“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’’. Matthew 21 : 9
These are familiar words, but as the saying goes, familiarity can lead to our missing what these words are really all about.
This was true for the pilgrim crowds who breathlessly celebrated his arrival one day, but by the end of the week, were baying for his blood because what Jesus meant by this promise was not what they meant.
The cry of “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’’ is no hollow slogan. Instead, it is packed to the rafters with supressed hopes and dreams of what the one who comes in the name of the Lord will do.
Jesus seemed to fit the bill by what he did when he arrived in Jerusalem and by what he taught during that week. When he spoke about the Zeal of the Lord, this was language guaranteed to fire the imagination. When he compared the Temple authorities to being like thieves and brigands, then surely, he was saying that the long-promised King had at last come.
And, of course, these pilgrims were right because this is what Jesus was saying all the time; what they differed on, was how he was going to do this. Instead of being a new Maccabean hero who would lead Israel into battle against the cursed and hated Romans, Jesus had a different foe in mind. The foe he had in mind was death, sin and the devil and to defeat them he would need to choose the path of the Suffering Servant. Rather than inflicting pain and sorrow on his enemies to defend the Temple and all it stood for, he would embrace pain and sorrow to replace the Temple with his own body. But this was not how the pilgrims wanted their King to act. To act in this way would show him to be a fraud who was leading the people astray and for such an act what was called for, was his death.
The pilgrim crowds were right to cry “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’’. Jesus did come in the name of the Lord and he came to fulfil his Father’s will and to establish his Father’s Kingdom. All of this was done by his embracing death on the cross and when he was raised from the dead, he would hear in response his Father say, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’