His reputation certainly preceded him. Adoring crowds accompanied Jesus and gathered ahead of him, while the anxious city awaited his arrival. His supporters had been building around him for some time. His ministry started of more like a small group than a megachurch, but after the word started to spread about the healings he provided, the miracles he performed, the blessings he procured, he wasn’t traveling alone much anymore. Coming down from the mountain of the transfiguration, a crowd was waiting for Jesus, out of which he cured a boy with demon. Traveling to Judea beyond the Jordan where he was tested by the Pharisees on the intricacies of religious law, crowds gathered to hear and see Jesus, even to be healed by him. Leaving Jericho and turning toward Jerusalem, having just predicted his punishment, death, and rising to new life, a crowd is determined to follow Jesus, even into the unknown.
It’s no wonder the city was stirred up in turmoil when this crowd of Jesus’ supporters was heading straight for Jerusalem. They came marching toward the gates, waving branches, offering even the cloaks off their backs to honor this him, talked of prophecies being fulfilled and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” The city was expecting devout pilgrims for the Passover observance. But now they had either a parade or a protest. It may have been hard to tell the difference. The teachings of this Jesus were not the normal teachings. He di something with them. He didn’t counter them, but someone reapplied them. He took the law of Moses, kept the core, and expanded on it for a new day. It was challenging to some, to say the least.