Palm Sunday Reflections
Focus Scripture ~~Into Jerusalem~~
Luke 19:28-40 (AMP) Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
28 And after saying these things, Jesus went on ahead of them, going up to Jerusalem.
29 When He came near Bethphage and Bethany at the mount called [the Mount of] Olives, He sent two of His disciples,
30 Telling [them], Go into the village yonder; there, as you go in, you will find a donkey’s colt tied, on which no man has ever yet sat. Loose it and bring [it here].
31 If anybody asks you, Why are you untying [it]? you shall say this: Because the Lord has need of it.
32 So those who were sent went away and found it [just] as He had told them.
33 And as they were loosening the colt, its owners said to them, Why are you untying the colt?
34 And they said, The Lord has need of it. 35 And they brought it to Jesus; then they threw their garments over the colt and set Jesus upon it.
36 And as He rode along, the people kept spreading their garments on the road.
37 As He was approaching [the city], at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began to rejoice and to praise God [extolling Him exultantly and] loudly for all the mighty miracles and works of power that they had witnessed,
38 Crying, Blessed (celebrated with praises) is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven [freedom there from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin] and glory (majesty and splendor) in the highest [heaven]!
39And some of the Pharisees from the throng said to Jesus, Teacher, reprove Your disciples! 40 He replied, I tell you that if these keep silent, the very stones will cry out.
Reflection by Kate Huey
It may be “Palm” Sunday, but the Gospel of Luke’s account of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem has no palms, and no hosannas either, two of the most familiar details of this story in the other three Gospels. Yes, there are the cloaks laid out to make his ride easier, as in the other accounts, but no mention of palms and no hosannas, and the praises are not sung by a fickle crowd that will change its mind in a few days and call for Jesus’ death.
No, these praises burst forth from a multitude of Jesus’ own disciples, who have followed him throughout his ministry. They may run when things get rough in a few days, but they call for Jesus’ crucifixion. These are, after all, people who have been so profoundly moved by Jesus’ words and his deeds of power that they can’t help but sing out today, as Jesus enters triumphantly into their holy city, Jerusalem. Jesus, the hope of a people who long for deliverance from the powers that be that crush them. Luke says they echo the words of the prophet Zechariah long ago as they proclaim Jesus the king who comes in the name of the Lord: these are very ancient hopes indeed.
This Sunday begins the holiest of weeks for Christians. However, there is no “off-season” for being a Christian: not just Sunday, not just holy days and not just when we’re in church or when we’re praying. Being a Christian is an every-day, every moment, all-of-our-lives journey.
But this Holy Week comes at the end of Lent, a season of conversion, of turning our lives toward God if we’ve slipped off course. It’s been a time for us to study and pray, and to ask ourselves the difficult question of whether we’re ready and willing to follow Jesus not just today, in this glad procession, but all the way to the cross.
This week, as we stumble toward Jerusalem, we can rely on God’s grace to carry us every step of the way. On this Palm Sunday, though (with or without palms), in this one moment, we can make a way for Jesus, we can throw our cloaks on the ground and sing our songs of praise, and trust the unknown future to the God who works good in every circumstance and in every, holy week of our lives.
For Further Reflection
Samuel Smiles, 19th century
“An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.”
Samuel Johnson, 18th century
“Such is the state of life, that none are happy but by the anticipation of change: the change itself is nothing; when we have made it, the next wish is to change again. The world is not yet exhausted; let me see something tomorrow which I never saw be.” “Where there is no difficulty there is no praise.”
Wilma Rudolph, 20th century
“I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up, no matter what else happened.”
Thomas a Kempis, 15th century
“Great tranquility of heart is his who cares for neither praise nor blame.”
Norman Cousins, 20th century
“Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching.