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Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday

Passover always occurs in the Spring.  It is the greatest season of celebration in the Jewish year, something like Christmas for us.

On the first Palm Sunday, more than two million people have crowded into the Holy City, many of them with special excitement.  They have heard the stories about this Galilean rabbi, his miraculous powers and rising popularity, and his clashes with the authorities.  The question on everyone's lips is, "Will Jesus come?"

If we could combine the excitement of a presidential election with the anticipation of Christmas Day, we'd have something of the electricity in the air this week.

Now comes the pivot point of Jesus' entire mission on earth.  If he goes to Jerusalem, there will be no turning back.  The enthusiastic crowds are waiting for him like their presidential candidate, and the authorities are waiting for him like the Gestapo.  He can still turn around and go back to Galilee, keep healing people and teaching disciples and building God's Kingdom.  Or he can go to Jerusalem and die.

You know what he chose.

The crowds greet him like a conquering hero.  They line the narrow streets like a parade and throw their cloaks on the road for his donkey to step on.  They cut palm branches from the trees and spread them out before him as a king.  They close behind him into a procession of thousands, shouting at the top of their lungs, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" But on Good Friday, their cheers will turn to taunts, their worship to cries of "Crucify him!"

Meanwhile, the authorities are outraged.  He is a threat to their power and position.  They are in charge of Jerusalem and the nation, and they don't want to share their power with anyone, least of all a country rabbi from Galilee.

The disciples are thrilled with the wonder of it all.  For three years they've followed this man, believing him to be the Son of God and the Messiah who would liberate their nation.  Now their dreams are coming true.  But when he doesn't overthrow the Romans and fulfill their plans, soon they will abandon him.  One of them will deny he even knows him.

In this season of Lent, where are you in the story?  Is Jesus your Lord even when he's unpopular?  Is he your Lord even when he threatens your plans?  Is he your Lord even when he doesn't do as you wish?  Is he your Sunday hobby, or is he your Monday King?

 

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