Atmosphere meant a lot on the day Jesus rides in on the back of a donkey. The week is leading to passover and everyone is coming to town to celebrate. The sheer elation of such an event is overwhelming. The people of Jerusalem are preparing for the great feast to celebrate what God has done. And what has God done? God has delivered them from the slavery in Egypt. He has given them freedom more than once. And He has provided. Not only did he use forces of nature to drive Pharaoh into submission, but once freed from his evil rule God gave them food...from heaven no less. Manna? What is it? Exactly!
So as they prepare to celebrate their largest feast and party of the year, they hear of Jesus of Nazareth coming into town. They have heard that he is the messiah and the Jews with the elation and joy of the week are more than willing to accept this great prophet, healer, and teacher as their new king who will overthrow the tyranny of all other governments and bring them to their rightful place as the Jewish nation. So they go to the entrance of the city and wave palm branches (An act for a king) and they lay down their cloaks on the road (An act for a king) and they shout out:
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!” -Mark 11:9-10
And that is an act for a Messiah!
It is the atmosphere of what is to come that leads people to celebrate the one true Messiah, even if it is for the wrong reasons. And it will be their disappointment of what God really wants to do that will lead them to being the same people who form an angry mob that ask for his crucifixion from that very same government they long to free from just days earlier. And that is where Mark leaves us on Sunday of Holy Week. On Palm Sunday we are left in suspense of what is to come; a fuller story of God showing His people, THE WAY...A NEW WAY!