Palm Sunday is an interesting day.
It has been said that we Christians are Easter people, because we are people of the Resurrection. Our hope is based on Christ’s saving death upon the cross and his glorious rising three days later: forgiveness and eternal life. That is our hope. Sin and death do not have the last word, for those who believe, for those who have faith in Christ. Our faith is counted as righteousness and it is faith that saves, as Saint Paul tells us in Romans 17:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.
As much as we are Easter people, we are Palm Sunday people as well. We often flip-flop between the two.
We are fickle. We love one thing and then we don’t. Something is wonderful and then, by a slight change of mind or by no thought at all, we are done with it. We can be very capricious.
We can be very contrary and have two differing positions on something:
The day Jesus entered Jerusalem the sounds of “Hosanna” were in the air. Crowds cheered. Palms were waved. Cloaks were strewn before him. The people cried out for their king, “who comes in the name of the Lord.” They put their faith in him – albeit for the wrong reasons.
Five days later the sounds of Hosanna would be replaced with cries of “Crucify Him.” The cheers were replaced with the sounds of hammering and waling – and then silence.
How contrary where the people: one day they were crying “Hosanna” and the next, “crucify him” – the expressions of two very different positions regarding Jesus.
One of the most often asked questions I received when people ask about Jesus is where did all the people calling for His death come from and where did His supporters go?
Of course we know…they were the very same.
As soon as they did not get what they expected – what the falsely concocted in their own heads – the turned on Jesus. They did not understand Him and they did not have faith in Him – they did not keep faith with Him. They were fickle and were blown around like a leaf in the wind.
How different are we than they? Not very actually.We are not always Easter people.
- Forgiveness – both giving it and receiving it – is not always our focus.
- Eternal life is not always our focus – we live for the now so very often.
- Following the commands of Christ is not always our focus. We can be on fire for Jesus one moment and then something else becomes more important the next.
- Jesus told us not to worry, but we worry often.
- Jesus told us to love as he loved us, but we focus on loving ourselves more.
But the beautiful thing is this: for all our contrary nature, for all our fickleness, for all the times we lose faith in Him, He never abandons us – not in life or in death. Neither on the cross, nor the tomb nor the Resurrection and not even after returning to Heaving to sit at the right hand of the Father.
So why do we ever live our lives as Palm Sunday people when we should live our lives as Resurrection people?
The answer is fear – which is rooted in a lack of faith.
- We fear we will not have enough.
- We fear we will miss out on something if we follow the commands of Jesus.
- We fear we will be hurt, or taken advantage of, or a plethora of other things.
- Some even fear that following Jesus would be a betrayal of one’s intelligence or a giving up of one’s autonomy.
Pray to the Lord for faith and He will, by the power of the Holy Spirit give it. And remember this and draw comfort from it: while we are often unfaithful, while we often falter, while we are one moment hot and then cold, while we shout “Hosanna” and then “Crucify Him,” Jesus never loses faith in those who believe in Him.
Christ Jesus is loyal and faithful to His sheep, so much so that even when we go astray He does not abandon us but rather sends His spirit to find his faithful and bring them home.
No matter what life throws at you, no matter how hard the circumstances, EVEN in those last days of your earthly existence and at your death, you have a King and a companion, who is not fickle, not contrary and not capricious. He is as he always was: in the beginning, now and forever, worlds without end.” Jesus Christ is the one constant – even more constant than the speed of light. His love is the great constant. His gift of forgiveness and eternal life are constant and His priesthood on your behalf is constant.
He will never fail you or leave you. He will not be hot one day and cold the next. His love is immeasurable because it is the love of God. He will not cry for joy one day and then abandon you on the next.
Blessed IS the King who comes in the name of the Lord.