“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
— Luke 19:38

The mountain view across a vast meadow on the Appala­chian Trail was lightly dusted with snow under a brilliant blue sky. I could see for miles across the valley. It was Palm Sunday, and I paused to reflect on the first Palm Sunday, when Jesus and the crowds descended the Mount of Olives and headed into Jerusalem.
Spying him, crowds of people were filled with patriotic fervor. Hailing him as their king, they laid cloaks and palm branches on the path in front of him, shouting, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Somewhat mistaken, they believed he would be Israel’s national savior who could free them from the rule of the Roman Empire. But Jesus had come for a far greater purpose—and just a few days later the same crowds were shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Jesus is the Savior—not merely of Israel or any other nation, but of all people who believe in him. In his mercy, God gave the crowds not what they wanted but what they—and we—needed most.
Later on Palm Sunday in Appalachia, I met a Christian brother named Dave. Standing on the trail, we prayed together, celebrating the Savior.
Jesus saves us from our sinful selves and gives us the peace and assurance we need in ­order to live and walk with God.

Lord, our wants are so many and are often so shallow and frivolous. Thank you for giving us what we need: new life and peace in you. Amen.

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