Hosanna! Or Kill Him! Whichever...

For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Today is Palm Sunday. Okay. Great. And that means what? One week til the egg hunt? Time to rush to put the finishing touches on the Easter outfits and frantically fill the baskets? Well, that makes me sound shallow. I do know that Easter really isn't all about eggs and bunnies, but Palm Sunday has always lacked meaning for me.

I mean, I know the story. Donkey, palm branches, "hosanna" and all that. But can someone please help me here? What's the real point?

Today, as we sang in church, one little phrase hit me afresh. "Love so amazing, so divine."

Divine. Of God. From a higher source than man.

Divine love. A love that's source is from something greater than a mere mortal. A love that man cannot muster, no matter how hard he tries. A love that, in some ways, is beyond our comprehension.

When I think of the people along that road on Palm Sunday who grabbed their palm fronds, threw their coats in the dirt along the path, and shouted praise to Jesus as he rode on that donkey, it's easy for me to condemn them. I mean, what a fickle bunch. A few days later, I would think it very possible that many of those same people would be shouting "Crucify him!" just a few blocks away, their shouts directed to the very same man.

It's baffling. Or is it? Aren't we all like that? Haven't we all fallen into the category of "fair weather fan" at one time or another? And so the story of the petty palm wavers can lead us all to ask ourselves the tough questions and do a little self-exam on our hearts. Is my relationship with Christ based on a self-serving attitude and blown back and forth according to the crowd I find myself in?

Still, that's a rather self-focused way to look at this event in the life of Jesus. Boy am I good at making everything about me. What kind of Christian am I? Do I love Jesus? Am I just a fan or a true follower? Would my faith stand up to a hostile crowd and the disapproval and persecution?

If we stop there, I think we've missed the point. This story is not about me, though we can all find ourselves in it. But look beyond the screaming, waving crowd. Look beyond the disapproving Pharisees and the bewildered disciples. Who do you see?

Jesus. A King. On a donkey. Headed to his death. Surrounded by shouts of praise and adoration that mask hard, selfish hearts.

The picture of divine love.

For the people who shouted praises one day and curses the next were the very people he was going to die for.

He wasn't fooled by the parade. He knew what was coming and what these people would do. He knew the agony and he knew their blindness. He knew that desertion and abject loneliness would soon come to him, though only a few days before he'd been surrounded by an adoring crowd and devoted disciples. 

He knew. And that's what makes him so amazing and divine. That's what makes his love a love we cannot muster or fathom. 

Because, if he grants me more days on this earth beyond this one, I'm sure to fail him again. I'm sure to be the fickle one whose devotion wavers depending on mood and circumstance. 

But his love will not waver or change. His love is steadfast and sure, totally independent of my actions or attitude. Whether my cry is "Hosanna!" or "Crucify!", his cry will be "Love!" 

Divine love is a love that looks into the eye of the one who curses it and dose not waver in its intensity. Jesus knew what he was doing on that donkey. He was headed through a crowd who couldn't understand love to do the one thing that would demonstrate love.  

So, Palm Sunday. A day when our sinfulness ran smack dab into Jesus' selflessness and the picture of true love came to life. I'd say that's a pretty good precursor to the Resurrection. Wouldn't you?

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this Truth on this Palm Sunday!

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