• Rev. Joseph A. Bias

Lent – Day 40 — The Dichotomy Of Palm Sunday


“The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!” John 12:12-13

By all indications on the day Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem the people expected there would be a sudden and complete change in the political government and that their oppression at the hands of the Romans would be over and at last they would be free. This was no mere religious parade. It was expected to be the start of a coronation. But things did not work out as they expected.

However, Jesus knew what was ahead for Him. He understood the path He would have to walk and the price He would have to pay. Yes, He was the “He” of “Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord” and He was and would become the One Who would become the King of Israel. But that day was not the day that Roman oppression would end and the righteous reign of Christ would begin.

It was clear that the events of the day sent a message to the established Temple hierarchy also. They had tried time and again to catch Jesus in some transgression of the Law. They had tried to stir up the people against Him and even tried to kill him but He escaped their attempts and was not deterred by their threats. He did what His Father sent Him to do. He came as the Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world.

On that day when He came into Jerusalem those who had experienced His teachings, had seen His miracles and received healing at His hands came out to welcome Him. Jesus and His disciples knew that coming into Jerusalem so publicly was a dangerous move on His part, because the Sanhedrin was waiting to have Him arrested and thrown into prison on any charge they could find but they could not — not yet.

“… Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!” John 12:12-19

The mass demonstration by the people offended the Pharisees because it threatened their religious hold over the people. It threatened the Roman authority because it meant the people were acknowledging that they had a greater King than Caesar.

This was a day of great celebration and expectation for the people, but it was also a day of sober acknowledgment that Jesus came to die for our sins, that He came to suffer death on the cross and be buried to take away the sins of the world.

He did not come that day to walk into a king’s palace and take His seat on His throne as the people who greeted Him thought He would do. He came to acknowledge that He was indeed the Son of God and the Messiah whom they had long hoped for. He came to submit Himself to death so that all the people would be saved and the kingdom of God would come to rule and reign on the earth.

“But Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor. ‘Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save Me from this hour”? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.’ Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.’ This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” John 12:23-33

Yes, a day of victory is coming and a day when all people of the world will say “Blessed Is He Who comes in the name of the Lord.”

On Palm Sunday we look to that day and believe and know because our Savior has passed from death unto life that He is coming again soon and we will rejoice with Him and every believer when at last death is swallowed up in victory.

“For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:4

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?

O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. “ 1 Corinthians 15:51

“Hosanna in excelsis! Benedictus qui venit in nomine domini. Hosanna in excelsis!”

“Hosanna! In the Highest! Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna! In the Highest!”

#PalmSunday

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