From One Extreme to Another!

By: Reverend J. Loren Russell

John 12:12-13 NKJV
“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 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!””

It was Friday, six days before the Passover when Jesus and His disciples arrived in Bethany. A meal was prepared for them at the home of his friends, Mary, Martha and Lazarus. When the people of the village heard that Jesus was in town, they gathered not just to see Him, but to see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead.

Nothing is recorded in scripture about activities that may have taken place on the following day which was the Sabbath (The Day of Rest), but on the first day of the week, the following Sunday, Jesus rode a donkey into the city of Jerusalem, fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9). That great crowd who gathered at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, as well as those who had gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, greeted Jesus with great fanfare.

They took palm branches, a sign of victory, and their own clothing and lined the street like a red carpet for Jesus’ donkey to walk on. The multitude shouted in unison, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the King of Israel!” (John 12:13)

Hosanna means “save now” and is their acknowledgement that Jesus was the savior they longed for. Matthew’s recording of this triumphant entry into the city says that the entire city was moved and asked, “Who is this?” The multitude who had gathered to line the street with palms and clothing responded, “This is the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee” (Matt. 21:10-11).

Sometimes, we are convinced that our position is right and are willing to stand firm on our convictions. We make verbal declarations that tell the world how convinced we are in our position. Then, other opinions or circumstances come up that causes us to change our position, and we go from one extreme to another.

In our scripture today, the people made some grand gestures and bold statements, physically lining the street with palms and clothing, and by crying out, “Hosanna,” as Jesus rode by. The dramatic irony is that by the end of the week, the same crowd who praised Him as He entered the city were the same ones to cry out, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matt. 27:22) Was it the verdict in the court that made them go from one extreme to another?

The shouts of the people as Jesus entered Jerusalem were words of praise, yet they flipped-flopped, and we find them on the exact opposite end of their previously stated position. The New Living Translation renders the verse on keeping your word, of keeping your conviction, this way, “Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one” (Matt. 5:37).

If you can recognize the blessing that is among us in Jesus, if you think enough of Him to shout Hosanna, if praise comes out of your mouth, stay with your position. Resist the compulsion to go from one extreme to another.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at

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