Sunday, March 28, 2010
Can you imagine what it was like that first Palm Sunday? The Jews had been anticipating the King's coming for hundreds of years. They had been taught from birth to watch for His coming, wishing for someone to rescue them from the Roman oppression. With palm branches waving and voices raised in praise, they must have been envisioning a spectacular extravaganza! (Mark told me that the palm branches were actually used as a covert sign of rebellion and disdain toward the Romans.) Surely this great King would come clothed in royal robes surrounded by an impressive escort, riding a noble steed! They watched with bated breath, tip-toeing to see him enter the city, perhaps pushing their way to the front of the crowd so that their children could see this great, new king. Yet, Jesus came gently, weeping, and riding on a donkey. If the people were shocked, or disappointed at His appearance, the Bible doesn't mention it, but certainly some were surprised. Jesus didn't give the people what they WANTED - a great earthly king to save them from tyranny. He gave them what they NEEDED - freedom from sin. He was bringing them a new life.
Matt. 21:8 tells us "A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road." I wonder, what is it that Jesus wants those of us today to lay down in front of Him to declare His Lordship? Bad attitudes, personal agendas and plans, desires, unworthy thoughts....?
Then Matthew 21:0 says "The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
"Hosanna to the Son of David!"
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!"
"Hosanna in the highest!"
I've always heard that some of the same people were the ones at the end of the week crying "Crucify Him!" I wonder, how many of them were just disillusioned because they didn't get what they wanted? Are we that fickle and ungrateful today? How often do we secretly wave palm branches of rebellion and disdain at things that have been ordained to enter our lives in order to make us grow- looking for the easy way out of a situation just as the Jews were? Do our voices lifted in praise, our coats laid down to carpet His way become fists raised in anger when we face pain and disappointment? Or, perhaps even worse, does our excitement and anticipation become apathy and lack of interest? Does God want to vomit our lukewarmness out of His mouth? We need to remain hot: trusting, faithful and see that God is giving us what we really, and truly need. He is NOT an over-indulgent Father who causes harm by giving in to our every whim.
Palm Sunday is still a day of expectations. Mark 13:35 - 37 tells us to be on the alert - "If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!" Everyday should be a day of looking ahead; anticipating His second coming, and on that day you can count on the fact that He won't be riding on a donkey!!
Lord, thank you for being my King! Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and what you desire for my life rather than on my selfish desires! Help me to see others as you see them, needing new life and forgiveness! Change me. Make my desires YOUR desires. Help me to lay my ALL down at Your feet, to honor and praise You in a way that pleases You, without concern for what others think! May my heart be forever grateful, not doubting even during pain and hardship. Draw me ever closer to You, help me to thirst after You and seek You with all my heart. Help me to remain "hot" in You! May my sacrifices be pleasing to You. Help me to stay awake, prepared, anticipating Your triumphant return. Lord, come quickly!