There was a question in one of the comments on my last post. The lady quoted her pastor who had written: “There is a fickleness to the crowd which proclaims ‘Hosanna!’ one day and is screaming ‘Crucify him!’ a week later,” and then she asked me: “Do you agree with this view? Is it the same crowd of people who sang Hosanna and later cried Crucify him?” This is a very serious question. I spent years trying to understand why “the crowd” cried, “Crucify him” and why his own received him not. I wrote books addressing this subject (as well as several articles on these pages) – but I believe there is still much to be said, and the Passover season would be a very proper time to turn again to this question.
First, let us ponder the Palm Sunday phenomenon. Why did Jesus enter Jerusalem on that particular Sunday? Many Christian readers still don’t know that the answer to this question should be sought in Exodus 12. At the beginning of this chapter, God instructed that the lamb that was to be slain on the eve of the Exodus, had to be separated out four days beforehand:
In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house… And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
I wrote several posts on this blog, dealing with the events of Jesus’ last week (see, for instance, https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/jewish-studies/last-supper-sign-jonah-2-2/). I am not going to reconstruct the logic of those articles here, I would just remind you that on Wednesday, Nisan 13, the disciples prepared this special meal that we call the Last Supper and that was, in fact, seudah maphsehket – the last meal before the Galilean Fast of the Firstborns. Jesus and his disciples ate this meal on Wednesday night, at the beginning of the Passover, as the day changed to Nisan 14. Then Jesus was arrested at night, tried and convicted early on Thursday morning, and crucified during the day – and all this happened during Passover day, Nisan 14, Thursday. Thus, on Thursday, Nisan 14, Jesus died on the cross; therefore, he had to enter Jerusalem the very same day when the perfect lamb was to be set apart – on the 10th of Nisan.
His Own Received Him Not
Do you remember the very last question the disciples asked Jesus here on the earth? This one question is enough to understand how great the difference was between the redemption Israel was looking for and that which Jesus brought. Open the Book of Acts and in the very beginning, in the scene preceding His ascension, you will read: ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ Please note that they are asking this, not only after three years of uninterrupted fellowship with Him, but after His death on the cross and resurrection, after the forty days He had appeared to them, teaching and explaining the mysteries of God’s plan to them. Theirs was a typical question—the Messiah that Israel was waiting for had to bring redemption and salvation to the people of Israel!
Faith in a kingly Messiah who would restore the throne of David and hence the kingdom to Israel, was an inseparable component of faith in God, and was based on a Biblical promise. ‘I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.’ No devout, believing person in Israel could imagine that God would send His salvation by a savior that would not save His people – and even the disciples He had chosen and taught, continued to expect this from Him! What does it say then, about all the other multitudes of Israelites who, listening to His messages and seeing His miracles, were absolutely convinced that sooner or later He would be sure to begin saving and restoring Israel? What does it say about “the crowd” – the same crowd that cried “Crucify Him”?
Now we can go back to the question that I was asked: “Is it the same crowd of people who sang Hosanna, that later cried Crucify him?” My answer will inevitably be very simplified; however, for the sake of clarity, I will allow myself this simplified approach here. “Hosanna” designates the fact that the Jewish people waited for Messiah; “Crucify him” refers to the fact that Jesus was not the Messiah of Jewish concept. Jesus did not come in accordance with normal Jewish Messianic expectations. He ascended the altar, not the throne of David. He wasn’t sent to restore the kingdom of Israel, as was expected of the Messiah, and in this sense all the Messianic promises that Israel associated with the coming of the Messiah, in fact, remained unfulfilled during His first coming. Therefore, out of faithfulness to God and His Word the people of Israel simply could not accept Jesus as their Messiah, since in their understanding this would have contradicted the Scriptures! Neither was it their choice.
What do I mean? The fact that Jesus ascended the altar, not the throne—the fact that He came to give Himself as an offering—was so extraordinary that, just as it was with Peter, not flesh and blood but only the Father who is in heaven, could reveal it by His Spirit. No one but God Himself can restrain or open spiritual eyes. It was His decision, His choice, His plan – and in full accordance with this plan, Jesus came to Israel as the Hidden Messiah—as though hiding his face.
According to this plan, our people could not only not recognize Him, but they were not supposed to recognize Him!
Next time, we will continue to discuss this topic – but today, before I finish this article, I would like to remind you of one scene from the New Testament. In Luke 19, when Jesus approached Jerusalem: “He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Knowing that He came not only for His own suffering but also for the suffering of His own people – chosen not to recognize and thus to become “enemies for your sake” – Jesus weeps openly over all the torment to be unleashed on Israel in His name…
 Acts 1:6
 2 Sam. 7:12-14
 See the article about “restrained eyes”: https://blog.israelbiblicalstudies.com/jewish-studies/keys-transitional-chapter-key-one/.
 Isa 53:3. You can read more about this prophecy and about Jesus being Hidden Messiah for Israel, in my book with the same title: As Though Hiding His Face.
Excerpts from my books are included in this article (and many other posts here), so if you like the articles on this blog, you might enjoy also my books, you can get them here. Also, I would like to remind you,dear friends, that eTeacher offers a wonderful course, where you can learn from Parashot Shavua commentaries along with their New Testament interpretation. As always, you are welcome to contact me for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org).