Yesterday, the church commemorated one of the oddest, most ironic moments in history.
Around 2,000 years ago, Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem during one of the major Jewish festivals. He’d been teaching for three years, gathering followers and gaining momentum. Some thought He was the Messiah, the conqueror God promised them in ages past.
As He entered the city, the crowds flipped out. They grabbed palm branches and their own cloaks and threw then on the road out of respect. They chanted, “save us!” They hailed Him as their savior.
He accepted their praise, knowing they would soon turn on Him. Through tears, He said, “If only you knew what would bring you peace.”
Somewhere in the following five days, public opinion shifted. The man whom they thought would wage war against their oppressors instead challenged their views. He defied expectation by portraying Himself not as a political authority, but a spiritual one above all others. He called them out for their sins and thereby offended a lot of people.
By Friday, the crowd was chanting for His blood.
Sadly, they had it right the first time. Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah they were waiting for. And though He would prove it, they would kill Him first.
Whenever I look at the story of Palm Sunday, I’m relieved I was born into such an enlightened time. I mean, people today aren’t fickle like that. We don’t just turn on people when they say something we don’t like. No, we weigh the evidence and make sober, reasonable decisions, untainted by emotion.
Especially on the Internet.
Yeah, I think the main difference between us and the crowd back then is that we don’t actually kill people as often.
The contrast between Palm Sunday and Good Friday reminds me to slow down and choose my words carefully. It reminds me to examine what I really believe. It reminds me to breathe deep in moments of intense emotion, before I say or do something dumb.
And it reminds me that even though people make really bad mistakes, God forgives us.