Palm Sunday: Coming Face-to-Face With A Fallen World
- Friday, April 02, 2004
After throwing their robes on the donkey, they helped Jesus get on it. As He was going along, they were spreading their robes on the road. Now He came near the path down the Mount of Olives, and the whole crowd of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen. ~~ Luke 19:35-37
Palm Sunday has lessons to teach. The mind's eye is a way for us to prepare, to feel every heartbeat of Christ as he approaches his cross.
The Palm Sunday event is unquestionably the last hurrah of the earthly Christ.
Four days beyond the main pageantry, Jesus was in Gethsemane, and five days later he was on the cross. So we come face-to-face with the fickle human spirit as we ask, "How could Jesus be both celebrated and condemned within a five-day period?"
His mass acceptance and denial were challengingly close together.
We must not assume that Jesus was so deluded by his Palm Sunday acclaim that the condemnation of Good Friday surprised him. Never did Jesus look around, stunned, as if to say "Father, I'm sure surprised at how fast my celebration turned into crucifixion." Jesus knew the treacherous nature of humankind. In our fallen world, it is possible to be a hero on Sunday and crucified the following Friday.
Christ managed to achieve something we find so difficult to master in our own lives -- trusting others enough to freely serve them, yet not committing ourselves to their unstable sense of allegiance. For example, Jesus loved Judas as much as he loved the other disciples, but he was not shattered when Judas betrayed him. Because he understood the treachery of human nature, he loved Judas anyway.
He does the same with us. How often we have disappointed Christ, yet he is never destroyed by our momentary betrayals. Betrayal is human, but then humanity was his business.
Palm Sunday is evidence that we are to serve our friends and even to receive their accolades. We must always remember, however, that only God is perfect. Friends can disappoint us. But if we love like Christ, we must keep on loving them even as they disappoint us.
Prayer: Lord, knowing how fickle I am in loving you, help me not to be debilitated when my own friends begin to betray me. Loving the unlovely has always been your kind of love. Help me to remember that such love is really grace simply wearing an earthier garment.
For additional Bible reading: John 2:23-25
*Originally posted April 2, 2004
Adapted from "The Christ of Easter: Readings for the Season of Resurrection" by Calvin Miller © 2004 by Broadman & Holman Publishers. Used by special permission of Broadman & Holman Publishers. For any other use, please contact Broadman & Holman Publishers for permission. All rights reserved.
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