Glory Hallelujah, Amen
This anthem seems to be based on Matthew 21:16, when on Palm Sunday Jesus was lauded into Jerusalem. People waved palm branches, and laid their cloaks on the ground before His donkey as He rode into the city. They shouted Hosannas to Him, declaring Him the Son of David.
Jesus went to the temple and began to clear the courts of the merchants and money changers who were in the business of cheating people. And amid all this cacophony of angry voices, bleating sheep, and fluttering doves, the children in the temple courts kept shouting, “Hosanna!”
The religious leaders were fed up. They hated Jesus to begin with, and to have Him praised by the masses outside the city was bad enough, but this stuff going on at the Temple sent them over the edge. They loathed the idea of Jesus being praised by the people, because, well, who likes to see their enemy get the upper hand, or do something to get positive notice (read current political affairs for corroboration of this statement).
Remember, these men had conspired to kill Jesus, so having everyone supporting Him meant they were plotting against a national hero. They could see all of this blow up in their faces, for if the people rioted, Rome would be down on their heads, too.
A second irritant was that these officials got kickbacks from the vendors, so Jesus’ shutting down business at the very days they made the most money was hurting them in the heart (most people keep their hearts in their back pockets with their wallets). It would be like Jesus shutting down Black Friday. Let’s just say, they weren’t endeared to Him at this moment for more than one reason.
These religious leaders weren’t at all concerned that they were fleecing the sheep (and I don’t mean the wooly ones), or that their marketplace was set up where the Gentiles were supposed to come to pray. This is why Jesus’ rebuke to them stated that God’s house was to be a house of prayer for ALL NATIONS. God was in the process of breaking down the walls of separation to bring the Gentiles fully in to His kingdom, and these merchants, and the establishment behind them, were getting in the way. These men were angry at the inconvenience, and especially at Jesus for causing it, while Jesus was about to ready inconvenience Himself on behalf of all of us who initially rejected Him.
The third annoyance was the sound of children singing and shouting praises to Jesus. It was the most onerous sound they could imagine. Jesus’ reply to their indignation was to point back to Psalm 8:2, where David says that God confounds His enemies with the praises of infants and children. This prophecy certainly was appropriate here, for the praises of these children were confounding the enemies of God.
The weapons of God’s warfare are counterintuitive to us and to God’s spiritual enemies. We think strength wins the day, but God often chooses weakness. We think the self-confident will come out on top, but God uses the humble, those who have no trust in themselves, but total trust in Him. As 1 Corinthians 1:27 says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” Again, this verse would be appropriate to this incident, because it left the mighty leaders feeling foolish and impotent…and only more determined to crucify Jesus.
Jesus came into this world as a weak and helpless baby, and He died vulnerable and exposed on the cross, seemingly at the mercy of His foes. And yet, what He really did was triumph, and glorify His Father—His strength being made perfect in weakness. God does this in many ways in the accounts of the scriptures, and in our own lives, as well. It is a good thing to remember when we are feeling particularly weak and vulnerable ourselves. We should ask for, and look for, God’s strength to be made perfect in our weakness.
It is good to keep in mind that our praises needn’t be eloquent, or well-reasoned—not that those kinds of praises are wrong or unbecoming. Our praises can be simple expressions of joy and wonder, such as come from the hearts and mouths of children. We need to keep in mind that no matter what our chronological age, we are still His beloved children, so whatever simple, honest, heart-felt praises pass our lips are a delight to His ear. So while we work diligently on the lyrics and melody, let’s work even more diligently on tuning our hearts to praise Him as His dearly loved children. Then let us watch His power come through our praises to confound His enemies!
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries