LUKE 19: 28-40
Palm Sunday had a different feel this year didn’t it? Home is not where we expected to be. Jesus’ GRAND entrance into Jerusalem is not what we expect either. You would think that Jesus would ride a large, majestic horse with stunning flowing mane, perfectly groomed and looking beautiful. Something that we imagine a kingly person would ride. A horse that had been trained, and ridden many times, a horse you could depend on. We expect to see a whole entourage of people in fancy costumes on fancy horses leading up to Jesus, on the most majestic horse of all. You can imagine trumpeters playing a royal fanfare as he enters.
That would be how a king would enter, isn’t it? Not this king.
Why does Jesus choose to ride a colt? First, there was a prophecy about Jesus coming into Jerusalem that way. The other is, he rides a donkey because it was thought that a king that was coming, looking for war, and power would ride a war horse. A king coming looking for peace like Jesus would ride a donkey.
Why 0an unridden colt? Kings would pass down their horse from king to king. Entering on an unridden colt, symbolizes that Jesus is a brand-new king, a new kind of king. He was not coming for power or control or war, but in the name of peace and love. That colt was reserved for him. The owners freely give it up, once they know its for Jesus.
As I read this story from Luke this year, preparing for the Palm Sunday service, I saw the story in a new way. Although we hear it every year, this year I saw it with different eyes. I saw it through the eyes of the Pharisees. I feel like after the past few weeks, I can kind of relate to them.
As the excitement grew from Jesus’ arrival, things got more chaotic, and the Pharisees got more and more annoyed. This new kind of king, coming in peace was not what the Pharisees were waiting for. They wanted someone who would come and fight for them, destroying their enemies, someone with power. They were getting worried about the crowds getting out of control. They worry about the news of Jesus continuing to spread. They got worried that the Romans would come and arrest everyone. They were not expecting a king like Jesus. So, they start grumbling, complaining, and probably spreading some mean gossip in the background. We can see them back there, arms crossed, sneering, grumbling away how it isn’t fair.
It may be a bit easier for all of us to sort of feel like the grumbling Pharisees in today’s passage after the last few weeks. We’ve all lost things these past few weeks. These things are different for all of us, so I don’t need to remind you. A time of grieving for those things is a totally normal thing. Moments with feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, grief, and whatever else you are feeling are totally okay, and even good for us. The danger comes when we let these feelings shape who we are. Don’t let this time change you into a grumbling Pharisee who is stuck in their ways like in today’s passage.
I believe that on Palm Sunday, Jesus knew everything he’d be going through in Holy Week. That the Passover meal Thursday, would be the last meal with his disciples. That the garden where he went to pray would also be where he got betrayed by one of his own and arrested. That the crowds that were yelling “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday would be yelling “Crucify him” just a few days later. That he would be wounded, abused, beaten, humiliated, and nailed to the cross. Was he scared? I am pretty sure he was. Jesus was about to go through the absolute worst pain in his life. It is a pain that we cannot imagine. On Palm Sunday though, He chose to celebrate.
This is most interesting part of today’s passage, Jesus’ attitude on Palm Sunday. It is the opposite of the Pharisees. Instead of groaning and complaining, which we sort of expect, knowing what’s coming, Jesus chooses to celebrate. Instead of living in fear, Jesus chooses to live in Joy. Why? Because even though he knows the next week will bring unimaginable pain, Jesus also knows the story does not end with death. Jesus chooses to live in Hope for what is to come, Easter Sunday. We too can live in hope.
How do we keep ourselves from becoming a grumbling Pharisee?
Find moments of joy in your day.
Reach out to family and friends away from you.
Find moments to laugh.
Find moments to celebrate.
Find new ways to celebrate at home.
Dance, sing, play, have fun, make memories, find JOY.
Most of all, don’t forget all that you have to be thankful for.
We can also choose to believe in hope, like Jesus did.
Just like death was not the final word, this virus is not either.
This will someday pass over us,
and life will get back to something that we can call normal.
Life may not be exactly what it was, but it could be even better.
Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter
Bdecan Presbyterian Church
My name is Joe Obermeyer. I was the Youth and Outreach Coordinator at Bdecan Presbyterian Church from 2013 to 20202.