“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the cold and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
Palm Sunday, the day we celebrate the entrance of the King of Kings into the city of Jerusalem. It is the final Sunday prior to his crucifixion, and a week before his resurrection. The crowds were adoring this Jesus, the one who entered the city triumphantly. He came, in their eyes, as the King who would establish the Kingdom of Israel once again. He was worthy to be worshipped because they believed that he would begin the revolution that was going to set them free! He was their king.
What a difference a few days can make!
As the week went on it became clear that Jesus wasn’t there to overthrow a government, he wasn’t there to start the revolution they were looking for, and he wasn’t there to reestablish a previous kingdom (yet). But he was there to set them free. What I find most interesting about this week is that the crowds so quickly turned from, “Hosanna in the Highest”, to “Crucify him!”.
It’s very easy for me to look at this story and wonder how they could have done that to Jesus. How could go from worship of the King to calling for his death in a matter of days? But the more I think about the more I realize that I am no different.
In my life, I can show up in church on Sunday morning and worship him calling him King of my heart. Then just a few hours later I am back to making the choice to live in the sin that has set me free from. There are times in my life that I am the worshipping crowd laying down my all for the King as he enters. And then there are times that I turn my back on him only days later to have him crucified all over again.
We really are not that different than the crowds of the New Testament, yet Jesus enters regardless, knowing where the path is leading and give Himself up for us. He allows us to worship him, and when we fail to do so, he stands willingly in our place as we cry for “Barabbas” to be set free.
This Palm Sunday I realize that I am no longer just a worshipper in word or deed, but because of the work of Jesus done so many years ago this week, I have now been given the opportunity to be a worshipper in spirit and in truth. This Palm Sunday what will you choose?