The Cheering Stopped!
As Palm Sunday approaches, I am sitting here reflecting on what it was like for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem with the crowds waving their palm branches as a long-standing symbol of Jewish nationalism. They shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord.” Cheering, exalting, praising …but something happened. The cheering soon stopped.
Jesus did not gather any troops to overcome Rome even though the Jews found themselves under heavy Roman oppression. There were heavy taxes, restrictions, and numerous executions by means of crucifixion. Yet Jesus did not lead a revolt. He did not do what they expected. Instead, he drove the moneychangers out of the temple, he paid tribute to Caesar and he taught that in order to be great, you must be a servant.
Isn’t a king supposed to save his people from oppression? Wasn’t he supposed to change their circumstances? I find myself still thinking of Jesus in that way, we expect Jesus to come save us from our circumstances and difficulties. We want him to rescue us from any oppression and hardships. But in the story of Easter, we see that Jesus came to change the person and not necessarily the circumstance. It’s about Jesus making something beautiful out of something ugly and dark. He doesn’t come into our lives to fix everything, but helps us grow and overcome those difficulties and to be transformed in the process.
So I want to remember this Palm Sunday…“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord,” as a king who changes and saves us in the midst of whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.