Why did the crowds cheer Jesus when He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey shortly before His crucifixion—but then turn against Him and demand the Roman governor put Him to death? Why did they change their minds? — G.M.
Yes, Jesus was enthusiastically welcomed when He rode into Jerusalem just days before His death. (Traditionally this day is called "Palm Sunday" because many in the crowd cut palm branches and waved them as a sign of honor.)
It must have been a dramatic sight as Jesus approached Jerusalem on a donkey (which was a sign of His humility). The Bible says that "the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices ... 'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!'" (Luke 19:37-38). Even those who weren't part of that welcoming crowd listened eagerly to His teaching during the next few days.
But soon many turned against Jesus and demanded His death: "'What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?' Pilate asked. They all answered, 'Crucify him!'" (Matthew 27:22). These weren't necessarily the same people who had welcomed Him—but the reversal is still striking. Were they disappointed because He refused to establish an earthly political kingdom? Probably. They may also have disliked His demand that they repent.
It's easy to condemn those who condemned Jesus—but would we have acted any differently? We too are sinners, and we too have rebelled against God. But the central message of Easter is that God still loves us, and because of Christ we can be forgiven. May you welcome Him into your life during this holy season.