The shocking irony of Palm Sunday/Passion week
Every fiction author tries to write compelling, dramatic, passionate and inspirational stories that move their readers. As we enter into Passion Week, the non-fiction, very true story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem is about as dramatic and theologically significant as you can get. These holy days feature tons of drama beginning with an event we call the “triumphal entry.” From there, we move on to a farce of a trial, a “last supper” packed with theological meaning, and a shocking crucifixion of the story’s main character. In this final week of Jesus’ life we also have an upper room discourse filled with poignant prayers and the prophetic teachings of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. We know that in John’s gospel, eight of its twenty-one chapters focus on this passion week alone! Whoa!
As Christians celebrate Palm Sunday tomorrow, it’s important for us to capture the irony of the day. It’s a day where Jesus enters into the city to the triumphant cheers of the people:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosannad in the highest!”
NIV, Matthew 21:9
Now, these praises are all very fitting and appropriate for Messiah, King JESUS. But for those who know the rest of the story, these cheers of Hosanna will quickly turn to cries of “Crucify Him!” [These fickle mobs of yesterday, remind us of our mob mentality today]. It was a plot twist no one saw coming, except for Jesus.
As we enter into this Passion week drama once again, let’s see ourselves in both mobs, those crying out Hosanna as well as those crying out Crucify Him. Then in a few days, we will gratefully hear the words of our Savior from the cross:
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
NIV, Luke 23:34.