Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you; righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
But Palm Sunday tells us that it is the cross that is the true tree of life.
–Pope Benedict XVI
But everyone who lined the streets had a different reason for waving those palms. Some were political activists; they’d heard Jesus had supernatural power, and they wanted him to use it to free Israel from Roman rule. Others had loved ones who were sick or dying. They waved branches, hoping for physical healing. Some were onlookers merely looking for something to do, while others were genuine followers who wished Jesus would establish himself as an earthly king. Jesus was the only one in the parade who knew why he was going to Jerusalem – to die. He had a mission, while everyone else had an agenda.
No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
“Ride on, ride on in majesty
In lowly pomp ride on to die;
O Christ, thy triumphs now begin
O’er captive death and conquered sin”
–Henry Hart Milman
Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
As far as I know, there is only one good reason for believing that he was who he said he was. One of the crooks he was strung up with put it this way: ‘If you are the Christ, save yourself and us’ (Luke 23:39). Save us from whatever we need most to be saved from. Save us from each other. Save us from ourselves. Save us from death both beyond the grave and before. If he is, he can. If he isn’t, he can’t. It may be that the only way in the world to find out is to give him the chance, whatever that involves. It may be just as simple and just as complicated as that.”
When Christ entered into Jerusalem the people spread garments in the way: when He enters into our hearts, we pull off our own righteousness, and not only lay it under Christ’s feet but even trample upon it ourselves.
Want to read more about Palm Sunday?
Read “Palm Sunday: A Collect Reflection,” a reflection on the Collect for Palm Sunday, written by Joshua Steele.
Canon David has over 35 years of local congregational ministry, diocesan and national involvement, leadership, and ministry experience and is the founder of Leaderworks. He was the founding Rector/Pastor, Christ Church, Plano and currently serves as the Strategic Leader and Dean, Diocese of C4SO.