This is Holy Week, and around the world Christians are celebrating the momentous events that took place in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. Although there are many things that separate us, here is one thing about which all Christians agree. Holy Week stands at the center of the Christian faith. For eight days differences of language, culture and race are forgotten.

And what a week it is, eight days that begin with Palm Sunday and end with Easter Sunday. Two great events bracket Holy Week–the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday and the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. Without controversy, it is truly a Holy Week because it encompasses the most sacred events of the Christian faith. All the things that we hold most dear were proved to be true during this great week in Jerusalem.

Today we focus on Palm Sunday. I’m sure that most of us know the general outlines of the story. But I suspect that most of us have never considered the story in any detail. Why did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey? Why did the people wave palm branches? Why did they cry out “Hosanna!” as he passed by? What does it all mean? Of all the events of Holy Week, the Triumphal Entry is the most-overlooked and least-understood.

Consider these words by the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard:

The truth must essentially be regarded as in conflict with this world; the world has never been so good, and will never become so good that the majority will never desire the truth.

On Palm Sunday, the Truth rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s back. Although the crowds cheered the Truth, beneath the surface a conflict raged. The majority did not want the Truth that day, nor have they wanted the Truth on any day since that day.

Christ comes again and again to the human heart. Each time a verdict must be rendered. Look! He’s coming down Main Street. Your King has come. What will you do? Will you join with those who crucified him or will you join with those who cry out “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!"?

Our greatest need is for courage to make the right choices. When the time comes to take sides with Jesus, all you need is enough courage to do the right thing. The Palm Sunday invitation is not to believe but to be brave. The brave join the little children who praise him gladly while the timid are left to dream about what might have been.

Lord Jesus, I do believe but sometimes my courage fails me. Too often I follow the crowd instead of my own convictions. I pray for childlike faith, strong and simple, so that I might take my stand for you no matter what others may do. Amen. 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.