Lenten Reflection for Palm Sunday

silhoette of a tree against the clouds

Scripture: Mark 11:1-11

Typical.  There is no other way to describe Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday other than, “typical.”

Like he came into the world, Jesus entered Jerusalem, where he would leave the world, in a lowly and humble way.  Jesus rode in, not on a mighty warhorse with great fanfare as kings of the day would, but on a colt (or donkey depending on which version of the Bible you read) with an impromptu celebration by commoners and peasants.  Jesus did not need to proclaim his glory, but left it to others to recognize in their own way.  Here it meant the waving of palm branches that were readily available and at no cost.  Perfect for those who could not afford anything more.

“Lowly and humble” does not, however, detract from the confidence, might and righteousness that Jesus exuded on that day.  To his disciples he again proved to be a prophet by correctly predicting that in the city, a colt would be available and that the owner would agree to have it taken by these strangers.  To those along the road, his mere presence was cause for celebration.  These people inherently knew this man was special and was there in the name of the Lord.  No advance propaganda was required.

The one troubling aspect of this Palm Sunday parade, however, is that Jesus knew his fate was sealed and he would, within days, be crucified.  He knew the hope generated by his coming would soon be dashed.  Yet he allowed the people to celebrate his coming.  Perhaps his resurrection on Easter Sunday was what Jesus had in mind; the ultimate display of God’s power, raising Jesus from the dead.

Nevertheless, for those who know the Easter story, the glory of Palm Sunday is tempered by what is to come.

By Balfour Der

Prayer

God of waving palm branches, as the shouts of “Hosanna” fill our ears and we are caught up in the exhilaration of the parade, remind us of the painful events that will soon unfold.  Help us to enter into the experience of Holy Week with Jesus and keep with him on his journey to the cross.   AMEN

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