I wonder how wrong we get it sometimes?
What I mean is the gospel story is for the whosoever, but are there times when it think we know who that “whosoever” is? Didn’t Samuel think he knew who the next king would be that God was appointing? -He wasn’t even close. How close are we to fully understanding the grace and love of God? Do we quickly gloss over the “love your enemies” for a more palatable gospel sometimes?
They Didn’t Get It…
The crowds gathered to welcome a king on that day…
They closed in on that narrow street, waving their green tendrils of palm fronds and carefully placing their cloaks on the ground for Jesus to enter royally into Jerusalem. The trees leaned in as if to pay attention to the happenings on that day. Somewhere, further down, a dog barks feeling threatened by the surging crowds.
Jesus on a young colt passes by.
His expression isn’t regal and joyous, is it perplexed?
Songs and chants break out, as if to celebrate his arrival.
Do they know who He truly is…do we?
The Passover crowds repeat a mantra as Jesus passes,
“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!“
Is this final acceptance of Messiah?
No, not in the way that Jesus had come.
The people wanted a hero to save them.
They were looking for a warrior king to deliver them from Roman oppression.
Other “messiahs” had come. All of them with the sword in hand and a thirst for blood in their words. They all had met a gruesome end, perhaps this final outcome is the only similarities to Jesus. For while these messiahs had come to shed blood, it wasn’t their blood that they wished to spill. How different a Savior is Jesus though? For His entrance into Jerusalem is marked by rejoicing from the ones who would soon cry “Crucify Him!”
Jesus rides through the victory chants and “pats on the back“, and He knows that this road to salvation and deliverance will cost so much more than the crowds understand. This moment will burn into the memories of His disciples. When the scales fall off and true comprehension of it all finally sinks in.
Amongst the welcoming revelers, a few Pharisees had gathered. They were appalled at the celebration chants and singing. They piously run up to Jesus and tell him to quiet His disciples. They try to keep the peace, for they do not wish to tip the balance of power that is currently in their favor. Jesus looks at them and says “I tell you, if they remain silent the very stones will cry out!” He understands their longing. He comprehends the political tension in the air, conflict is pressing tightly in. There will be no stopping the momentum of rejoicing today. For although the people cry out for a king, Jesus had come to give them something so much more – the King of Kings, ever present with the whosoever.
They didn’t understand it.
The people wanted a rebellion.
They wanted war and a show of force against the mighty Roman empire.
They desired a war path that led to their deliverance.
Jesus wept over the city. He knew that to many, His message would fall on deaf ears, and it pained him to look out into the city. He mourned over their choice. He could see the day fast approaching that would lead to their demise – and He wept.
Do We Get It?
Do we comprehend what Jesus has done and is doing today in our world?
How much of what He wishes to accomplish with His people falls upon deaf ears?
Do we interpret His intentions incorrectly? Are we too bent on our own motivations and expectations to simply stop and listen to His holy presence as He attempts to whisper into our lives His will for us? God’s presence is still here with us. He is still moving and active among us, but do we get it? Are we listening? Or do we just do our own thing and attempt to string God along as we strive in our own strength?
Are we singing His praises for the right reasons as we wave our palm fronds and lay down our cloaks? Or do we get caught up in our own intentions and wishes? This faith journey isn’t an easy one. Does He sometimes weep over us when we miss the mark?
I don’t say this to make us feel guilty today, I just wonder if we truly “get it”?
He wants our hearts.
He wants our fellowship.
He was not a portion of our lives – but the whole of it!
Are we will to not just lay down our cloaks, but our lives for His use and service regardless of the outcome and the sacrifices that we will have to make? THIS is what taking up our crosses and following Him means! (Matthew 16:24-26)
May your Palm Sunday usher in His presence not just in your chapels and sanctuaries with joyous singing, but (more importantly) into your hearts and lives.
So be it.