I’ve always found it very odd that when Jesus heals the blind, casts out demons, or raises the dead, he will often tell those receiving the miracle to not tell people who he is.
But this is to misunderstand the political and religious climate of the day as well as the core reality of the mission of Jesus—he is not only a King, but a crucified King.
The Jewish people could not—and would not it seems—receive a Messiah (an anointed King) that would taste the death Jesus would experience on the cross. They expected and needed a strong primarily political figure that would throw off by force the Roman oppressors. And while Jesus will indeed throw off all physical oppression (and is doing so through his church today), he came first to disarm the rulers and principalities of this present dark world. He would defeat Sin in us and in the world in his first coming, and remove the presence of evil from his good world in his second.
But on that particular Sunday, on what we have called “Palm Sunday” for millenia, Jesus gave his emphatic response to the many temptations he faced throughout his life to question his identity ("If you are the Son of God, jump off the pinnacle of the Temple!").
As Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, he reveals himself to the masses decisively as the one who will indeed “save us.” This is exactly what the people cried out as they shouted: “Hosanna! Hosanna!” (a plea that means "Please save us, now!’). Yet in one week, this cry will morph into the mechanism of this salvation: “Crucify him!”
Particularly comforting to us who follow Jesus today is John 12:16, “His disciples did not understand these things at first … ” But they continued to wrestle and trust. They continued to follow and bear witness. They continued to lean into the one who indeed came to seek and save the lost.
And so it’s okay if we don’t have everything figured out right now. We rest in the hands of the One who knows us, sees us, and wants us.
And so as you begin this journey of walking with Jesus this Easter, maybe even for the first time, remember that “Your King is coming.” He came sitting on a donkey’s colt the first time and will come again for us riding on the clouds of heaven in glory.