Palm Sunday 2014
Palm Sunday Meditation
Jesus rode into Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover. The annual observance was in honor of God’s rescue of the Jews from Egypt. When during the final plague (the death of the firstborn), God told Moses to shed lamb’s blood around the doors, and to eat the lamb so that the Jewish firstborn would be saved. A deep connection to the last supper of eating the body and blood of the Lamb of God sacrificed for our sins.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, the practice of kings in ancient times. And like his birth into the world, there was little fanfare or pomp and circumstance. Followers of Jesus laid down their coats and branches similar to ‘red carpet treatment’ today, while others asked who this man was. Earthly kings marked their territory; they gave inaugural speeches, threw parties, had statues made in their likeness, and named streets and cities after themselves. They talked about their power and how great the world would be if people follow their rules.
Jesus’s inauguration consisted of hatred from Jewish leaders who saw him as a heretic and a threat. How dare a human being call himself the Son of God! A carpenter? A teacher? A healer? Yes. But the Son of Almighty God? Crucify him! And they planted the seeds of crucifixion cries within the crowds of people who believed.
Jesus’s inaugural speech was silence. In front of an earthly king he stood, asked to justify himself and his agenda (love). When personally questioned and challenged, he didn’t take the bait to bring glory to himself. Earlier in his ministry he told the disciples, I came to serve, not to be served. He came to serve God, not to be served as king. His disciples promised they would always stand by him, yet like the crowds that turned against Jesus, his chosen disciples fled too.
The Jewish people were seeking their Messiah but they didn’t expect him to be a humble human servant. They wanted a powerful military leader, but their ‘King’ washed the feet of his disciples in a way reserved for slaves. They wanted defeat of Roman occupation, but their King delivered forgiveness rather than retaliation. The power that Jesus provided the Jews, the Gentiles, you, and I, was the power of love. We inherited as an unearned gift salvation and eternal life through the King that bore our sins with a crown of thorns.
Jesus came to us (we didn’t go to him) and the kingdom that we have inherited is present today. It is a freedom unknown by earthly governments that is only found in Christ’s love and forgiveness.