For those of you who were in church yesterday, did you wave your palm? Did your kids do it? For those who do not have that tradition in your churches, here is a brief explanation: Palm Sunday is the Sunday right before the Easter Sunday. On that Sunday, or first day of the week, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on a donkey and was received by the crowds as a king. They paved the road with their cloaks and waved palms, chanting “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Churches, normally give palm branches to the worshipers and during the service they sing a hymn and wave those branches.
Having that image in my mind and remembering those events in the life of our Lord, I started to think that there are people who are like the Palm Sunday crowds. At least some of them are. I do not want to judge all of them, but I can compare some of them. During that week, just a week, they went from one extreme to the other. This gives us a very good comparison with the people today. Some of them are inside our churches. Here it is:
1. On Sunday they welcomed Jesus as King – That is the first thing that they did, they welcomed Jesus as He was the new king, the Messiah, the one who would overcome the Roman empire and put Israel on the map again. Jesus made clear to them and His disciples that His plan was different, but they did not care, they thought that they could make Jesus the new king. Sometimes our idea of Jesus does not match the real Jesus found in the Scriptures. We just keep going and saying whatever we want to say, as if Jesus would change His whole person and adapt to our narrative.
2. During the week they were amazed with His teachings and miracles – Then during the week they had the opportunity to hear Him teaching in the Temple, and they were amazed by His teachings and His courage to confront the Pharisees and Sadducees. This is what we have in many of our churches, people who are amazed by the teachings of Jesus. For them He is a good teacher, a courageous prophet, and someone that has a good word for everybody. Sometimes we, like that crowd, do not hear the whole teaching of Jesus. We hear just what we want to hear. We do not pay attention to the parts that we do not like or feel comfortable with, but ignore them.
3. But Friday they called, crucify Him! crucify Him! – Until Friday, when Friday comes, it will find some people from that crowd inside Pilates court, being led by the High Priest and other religious leaders asking for Barabbas and chanting crucify Him. Jesus became too dangerous for them. Following Him would be too costly. I have my life, my interests, my desires, and what He is asking is too much. I cannot afford that.
For some people this process just takes one week. Sunday we go to church. We are challenged, we enjoy the music, the preaching, and the kids have a good time. During the week we try to make sense of that word and what we learned. We try to keep up with His teachings, but by Friday, we are ready to give up and go back to our old life, thinking that life is better without Him.
Do not be a Palm Sunday crowd. Jesus is the King, His Word is powerful, and Easter Sunday is coming.
Have a blessed week,