As Jesus enters Jerusalem he is honored by crowds of people who have heard or seen the great things he has done.
- “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Matthew)
- “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” (Mark)
- “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke)
- “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John)
Such appropriate honor and glory for Jesus’ triumphal entry! We grew up calling this Palm Sunday, the week before Easter. Waving branches and shouting “Hosanna!” in the typically peaceful church was great fun for the children and quite appropriate.
But there is a completely different perspective on this story as seen by the Pharisees, the chief priests and the teachers of the Law. This was not a great entry, this was an insurrection, a travesty of justice, something that could not be tolerated.
- “…they were indignant. Do you hear what these children are saying?” (Matthew)
- “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” (Luke)
- “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!” (John)
The hindsight of the Gospel record gives us an overview of the situation. It records the good and the bad with the advantage of time and knowledge of events that surround each step of the progression. In the moment, as life unfolds, it’s not so easy to see the distinction. We see the unspoken reaction, but ignore it until the thoughts of those offended come to the surface. The whispers in the crowd develops into a counter-strike movement that divides people.
Lord help us to keep your perspective on all matters, to remember you first as we navigate the complex sea of emotions we call humanness. Help us to keep our personal agendas aside. This Christmas, let us be known as a people that have the light of the world to shine in darkness, a gift freely given to all. I pray this light will pierce the darkest of places as well as those places who are confused, who have generated their own light with their own thoughts and hands.