As we approach Palm Sunday and the rest of Holy Week, those words from Luke echo in my mind:
Prepare the way for the Lord.
These ancient lines from Isaiah became John the Baptist’s mission statement as he prepared the hearts and minds for the coming Messiah. And his audience would’ve known exactly what he meant. Servants would travel ahead of an approaching king and fill in potholes and level bumpy roads so the king’s arrival would be as smooth as possible.
That’s what I want our goal for the next week to be: preparing the way and preparing room in our hearts to meditate on the death and resurrection of Jesus.
And we’ll start where He did: heading into Jerusalem.
As Jesus made His entrance into Jerusalem for Palm Sunday, one of the phrases the crowd shouted was “Hosanna to the Son of David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
What does hosanna mean? Hosanna comes from a Hebrew word that means “save now” or “please save,” a literal cry for help. From the beginning of the world, Jesus’ plan has been to save us from our sins, and while the crowds lining the dusty streets of Jerusalem didn’t grasp the whole plan, for a moment, they were able to rejoice that a savior figure had appeared.
The Israelites may have been expecting Him to do more outward rescuing (social, political, or economical) rather than inward rescuing, by making a way for their hearts to be made new. They may have thought their immediate needs were in their circumstances: with the current-day political oppression or simmering turmoil between religious factions.
Instead, their greatest need (and our greatest need) lies within our souls.
The lines from “Joy to the World” (no coincidence how a Christmas song can make us think of Easter) come to mind as well: “Let every heart prepare Him room…”
Instead of heading into the Holy Week with expectations of what you need God to do (or not do), learn from those citizens of Jerusalem all those years ago. Lay down your expectations like the robes that lined the street. Open your heart and “let the king of Glory come in.”
Prepare Him room.