Today was glorious. It was glorious. Everyone was worshipping. Everyone had joy. Everyone knew we had been given a gift. Not everyone was aware of it, but you’d be hard pressed to find a soul in our community who wasn’t exponentially more joyful. Today creation held church and worshipped and invited us to join in our backyards and on bike paths and at parks and in cars, with windows open and homes refreshed. Today was just a Saturday.
I can’t help but imagine that this is what the weather was like for the Triumphal Entry. I love that people were so eager to praise and bless and honor Jesus. They grabbed their coats, whatever they had and they covered the way for him. They waved palms, which was symbolic of victory over an enemy. People expected Jesus to overthrow a government, but he had so much more victory waiting for us.* This is what we think of when we think on Palm Sunday, yes? A picture of joy and worship and expectations that would be far exceeded. But Palm Sunday should also serve as a warning for us, a cautionary tale of sorts.
Those people who crowded the streets and yelled “Hosanna!” they were the same people who yelled “Crucify him!” only a short time later. Did you know that? That’s crazy right? It seems absolutely asinine that people could so passionately swing from one extreme to the other. But friends, it could have been us. It still can be us if we don’t guard ourselves. You know what the difference was between those who stuck with Jesus and those who wanted him dead? True honest-to-goodness belief. People who "worshipped" him on (what we call) Palm Sunday did so because of what they heard about him around town. They celebrated him because of what they thought he would do for them. They celebrated him because they thought he might be the next big thing. Their adoration was fueled by motives about two inches deep. And when it stopped looking good, when the glamour had faded, when Jesus didn’t meet their vain expectations…that adoration crumbled. If our worship of Jesus is something to make us look better, if we use him to fit in, if we base our belief on our own plans…our insincere adoration will crumble too. And what’s most sad is that sometimes we don’t stop long enough to see that what we are offering is artificial, sometimes we even have ourselves fooled.
I want to be the real thing, to know down deep in my gut that no matter what I LOVE him and I live to see him gain glory upon glory. I want to have a growing disdain for “what makes sense,” for what can be controlled by me, for what I have planned. I want to live in complete trust, trust that grows my love and surrender to whatever God has. Come what may, I won’t find myself standing shoulder to shoulder with the status quo.
*I used the ESV Study Bible for historical insight and highly recommend it!