Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
One of the things that amazes me is how he heads right into the belly of the beast. But, his face is set like flint towards Jerusalem.
There is no waver, there is no detour. I suppose one could easily imagine him valiantly and bravely staring down the forces of darkness. Jesus is also going to Jerusalem to disappoint his followers.
Jerusalem is an occupied city, bent over backwards by the Romans. They ached for it. And, when the Messiah walked into Jerusalem that day riding on a donkey they knew this was big.
They were reminders that God could do miraculous and amazing things, and could conjure a victory from the deep recesses of oppression. For them, the Messiah was coming to raise up an army, and with the help of God, Rome would be sent running with their pagan tales between their legs.
He was also coming to Jerusalem to disappoint his devotees in colossal fashion. Jesus, on the other hand, was ready to take up his cross.
And into Jerusalem, and to the cross he went. Things of great theological, soteriological, and christological significance. But, what we also have is an icon of Christ moving towards conflict, pain, and the reality that he would end up being a great disappointment to others who had laid so many expectations upon him.
This demands us to bear risk: Jesus is the icon of many great things, but he is the perfect image of a life lived without shame. Jesus does not begin with the sick assumption that he is not enough.
But, not long after that people begin to walk away from him, until the circle around Jesus is pretty small. In this sense, Palm Sunday is just a microcosm of his ministry: To brave that takes a huge heart.
To brave that and still be in love with those who reject him—and be willing to die for them?In the Sixth Sunday of Easter falls on Mother’s Day. Preachers must be aware of this reality, even if they do not choose to make much of it in their sermons and worship planning.
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