Jesus, at the height of his popularity during his time on earth… He had proven himself through miracles and he had come just as it was prophesied:
Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
righteous and having salvation is he,
humble and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The King has arrived! The crowd is shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” Less than a week later, the crowd would savagely cry out, “Crucify him!”
What changed? Did Jesus change? I don’t think so. Did the people change? Possibly. There is nothing that says whether or not these were the same people who praised him upon his arrival. I don’t think that matters. Either his supporters had abandoned him, or they were calling for his death.
The problem was that the people wanted a king to free them from the oppressive Roman government, but when Jesus came to Jerusalem, he didn’t even speak out against Rome. In fact, that is when he spoke the famous words, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s…” Not exactly the defiant warrior the people were looking for.
Instead of fighting for political freedom, this is when Jesus went into the temple courts to clear out the money changers and vendors (for the second time). We can look at this event from a distance and think about how awesome Jesus was, but this was not what the people expected or wanted from Jesus.
Finally, instead of telling his disciples that peace would come for them, Jesus tells them that wars, earthquakes, and famines are coming. He told them people will hate, beat, and even kill them for their faith.
God’s plan was so much bigger and better than anything they could imagine. Eternity. Heaven. True life that only comes from the living God. Even though they thought they were thinking big, it was nothing compared to what Jesus was really there to do.
This begs the question: To what magnitude are WE underestimating God’s plan? Are we so focused on what WE want that we don’t recognize His plan unfolding in our very lives?
The goodness He has planned for us is not just a bigger version of what we can achieve without Him. It is completely different, and it is better.