Our pastor started a series last week called Jesus’ Last Days through Peter’s Eyes. It was excellent last week, giving us much to consider on our own responses, for instance, to fear and possible persecution. I’m looking forward to what he’s going to share with us today.
Palm Sunday is often a day of rejoicing as well as a day of dread. The triumphant entry of Jesus into His city was something to see. The people praised Him, worshiped Him, spread their cloaks on the ground for Him and waved palm branches before Him.
Palm was a symbol of triumph and victory, so why did they use palm branches? It was because they believed Jesus was the longed-for Messiah, coming to kick Rome out of Jerusalem and Israel and re-establish the sovereignty of the nation. After all, He had done so many miracles! Of course He could and would overthrow Rome!
They didn’t get it. Jesus had told them more than once that He had come to “seek and to save that which was lost,” and they interpreted it to mean victory over Rome.
When it became clear to the people that He was NOT going to save them from Rome, they turned on Him and demanded His crucifixion. The palm branches were left lying on the ground to be trampled by the traffic.
How short-sighted are we? Do we see Jesus as an emergency go-to when we’re in trouble? Do we ignore Him until we need Him? Do we become angry with Him when He doesn’t give us what we demand?
Who among us would be waving palm branches one day but scream for His death the next?