path as He entered into His final works before His sacrifice for all men. You can certainly get the picture in your mind of the celebration of joy poured out from the hearts of people.
We are all familiar with this scene and yet we sometimes fail to realize that this scene was played out generations earlier in a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus and this very moment in the Savior’s life with us in this flesh, on this earth. It is amazing how much Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem amidst the praise of the people looks like what we read about the wave offerings of the people in Leviticus 23:40-41:
40 And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41 You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.
The wave offering took place at the Feast of Tabernacles and in this we see the celebration of the Hebrews when they are still in the wilderness. It is a time of joy and praise for the Promised Land that lies before them. Even though they have not yet entered in, it is a celebration of thanksgiving and praise for what they know the Lord has for them even before they can see it.
At the Feast of Tabernacles you can see that they were instructed to take four kinds of branches, place them in a bundle and wave them as a praise offering to the Lord. One of the branches was a palm branch and the palm branch represented victory. How fascinating is it to fast forward in time to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, just before He would deliver Himself as a sacrifice for all men, when He would win the final victory over sin and death for all men. It is at this moment that people pick the one branch they had waved as a praise offering every year as a sign of victory, the palm branch. That is the very branch they offer as praise to Jesus as He rides on the donkey in the midst of them.
They are praising His victory even before He established it. We should always and in all things praise Jesus even before we see the victory evidenced in our lives. Praising Jesus is always strength to us.
J Todd Hostetler