When you think of Palm Sunday, what is the first memory that comes to your mind? Please share in the comments. I’m expecting that waving palm fronds and processionals in church come to mind. These are precious memories that help us remember a special day!
I had the honor and privilege to teach Mexican children about Palm Sunday this year. While we have plenty of palm trees in our neighborhood, I wasn’t keen on climbing them to pull down some palm leaves, so we used balloons for our praise and adoration time. To see the delight on the children’s faces and imagine that it was seeing Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem with that much joy was very moving.
Read the passage again with fresh eyes. You may have heard the story over and over again. Reflect on the beautiful display of prophecy fulfilled. Matthew’s entire gospel is rich with examples of prophecies that have been completed.
Jesus was their king. He is our king. He is the supreme ruler. Yet he humbled himself. Did he arrive in Jerusalem with lots of pomp and circumstance? Did a large brass band announce his arrival? No. Jesus did not rule over us with majesty of earthly measure. His reign is eternal. His power is without limit. Jesus showed us how to love and serve.
This triumphant celebration as Jesus enters Jerusalem must have been quite a spectacular event. The whole city was talking. Who was this man? Certainly, he was popular. The procession was fit for a king, all but the donkey part. Even the little children today thought that was a bit funny.
Do you ever wonder what Jesus was feeling? Our home church has been walking through the book of John, and we have been really trying to focus on the fact that the disciples, and Jesus, were men with feelings, emotions, fears, joys, etc. It’s powerful to think about how Jesus knew what was coming. His sense of dread must have been mingled with happiness or even surprise. He knew the prophecy, but to feel the love and see how it played out must have been a bit overwhelming. I hope he felt the love.
How about the disciples? They were probably even more convinced now that Jesus was wrong about his fate in Jerusalem. Look at the crowds. They were displaying such reverence to their king. How in the world could things ever change such that Jesus would be killed? It had to seem incredible, just like it does to us still today.
As we are preparing ourselves to walk through Holy Week together, don’t just read the words on the page. Let yourselves be transported back as if you were a fly on the wall. Better yet, maybe you were an onlooker in the crowd of followers close to Jesus. Read the Holy Week readings with that lens on.
Did anything particular stand out to you in this reading?
What should our take away be today?
Jesus is king – today, tomorrow, forever.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for sending Jesus. Jesus’ life on earth fulfills prophecy, and he models for us humility and servanthood that we can seek to follow. Lord, help me be a better leader to bring your truth alive for others. Use this time during Holy Week to speak to my heart. Help me close out the noise of the world so I can hear your message. In Jesus’ name. Amen.