With Palm Sunday coming up soon, here’s a song to be singing…
All glory, laud and honor
To Thee, Redeemer, King
To Whom the lips of children
Make sweet hosanna’s ring
Thou art the King of Israel,
Thou David’s royal Son
Who in the Lord’s name comest
The King and blessed one.
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and the hymn I just sang was expressly written for Palm Sunday. And as you know, this Sunday commemorates Jesus’ public entry into Jerusalem and what an entry it was. My husband, Ken, and I have been to Jerusalem and we’ve stood on that road that winds along the side of the Mount of Olives overlooking the city. And as we rested there for a long moment, I took in the scene before me, Jerusalem below us, the little road ahead of us winding down the side of the mountain. I was, in fact, seeing the same thing Jesus saw when he paused above that city, except for all the many people that day, people at the base of the hill, waiting for him. In fact, half way down the road there’s a little chapel – they call it the chapel of tears. And it’s just half way down, it marks the most probable place where Jesus looked at Jerusalem below him and cried for all the many times the people of that city had rejected God's prophets before him.
After that pause, Jesus pressed on down the hill and entered the crowd lining both sides of the road -- Men and women spread their coats and garments, children waved palm branches, everybody was singing and shouting, “Blessed is the coming King!” All glory, laud and honor to thee Redeemer King, who from the lips of children, the sweet hosanna’s ring. No wonder they were all so excited. Those people thought for certain that surely Jesus would throw the Romans out of the city. He’d release them from the burden of taxes, he’d feed them, provide for them, protect them -- he would do all these things, they were convinced, and more as their new King.
But as the week wore on, the mood of the crowd changed; why isn’t Jesus making His move? Sure, He is teaching in the temple, but why is He remaining so strangely aloof, why is He being a recluse, retreating from the city to go to Bethany each night? When was He going to do something? When was He going to take control? Make His move? And why isn’t He spending time with the “right” people? You know, the movers and shakers, the guys in politics, the people who could get things done?
Little wonder that the mood of the people began to shift by the end of the following week. They probably thought: You know maybe this man’s not all that He’s cracked up to be...maybe He has been pulling the wool over our eyes. And we know that the rest is history. Not but a few days after Palm Sunday, the crowd turned on Jesus, screaming for His crucifixion. But I wonder...are we all that different from those people? When we think God is really neat for doing things the way we like, when we think we’ve got His plan neatly figured out and then...and then everything goes off in some weird direction...do we become secretly resentful against him, spiritually indifferent? Hey, friend, this Palm Sunday let’s be sure we give Jesus praise for who He is, not what we think He ought to be.
© Joni and Friends
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