Just days before Jesus was crucified, He rode into Jerusalem on the back of donkey. As He came, people threw palm leaves in the road and laid their coats down as a sign of honor and celebration. The people rejoiced and praised God, saying “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:9) “Hosanna” means “saves us” and the title “Son of David” was reserved for the Messiah. Those who rejoiced were recognizing that Jesus was indeed the Messiah and were worshiping Him.
But just a few days later, the crowds were chanting something entirely different. When Jesus rode into town, they wanted him to be their Savior and King. When Jesus was brought before Pilate they said, “We have no kind by Caesar!” They had said “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” but that changed to “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Why did the multitudes who began the week blessing Jesus end the week cursing Him? There are several factors evident in the gospel record that give us some insight. First, it was apparent that the multitudes had a misguided expectation. They expected Jesus to lead a political revolution and free them from Roman occupation. Second, they were easily swayed by others so that when the scribes, Pharisees, and priests began to persuade them to turn against Jesus they quickly changed their minds. Finally, they didn’t appreciate the true nature of Jesus’ ministry. When they rejected Jesus, the giver of life, and requested that Barabbas, a murderer, be set free, they showed how little they understood about what Jesus came to do. Jesus came to set us free from sin and give us eternal life. For that reason, He deserves our constant praise and adoration.