The Road to the Cross begins on Palm Sunday
Easter week is obviously one of the most exciting times in the church year. Jesus’ final days leading up to the cross rivals only Christmas in terms of Christian fanfare. And much like Christmas, I appreciate the subversive nature of all of the events that led up to that fateful day. Jesus knew his death on the cross would be the final sacrifice of a perfect lamb which would be necessary for all eternity. Despite having spent 3 years proclaiming his death, even his disciples, his closest friends, and followers were caught off guard by the events that happened that Passover week.
Palm Sunday is exciting because people so deeply misunderstood Jesus’ plan and purpose. The road to the cross was paved with palm branches from people desperate for a savior here on earth. Unbeknownst to them, their Savior was on earth but he was interested in eternal salvation not the temporary overthrow of an earthly ruler.
While the people focused on what they could see, an oppressive Roman government, Jesus was looking at the only thing he could see, a world dark and in need of a final atonement for all the wrong of a million lifetimes.
As people lined the streets and laid down palm branches, Jesus paraded through on a lowly donkey. As He passed, people shouted “hosanna” which means “please save us”. They were begging for their warrior king, when instead they received the King of our hearts. He was born in a lowly manger, lived a perfect life, died a brutal death, and was raised by His own power 3 days later.
There’s a lot of things we can learn from the events of Easter week. From Palm Sunday specifically, I would encourage us to focus on the beautiful lesson of the cries of hosanna. How many times have we cried for God’s help in the struggle of our daily lives; and instead of being thankful for God's response, no matter what form it comes in, we filter it through our expectations.
I think a lot of people in Jesus’ day would have begged for a Savior; however, upon His arrival they would have rejected Him because He didn’t fit the mold of the “saving” they were looking for.
So let us not cry, “Hosanna, God save me!” and then be disappointed by the response of our Savior. But rather, let us rejoice in the final victory that Jesus claimed for us on the cross. Let us recognize regardless of what problems, struggles, and hardships lie before us that Jesus, through his death and resurrection, has already won the victory in eternity. He has freed us from the ultimate sting of death and has promised to walk beside us in the hard times as we head toward His eternal kingdom.