The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down to the road to meet him. They shouted, “praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the LORD! Hail to the King of Israel!” – John 12:12,13
The Palm Sunday Jesus is simply the Jesus that is difficult to follow.
Think about it. The Palm Sunday Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, washed the feet of the disciples who followed him, and ended up crucified on a cross. That was a complete disappointment to those who wanted a militaristic king to liberate them from the Roman occupation.
Does anybody want to follow that Jesus?
Take the ‘deep to the core’ humility, servanthood and sacrifice of Jesus and place them into our current context and you get a whole lot of uncomfortable’ness’. It simply doesn’t jive with the values of the world around us.
Sometimes I wonder if we gloss over the humility, servanthood, and sacrifice of Jesus and mold him into the shape that is well suited for our individualistic, self-fulling society so that Jesus becomes more comfortable to follow.
The Palm Sunday Jesus is full of risk.
The Palm Sunday Jesus reminds us that the collision between heaven and earth is messy. Those who participate with Jesus will get their hands dirty; loving the un-lovable, feeding the hungry, pursuing justice, living in community, and the many other such kingdom building activities grounded in a divine humility.
As a congregant said to me after I preached this message on Sunday; we need to be ‘fools for Jesus’ to follow him to the deep places and spaces in which he leads us.
Journey well this Easter week and be reminded that amidst the messy collision between heaven and earth that resurrection and newness is just around the corner.
Thanks be to God.