“The Rejection of the King”

There was a great deal of optimism on Palm Sunday as Jesus rode into Jerusalem to present Himself as Israel’s King. But the cries of “Hosanna to the Son of David!” turned to “Let Him be crucified!” by week’s end (Mat. 21:9, 27:22). The enthusiasm of Palm Sunday could not be sustained for it was not based on true faith. The reader of Matthew’s gospel is not surprised for as early as chapter 11, the present generation of Jews rejected both their King, and the forerunner of the King (vv. 18-19). The opposition and rejection would only swell until reaching a fevered pitch in the repeated demand, “Crucify Him!” “Crucify Him!”
The tipping point seems to have occurred in the forementioned passage when the people of Israel called Jesus a drunkard, and John demon possessed (Mat 11:18-19). In fact, the very next verse says, “Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent” (Matthew 11:20). Jesus denounced whole cities indicating Israel’s widespread failure to repent and believe in Him as their Messiah King (Mat 11:20-24). There were some in Israel who repented and believed in Jesus (vv. 25-27). These were the ones to whom God had revealed the truth concerning His Son. Jesus said to the Father in verse 25, “You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”
In this passage, we see man’s responsibility to repent and believe, but also God’s sovereignty in revealing truth to those whom He chooses (Mat. 11:20-30). The passage ends with the gracious invitation of Jesus, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Have you come? Will you come? Come to Jesus today! He promised, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37).