By TAC Team


John 12:12-13 ESV “The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!” [1]

What is the meaning of all this celebration that is called The Triumphal Entry?

In The Addiction Connection Podcast #152, Miss Crowder and Dr. Shaw discussed the historical use of palm branches from ancient times. Palm branches were used to rejoice and praise when soldiers came back from battle. When a competitor won the Grecian Games, (which we now know as the Olympics) the people would celebrate by waving the palm branches when the victor returned. When the crowd greeted Jesus as he arrived in Jerusalem that day, they not only waved the palm branches but lay them down along with their cloaks so that the donkey upon which Jesus rode could walk upon them.

The crowd was honoring Jesus by these symbolic actions.

The people wanted Jesus to be King and to fix everything. They were looking for political change and expected Jesus to come in and take over on a war horse, but Jesus came in on a donkey to usher in the peace that man could have with God. They were truly lacking peace with God which is what they needed more than to fix their short-term earthly problems.

Addiction biblical counseling involves discerning the difference.  Is wanting to be saved from your problems your primary focus? Or do you want a real relationship with the Savior of the world more than anything else—a Savior who is actually King?

Dr. Shaw says this about asking God to fix our lives:

“While it’s always fine to say, ‘God would you help me? Would you fix this circumstance or situation or heal me’ or whatever. But I’m kind of growing to the place where I’m not just praying in that way. I’m praying, God, let your will be done through me… in me and through me however my circumstances may be. Yes, I want You to fix this and that and the other, but really, God, help me to be faithful, whether you fix that or not… Your grace is sufficient for me… I think that’s a sign of maturity… when people are learning to pray in that way.”

Miss Crowder adds:

“It really is praying according to God’s will… [praying with the heart attitude of] I really want this situation fixed. But, what I really want more than that is I want to live in Your will and to trust You and to walk with You.”

“God just wants us to walk by faith,” Dr. Shaw summarizes.

Dr. Shaw then goes on to teach a correlation between the lies they were believing in the triumphal entry and the lies often believed in addiction. He says:

“Addicted or not we are all sinners; we all need God to save us. Addicted people were duped into into believing that their addiction would offer them safety and freedom and pleasure and autonomy… [but those] were just lies… really you become enslaved. And what God wants is to free you from that [enslavement to your sin choices]. Now, you’re still his slave, so to speak; you still belong to Him. He paid for you. He bought you with a price, but you don’t have to live enslaved anymore and be ruled by your own heart’s desires, your own passion.”

Dr. Shaw states, “I think about the parallel with addiction … sometimes when you’re addicted, you’re just looking for God to fix your problems, to fix your pain, just to solve the sufferings in your life rather than recognizing God’s doing something way bigger than that.”

Bowing our lives before Him is total submission to a real King, a true Savior, who will redeem and restore and rule with righteousness. The triumphal entry reminds us not to miss the real reason for His coming.

Next week will focus on The Lord’s Supper—so come hungry;)

EASTER: Meditations for Addicts was written by Dr. Mark E. Shaw and Shirley Crowder and is part of a series along with the book ADVENT: Meditations for Addicts. Shirley is a co-founder of this ministry with Dr. Shaw and serves as The Addiction Connection’s Vice President. She is a gifted writer and speaker and teaches women all over the country.


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[1] Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.