March 25, 2010

From Cheers to Jeers

We've had a few laughs over the last few posts, but we're nearing the start of Holy Week, and it doesn't bring a lot of laughs.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week, when we remember Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Huge crowds gathered to welcome Christ as He entered the city on a donkey, laying their cloaks and small branches in front of Him and singing from Psalm 118, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." It was an entry so spectacular, we call it the Triumphal Entry.  

Triumphal...what a word! It's as though you can hear the shouts of "Hosanna" and see the crowds waving and filled with excitement. But Christ knew by then that the warm feelings of the crowd towards Him would not survive the week.

What was it like to know that those cheers would turn to jeers in a matter of days?

I will forever be indebted to Ken Warren, a former staff member at my church, who once preached a Palm Sunday message about what it was like to be Christ, knowing how the week would end. It changed my view of Palm Sunday forever. I no longer think of it as a high point for Jesus. Now I wonder if there was a sick feeling in the pit of His stomach as He watched the crowd from that donkey.

Ken talked about the way that we tend to dismiss Palm Sunday as a parade, a time of jubilation, separating it from the rest of the story...the part where Jesus sacrificed His own life so that we could have eternal life.

He ended his message by showing us a brief video clip of another parade that ended badly. A time when a leader entered a city, greeted by cheering crowds, only to die in that city a short time later.

If President Kennedy had known how the trip to Texas would end, would he have gone anyway? Surely not.

But that's exactly what Jesus did.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! ~ Philippians 2:5-9


  1. Thanks Margaret for "setting our minds" on Christ as we enter into Easter week. The verses in Philippians are so meaningful. I appreciate you reminding me of them.
    Virginia H.

  2. Thanks, Margaret. I love your attitude and insight. I appreciate you taking the time to open your heart and share both openly and honestly. I too wonder if Jesus had a pit in his stomach. People can be so fickle. Yet, he is so faithful.

  3. Thanks for the analogy. Certainly puts it in a different perspective.

  4. what a reflective thought to take with us
    throughout the end of this week into next

    but, can i still say, "hosannah?"

  5. It does put a different slant on it, but sure, "hosannahs" are still appropriate. So go ahead, and shout "hosannah" louder than any ol' rock!

    Sunday's coming! =)

  6. Thanks Margret. I've never thought of Palm Sunday in that way before. Wow. Just another glimpse of His love for us. Thanks for sharing. Hosannah!

  7. What a great post. It's always good to be reminded, not only of Christ's sacrifice, but with the willing heart and mind with which he did it.

  8. Thanks to all of you for your comments. Palm Sunday has never been the same since I heard that sermon. I always knew in my head that Jesus willingly went to the cross, but I always put that in relation to Him as the Son of God. But He was also the Son of Man, and this illustration led me to realize how hard it must have been for the human side of Him, and it made me that much more appreciative of the sacrifice He made.

  9. Great insight into the depths of Jesus' sacrifice.

    ps-- Check out your blog award in my post for today!